I’ve been personal training and coaching athletes for over 10 years now. One of the most difficult parts of my job is eliciting the small lifestyle changes that need to take place in order to get someone the results they desire. Most people who walk in our doors are willing to put in the work in the gym, which is a big step all in itself. However, to see tangible results, significant changes to nutrition and activity levels may need to occur alongside work done inside the gym.
There are numerous methods out there to help you meet your goals - and it might seem overwhelming deciding which one is right for you - but they all have certain principles in common. There are many ways to get to Soldier Field, for example. You can take a cab, train, bus, car, walk… but you have to know where you are going, decide how you are getting there, find your route, and step out the door to get there.
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What do you truly Desire?
The first thing you must do is decide what is important to YOU. What do you desire? What are your core values? How do you want to be remembered by the world? What do you want written on your tombstone? These questions may give you some insight to what is important to you and what you are willing to make sacrifices for.
I like to make the comparison of going on a blind date. What are your non-negotiable traits you’re looking for? How do you specifically want to present yourself to this person and what deal breakers would prevent you from seeing this person again? The same would apply for a job interview. You wouldn’t want to work for a company that doesn’t treat you how you want to be treated or that doesn’t align themselves with your own growth and development. Make a list of the things you desire and determine which of these is most important. Write down how you would spend your perfect day and what you would need to accomplish it.
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Goal Setting. Stop wishing, start doing.
After you decide what it is you desire the next step is to set a goal. What is this goal and why is it important to you? How will it help you achieve your desire? This is where it is important to understand the difference between process and outcome goals. Outcome goals are specific results where process goals act as checkpoints to get to the result. An outcome goal would be: I want to gain 10lbs of muscle. The process goal would be: I will eat 5 meals a day which contain the adequate amount of calories. Accomplishing your process goals will help you achieve the outcome goal.
On a side note its important to have equal goals from different aspects of life such as family/relationships, (how do you want your personal relationships to develop), personal development (what are you doing to improve your quality of life), career (what goals do you have for your career), fitness (are there any events you would like to participate in and/or are you confident in your appearance)? Having goals from different areas of your life helps to keep you balanced and happy. You are only as strong as your weakest link. An example of someone who doesn’t practice this balance is the person who is obsessed with work and never makes time for their family and friends. Another example is the person who spends waaaaayyyy to much time at the gym. Is either of these an example of someone you would have a drink with? Consistency and hard work are important but remember to keep a balance. If someone is focused too much on one aspect of their life, it is usually to cover a problem in one or several areas.
Seek Expert Advice
Tiger Woods, along with most other pro golfers, has a swing coach. Tiger Woods was at one time the best golfer in the world, but he has a coach who is not a better golfer than him. He uses this person’s advice because this other person is an expert who knows what to look for and can break down his swing and make him better. If Tiger had a relationship coach maybe his personal relationships would have turned out differently.
After you have established your goal it’s important to seek the advice of an expert. This expert is usually someone who has been there before, in some facet and acts as a voice of support along your journey. This person can help you establish a timeline and set realistic goals while holding you accountable. It is important to have someone or something set in place to make sure you have a realistic timeline to reach your goals as well as keep you on track when the “shit hits the fan”. This mentor or coach can also check your progress along the way so you can see if the plan you set in place is working as expected.
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Failing to plan is planning to fail
The old adage couldn’t be more true in relation to any aspect of success “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” After you have sought the advice of an expert and have some means to hold yourself accountable it is time to set a plan in place. How far out can you plan? 1 yr? 3 months? 3 years? It may seem difficult to plan longer down the road but its important to know that although distant plans may be vague, it is better to have a direction towards which to move than no direction whatsoever. The further out you are able to plan the more opportunity you will have to see what works. Things will come up that will stand in your way. Usually it is how you respond to these barriers that determine your success rather than your level of motivation during the preparation phase.
You have to stay committed for a long period of time and be willing to put in the work. Keep your desires in mind and always focus on the goal and accomplishing your process goals. Consistency is one key to success. There is no way to know if a plan is working if there is no consistency.
Take Action Now!
Don’t hesitate! Take action now while motivation is high to accomplish your goal and get what you desire. Even if your plan is not yet fully perfected, take the necessary steps today! Ask yourself “What can I do today to EARN my results?” Ask yourself this out loud each day and make an honest effort to accomplish this. Start now! Remember it usually takes 2-4 weeks to build a habit and the chances of the habit sticking drastically decrease when you add more than one habit. So challenge yourself but be realistic.
“Don’t wait for the perfect time to start, start and maybe the time will be perfect.”
Story of Success
There is a story of a man 50 years old who was diagnosed with cancer. He decided what was important to him (being able to support his family if something happened to him) made a decision, sought expert advice, devised a plan, took action, and rolled with the punches (literally) when the came up, and stayed consistent in his approach to achieving his goal.
People who have see the show Breaking Bad will know that I’m talking about Walter White the character from the hit FX show. Now most of us will not agree with the chemistry teacher turned crystal meth kingpin’s methods put his approach to getting what he desired can clearly be outlined in what I just wrote. After finding out he had cancer Walt sought the advice of his DEA agent brother in law, Hank, as well as his former student and meth dealer, Jesse. Walt faced many tough decisions while executing his plan but he stayed committed to his goal and in the end… I guess that’s up for debate, but he did make the money to leave behind for his loved ones.
There are many real life stories that follow these principles behind success. I’m sure everyone reading this had to apply these principles (maybe without knowing it) to finish school, or play an instrument, or learn a new skill. Whatever your goal or desire, use this outline to get what you deserve out of life!
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