Okay, here it comes. . . It is January 1st again. A time when most of us are making the commitment to get in shape, for real this time! Unfortunately it usually plays out to be the same silly song and dance we act out with ourselves as well as with others leading to a lack of sustainable success. And yet, here we are (again), trying to fulfill some deep desire to make improvements to this elusive and vague thing called fitness.
Kindly allow me to present you with a theory of why you may be continually falling short of sustainable success. To me, sustainable success is a progressive achievement lasting six months or more without any wobbling or yo-yo effect. Perhaps you do not truly understand how to set objectives, or maybe are confused by a “result” versus an “objective.” Try to think of an objective simply as a dream combined with a clearly defined timeline and a result as a desired effect you want from a specific event. Objectives must coincide with some type of larger significance to our life. They need to have a value based on an improvement that will create a truly emotional change from within our being. Too often I find that many of us focus on the result or effect, all while only seeing the path that is seemingly 12 inches in front of us.
Here are some great tips to creating the new you for 2015.
1. Create clearly defined concepts.
- These should be based on what you want to see, hear, feel or experience. Try to avoid statements or thoughts like: “I want to get in the best shape of my life” or “I want to be strong” or “I want to be healthy” or “I want to lose weight and ‘tone up’ a little”. The issue is that all of these are far too vague and generalized to truly achieve any short or long-term success. Let’s commit to statements like: “I want to improve my muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance so I may play with my children without getting tired after fifteen minutes” or “I want to improve my internal health by lower my blood pressure and improving my cholesterol so I have less inflammation and have more energy throughout the day” or “I want to lose twelve pounds of fat as well as reduce my pants by three sizes so I may fit into my summer clothes”. Write these things out and post them places where you will see them on a daily basis. Please feel free to place some motivational imagery along with these objectives. You may also help solidify your objectives by sincerely sharing them with at least three friends and three family members will ideally help keep you motivated by inquiring how your are coming along with your plan. I suggest asking them for some random accountability. I also suggest taking your time with sharing. If you desire a greater chance for success simply start telling everyone you see how you plan on being successful. Try to nurture a sense of expectancy that your success has already arrived. Start acting as if you are already there. How would you walk, talk and feel when you experience the success you are seeking?
2. Place great value on quantifying your success.
- Aim for objective that will yield the opportunity to be tracked. Try making the commitment to measuring weight and body fat percentage each week on Monday and Friday no matter how you feel or if you missed a workout. There is a specific reason why I am suggesting Monday AND Friday. Usually everyone is well behaved Monday-Friday and slack off a bit on the weekends while living their “rock-star” lifestyle. Consider the Monday measurement a retrospective of your behavior over the weekend. If you don’t workout Friday, then do it Thursday. The point is to have two measurements for a comparison. I cannot stress how important it is for you to become a data junkie about tracking your weekly success. There are so many fitness driven tech gadgets on the market that will help you track everything from your steps in a day to hours you sleep to workouts in a week or even calories burned versus calories consumed. These gadgets are personal accountability tools that put your acute variables into a language that is easy to understand and keep you motivated while you are using them. I must warn you that I have noticed the transient nature of these items. Let me be absolutely clear that no gadget will ever surpass the inherent power you possess in your own mind to succeed.
3. Set objectives that are attainable.
- There comes a time when we all must be realistic with ourselves about what is manageable with everything we have going on in our lives. Some have kids, works, school, hobbies, or family events that will all get in the way of having absolute laser beam focus on achieving our dreams. Set yourself up for success by not over promising yourself something that is not attainable. If you haven’t been exercising for a few months, it’s highly unlikely you will be able to stay committed to five days a week for 45-90 minutes. Keep in mind you will probably need to shower, eat and commute as well. All these factors should be considered before you make any commitments to frequency and time. I suggest starting with some small objectives like going to the gym three times a week and spending 60 minutes with some resistance movements, then aerobics and then stretching. Just basic movements for the first couple weeks and then progress to more time or greater intensity within the same routine.
4. Be sensible about your expectations.
- By setting sensible expectations you will foster tremendous levels of momentum because there will be so many small victories along the journey to sustainable success. Statements like, “I want to lose 100 lbs” will never happen if you are a grown adult over five feet tall and weighing 160 lbs. We must agree that sometimes we all suffer from having unrealistic expectations. This is presumably fueled by the conditioning attachment to our modern day “instant gratification” mindset. All the infomercials in the health, fitness and weight loss market subconsciously condition the viewer to believe things as ludicrous as wearing an electronic stimulation device that steadily applies a micro shock to our belly will “burn off” that stubborn fat around our abdomen. And this is accomplished in just 10 minutes a day while we sit watching another infomercial trying to sell us a magic weight loss pill. I am all for efficiency, progression, innovation and evolution within all areas of life, but we must remember to consider the source of the marketing and have the presence of mind to know that most (in not all) promises for instant success are based an appeal to our emotions attached to our perception of our busy lives. Here’s a paradigm shift in thinking; ask yourself what is the common denominator within all your attempts with a lack of sustainable success? Guess what, it is you! Or maybe you have seen some progress in that past, so why aren’t you there now? It has nothing to do with your genetics or age or that you just have a sweet tooth because one or both of your parents did as well.
5. Set a specific time line for your success.
Let’s think about everything in life that we have every accomplished from the graduation of high school students to the conclusion of NFL season. There is an end date in mind which drives all the teams to get into the playoffs in an attempt to win the Super Bowl. This happens everywhere else in life, so why isn’t happening for you? We can even break up the year into four quarters. Each quarter you may set new objectives and outcomes that will challenge you to keep pushing towards the end of the season. A great reward would be to treat yourself to a massage or spa day for all your hard work and efforts over the last 12 weeks. Always give yourself some time to appreciate your active participation in the journey.
6. Create the physical manifestation of your dreams.
Write up a legal contract with yourself that represents a meeting of the minds. A meeting of the minds is defined by legal dictionary as, “An agreement (contract) between two parties that share the same understanding of the terms of the agreement. Such a mutual comprehension is essential to a valid contact. It is provable by the express provisions of a written contract, without reference to any statements or hidden thoughts outside the writing.” In this case you will be making an agreement between your lower self or subconscious mind and your higher self or conscious mind. This may seem silly at first but you must trust that it actually works! Test it out by creating a simple contract for one week to stop your “guilty pleasures” or make it more uplifting and put a positive spin on it. Either way, write it out for a week and see what happens. I assure you that if you put intention behind your contract it will work 100%.
For more information, please contact guest author of this article, AJ Paolella: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Facebook page: Pulp Fitness