So you often hear New Years resolutions and people coming into the gym with a goal of losing weight, getting healthier, being more toned, feeling better.
But what is their REAL reason WHY?
Honestly, it really isn’t to look better. Or even to get healthier most of the time.
It is to be more CONFIDENT!
I mean why do you want to look better? Is it really just for the sake of looking better? Or is it because you want to FEEL better about yourself – be more CONFIDENT in how you look?
Do you really want to get healthier? Or do you want to be MORE CONFIDENT in you health – know that when you wake up you will have the energy to tackle the day and won’t constantly be falling ill?
Yup…Underlying just about every health and fitness goal is a person’s real WHY – CONFIDENCE.
And while I would say this is definitely the case for women, I think it is also true for men.
Even high level athletes train to have more confidence. Yes, they train to get stronger…But they really train because they want to be CONFIDENT that they can win.
A healthy lifestyle is all about confidence no matter what terms you actually use to describe your goal.
That is why having a measurable goal, which is broken down into SHORT-TERM goals, is so important.
A big part of confidence is seeing progress – seeing SUCCESS…no matter how small.
When we accomplish something, there is definitely a feeling of pride, a feeling of CONFIDENCE.
I know that is why I make a daily task list. I love the feeling of success and accomplishment that I get when I cross something off of my to-do list!
Even if it is something small. Honestly, I usually even start with the easiest and smallest task for the day because it is the least daunting and seems quick and painless. AND it gets the momentum going because once I’ve finished something and see the list start to get smaller, I feel even more motivated to continue.
Usually getting the momentum going is the hardest part, which is why it is so important to start with something small. Easy to accomplish tasks present a lower barrier to entry…aka they make it seem less intimidating to get started on a difficult task.
So while your long-term goal may be something that will take months or even years to accomplish (and may seem incredibly daunting at the moment), your short-term goals should be things you can accomplish daily or even weekly.
You NEED to have easy to accomplish short-term goals, especially at the beginning because those quick and easy victories will get the momentum rolling.
And when you start seeing success, no matter how small, your confidence will build. And as your confidence builds, you will perform better, feel better, and even look better.
So if you want to accomplish all those more “superficial” goals like losing weight, getting more toned, being healthier, you first have to target the real reason you want all of those things – CONFIDENCE!
P.S. By superficial I don’t mean not important…your health is VERY important and does drive people to eat better or workout, but if you build your confidence, those other goals don’t seem near as intimidating or out of reach!
When we get it into our head that we want something, we usually want it NOW!
Not in two weeks, two months or two years…NOW!
It’s like we become a child again and our head is screaming “NOW!” “NOW!” “NOW!”….”I WANT IT NOW!”
Sorry….But you CAN’T HAVE IT NOW!
Success takes time. And sometimes pushing harder, faster WON’T get you there any quicker.
Sometimes pushing harder, faster actually hinders your progress.
At the same time, you can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen.
If you want to get stronger, perform better, lose weight, tone up or rehab an injury, you’ve got to give it your all WITHOUT becoming impatient (AKA pushing too hard too fast).
Two things I’ve found that have help me become more patient about accomplishing fitness goals are setting up a timeline and setting short-term goals.
When I say “setting up timelines” I mean that I outline how long it will realistically take to accomplish my goal and then I outline how much time I will spend potentially “testing” out ways to get there.
Let’s face it, if you want to lift a ton more weight or even lose a ton of weight, it isn’t going to take a month…it may even take a year. You’ve got to figure out a realistic timeframe in which to accomplish your goal.
And realistic means looking at what obstacles are in the way that may slow things down – it means planning out your timeframe based on the fact that there may be unforeseen plateaus!
Granted you can’t account for all setbacks, but the more you plan in a little extra time to deal with them, the more likely you will be to hit your goal on time if not early (which will make you very very happy…trust me!).
And setbacks can come in all forms. Unless you’ve had to work toward your specific goal before and already have a program in place, you are probably going to have to experiment a bit even if your friend/coach gives you a program that has worked for them and people they’ve known before.
Let’s face the facts…just because a program has worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. So how long do you potentially “waste” on a program that doesn’t work before switching (especially if you have a deadline to hit!)?
My rule of thumb is…”Give it 30 days.”
You’ve got to give a program just a bit of time. I know 30 days seems like an eternity when you want something NOW, but one week, or even two weeks, doesn’t really give you enough proof as to whether or not something really works.
Give it 30 days and then assess. Did you make any progress? What seemed to help? What didn’t?
THEN make changes!
If you learned something from that 30 days, then it isn’t really wasted time now is it!?!
Because if you learn more about what works for you to accomplish your goal, then you will always have that knowledge if you need to get back there or even build further!
If you never experiment and…for example…just starve yourself to lose the weight, you didn’t really learn about what it takes to truly lose the weight and keep it off (and you definitely aren’t any healthier!).
Anyway, the point is you have to figure that a goal you’ve never set out to accomplish before is going to take some extra time because first you have to establish a program!
So if you’ve set a realistic timeframe, you must have accounted for a bit of experimentation on top of setbacks such as unforeseen cheat days or sickness.
But by setting a realistic timeframe you won’t stress out about having to be at your goal NOW because you know exactly when it SHOULD be achieved! (Not to mention having a timeframe will help keep you on track when you want to cheat because you know you have a deadline.)
But once you have that timeline, the best way to keep yourself to that goal is to set short-term goals within that timeframe.
When we want something NOW, we usually overlook all the progress we are making because all we can focus on is the end goal, which in terms makes us upset and sometimes even depressed about the fact that we aren’t there yet.
So how do you get yourself to stay positive and not overwhelmed by the fact that you aren’t there yet?
You set shorter goals that allow you to see all the progress you are making toward you goal!
Having something to accomplish each week, each month, will keep you on track and even positive about your progress to a goal that will take you maybe even a year or longer to accomplish.
These goals can range from weekly weigh ins or performance measures to simply sticking to a meal plan or workout assigned for that day.
The point is that when you accomplish them they make you feel like you are getting closer to your goal. Accomplishing these short-term goals should provide you with confidence and keep you positive and motivated.
If you are confident, positive, motivated and feel like you are moving forward, even if it is small steps, you are going to be WAY more likely to stay the course no matter how long it takes.
So if you’ve been struggling to stay positive and accomplish your big goal, take time today to figure out what is a realistic timeframe to accomplish it. Then set out some mini goals that will keep you accountable each day, each week, each month…whatever works for you!
NOTE: You will also have to outline a clear program with a progression toward you goal based on your timeframe, but that is a different post!