2018 Resolutions

Let's talk statistics. I want to give the bad news before we talk about a solution to the problem. 
* 25 percent of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after one week.
* 60 percent of people abandon them within six months. (The average person makes the same New Year’s resolution ten separate times without success.)
* Only 5 percent of those who lose weight on a diet keep it off; 95% regain it. A significant percentage gain back more than they originally lost.
* Even after a heart attack, only 14 percent of patients make any lasting changes around eating or exercise.

2018 Resolutions.png

I need to get something off my chest. You may or may not agree with me and that is fine. We can talk about it. Just keep an open mind as you continue to read (hopefully). 

Setting new goals can be depressing. I've witnessed this mindset with clients, friends, and family I've worked with over the years, and I've even felt the same way personally sometimes. On one hand, we take stock of all we didn't do that we thought we might during the current year, and on the other hand, we face another year and wonder if we can muster a shred of hope to make things different. 

What should we do instead? Should we throw out all the sticky notes, do away with making a list of resolutions or what? 

I can tell you what I've done that has drastically changed at how I set goals, and achieve the things that I want to do different year to year. 

Did you know that research shows that people who focus on the process of achieving the desired outcome are more likely to achieve it than those who simply think about the outcome itself? The key difference is focusing on the process of achieving the desired outcome, not just thinking about the outcome.

Last year I wrote about having a new mindset and creating a mantra for the year. This year I want to discuss a new way of framing the things you want to achieve. 

1) Write it down. 

Sounds simple, right? Don't jump ahead on me yet. Let me explain. 

Life is hard. It is particularly difficult when you aren’t seeing progress. You feel like you're working yourself to death, going nowhere. But written goals are like mile-markers on a highway. They enable you to see how far you have come and how far you need to go. They also provide an opportunity for celebration when you attain them. Writing into your future further engages your imagination, emotions, and other problem-solving faculties so that you more fully assimilate the process ahead.

2) Tell someone. 

There are two problems with trying to lay out your goals and then attain them alone. One, isolation. A major contributing factor to people feeling blue during the holidays is social isolation. Friendship is a lot like food. We need it to survive. We seem to have a basic drive for it. Psychologists find that human beings have the fundamental need for inclusion in group life and for close relationships. We are truly social animals. We function best when this social need is met. It is easier to stay motivated, to meet the varied challenges of life. When we share our goals with a trusted person in our life we will be held accountable and have the opportunity to share the ups and downs of the journey to reach our goals. Finding accountability groups, masterminds, or other circles can help us attain our goals. Such circles provide inspiration for getting new ideas, gaining strategy for meeting challenges, and celebrating when milestones are reached.

Mindset, a strong will, and positive action all help us manifest our vision, goals, and intentions.  You should get started, right now.

Where Is Your Motivation?

I am a huge note taker. Over the years I have filled up countless notebooks on my experiences in working with people. I have worked with 100's of people over the years. One of the catalyst that shows up over and over again is the word motivation.

The single defining term that determines if you will hit your goals or not is motivation.

I'm not talking about if you are motivated or not. Because we all are at some point. That isn't what matters on a deeper level. What are you motivated by and the type of motivation will determine how far you will go and sustain your progress.

Current weight loss trends would have you to believe that you must be miserable to achieve optimal results.

I found a quote that pretty much sums up what people think when they come to me for health and fitness advice.

Mark Twain once said, "The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not."

Psychologist have dove into this topic heavily over the last 40 years. Research in psychology has shown that the type of motivation you have is more important than the amount of motivation you have when pursuing a weight-loss goal.

Take a moment and answer a question for me.

I am losing weight because...
1. I feel like there is no other choice; other people are making me do it.
2. If I didn't lose weight I would feel bad about myself.
3. It is personally important to me to reach this goal.
4. It is important to attain my goal and I feel it will be enjoyable.

What type of motivation did you have?

1. This type of motivation is 100% external. I like to call this type of motivation the scare tactic. You feel like you have to embark on a weight loss journey because the doctor told you that you are pre-diabetic. Your partner told you that it was time for you to drop a few and get back to the weight that you were at when the two of you met.

2. This type of motivation is the unconscious adoption of the ideas or attitudes of others. It's introjected motivation. Partially you want to achieve better health but mainly out of guilt or ego. Your clothes do not fit anymore, and sometimes you feel like people look at you weird. They are all external reasons to change. Societal norms and the pressure you may feel from others are the reason that drives change. It's pursued in order to get a reward at the end or avoid a negative consequence.

3. You've made a decision to lose weight because it is something that is precious to you. You value the choice. This is called Identified motivation. The view that you have on weight loss is positive and the decision to take on the goal was yours. Maybe you want to experience things you've never been able to do before. Things like hiking, wearing a bikini, walking up and down stairs without being exhausted, or wanting to be around for your kids. You experience a strong sense of personal responsibility and importance in the task.

4. This type of motivation is Intrinsic Motivation. The motive behind you wanting to improve your health is for you. You understand that there will be benefits that you will reap. But this is a journey that you are traveling on for your own sake. You intend to make good nutrition choices and engage in some sort of physical activity for the pleasure and because it is important to you.

Improving your health and fitness already requires tons of effort on your part. Changing your nutritional habits and beginning any new fitness routine can be challenging in itself. You might as well take a deep look into the driving force behind you wanting to improve your health. Because if it is for extrinsic reasons it will only be a matter of time before you are searching for ‘more motivation’. And we all know how that ends. 

The Thrill Is Gone

The thrill is gone. I’m a music lover so I must give you a little history lesson. That song was first written in 1951 by blues musicians Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell. But the most famous rendition of it was done by B.B. King in 1969. Definitely one of my top 10 favorite songs. If you have never heard it then you need to listen to it on YouTube. I had it on my playlist the other day and some interesting thoughts struck me that I want to share.

The Thrill Is Gone.png

The definition of a thrill is temporary excitement, and usually happens when something is experienced for the first time. It's thrilling to ride a roller coaster. But it is more like a chore the third or fourth time you have to ride it. Thus, the definition of the thrill is that it's going to be gone soon.

You might have been thrilled to reach the health and fitness goals that you set at the beginning of your journey. You might have even been thrilled to see some progress along the way.

But what happens after that?

The magic to keep going isn’t to recreate the thrills. It's to show up and continue doing the work. To continue the journey you set out on a while ago. To make the change you seek, visualize new ones, and pursue the new adventures.

The work isn’t always glamorous. You won’t always want to get up and do it. There will be breaks, gaps, and sometimes moments of wanting to throw in the towel. But with enough grit, that initial thrill will turn into discipline. That discipline will lead you to a body that gives you confidence and a sense of pride because you ‘Made’ it. I suggest the word ‘Made’ because it took effort, originality and skill. There is nothing wishy-washy about you being on this quest to better yourself through a lifestyle change. It’s concrete and finite. It didn’t used to exist and now it does.

The day to day discipline that you acquired will turn into a gift. It will be a connection that can be transferred from you to another person. The work you put in day in and day out will give you an enormous amount of self-satisfaction. With that sense of self-worth and positive spirit you will inspire others. You will be able to encourage, reassure, and assist others who were once were you used to be.

Thrilling is fine. Mattering is more important.

Failed Success

Have you ever gone to the gym and started your workout routine and felt like not being there or something just felt off? Maybe you were tired that day. Maybe you didn’t eat enough. Maybe you were just simply having an off day.  

That was me today.

I walked in the gym with my head phones on with my music bumping through the speakers.  I was ready to begin my leg workout. I got through my warm up with ease.  I even did well on my first two sets of barbell squats but as the weight got heavier my body was not responding well.  My last sets were brutal.  My body felt so weak, I was distracted, I was tired and hungry. My form was suffering from my body’s inability to get with the program! I kept trying to correct my form but my mind and body were fighting against each other.  

Why is this soooo frustrating!?!

I know a lot of people have asked the same question! The gym can make you feel feelings that you don’t like feeling.  Some of you have probably experienced this many times when going to the gym.

Before, when the sense of frustration came over me, I would just leave the gym because my workout was completely “ruined.”  I became unmotivated and discouraged.  How in the heck are you supposed to get excited after failing during a set?? Now that I have more experience, I will tell you a little secret… you don’t.  If you really want to succeed at something nothing will stop you.  You get up and try again.  So after a “failure” you have to brush off the bad reps and sets, and you move on.  It took me a little bit to let my failures go.  I wanted to go back and redo them because they weren’t good enough.  But that’s what lifting and exercise is about. Learning that it’s okay to fail or to have a bad lift or rep because you learn from it.  

So, you failed.  When you fail, you don’t just accept it, you stay and fight for it.  

Failure is part of the process that will lead you to success. 
Failure is essential.  
Failure is vitality.  

After my failed attempt at my last set of squats, I prepared for the next exercise.  I dwelled on my squats for a few seconds and reminded myself that I had an entire workout left, and I could not let a few bad repetitions ruin the rest of my workout.  My coach told me to think of each repetition as being one step closer to my goal and to not waste a rep.  Today, I felt like I had done the opposite of what my coach advised me but some days you just have an off day.  I finished the rest of my workout with my head held high and a big smile because I did not allow the first part of my workout stop me from finishing strong.

Your exercise success isn’t about how well you do on the days you feel 100 percent or the days where you killed your workout.  No, exercise success is about how you fight and claw your way back to a place where your mentally prepared to attack the next exercise regardless of any flaw or failure.  Your success is determined by your grind and getting through the mental aspects of FAILING. 

In my many years of exercising, I can tell you that I have experienced this feeling quite a few times, but I have just recently learned how truly beneficial it is to fail.