A few weeks ago, we sent out a Countdown to 2019 newsletter. In it, we talked about how through the year we periodically we look back and assess how we are doing as well as goal setting for the rest of this year and 2019. We also asked you the questions "What about you? Are you on the right path for the year?" So, are you on the right path for this year? The answer to that question is one only you can answer, as you have to assess your level of success. Each person measures success differently and when it comes to your life, you have to measure it as you see fit. This assumes, of course, that you will take an honest look and provide an honest assessment. If you look back on the year, determine that you have not reached any of your goals, and say that is okay, then you're probably not being honest with yourself. In that case, it might be time for someone else to provide an assessment. Have you achieved your goals for the year? This question is straightforward and is likely one you should ask yourself. Everyone has some kind of goals for themselves, even if these are unspoken goals. That said, we think it is ideal to set spoken and written goals for one's self. If you didn't do this sometime early in the year, why not? That might be a good place for you to start. Assuming you set goals or have some internally understood goals, did you achieve them this year? Take a look at each goal, consider if you made progress, how much progress you made, and if you tried hard enough. If simply asking yourself " Have you achieved your goals for the year?" doesn’t focus in enough for you, you might want to get more specific with your line of questioning. We can't tell you what questions to ask, as these as based on your goals, but we can offer you examples. In the last countdown newsletter we stated when looking back over the year, we may think about any number of topics, and have questions related to them, but a few topics and questions inevitably come up, including:
How are we doing financially?
How are we doing in our relationship?
How is the business doing?
How is our training going?
Have we achieved our goals for the year?
These questions might be ones you ask yourself. However, you could have many different questions as well, including but not limited to:
Did I get that raise?
Did I get that promotion?
Did I work hard at my relationships (e.g. familial, romantic, work, etc.)?
Could I have done more for my relationships (e.g. familial, romantic, work, etc.)?
Did I reach my fitness goals?
Did I reach my health goals?
Was I a good father?
Was I a good mother?
The list could go on, but these examples give you an idea.
What if you reached your goals? Then you're doing great. Keep up the good work. Even if you only reached 90 percent of your goals, or maybe even 70 percent, but you worked hard and gave the process all you reasonably could, then you are a success. Keep doing what you're doing and you'll keep moving forward. 2019 is another chance to reach goals. Start thinking about your goals now. Maybe even set them a bit higher than you did in 2018. Don't go overboard, of course, as a person can only handle so much, but set high goals and work hard to reach them. Even if you don't reach 100 percent by the end of 2019, you'll still have significant amounts of success. What if you didn't reach your goals? If you didn't reach your goals, you need to assess why not. You need to consider if the goals were too lofty, if you didn’t work hard enough, if you have people in your life that stand in your way, if you plan was not good enough, etc. The way you assess will vary based on the goal(s) you set. As with the people that reached their goals, 2019 is another chance to reach you goals. Start thinking about your goals now. Maybe even set them a bit higher than you did in 2018. Don't go overboard, of course, as a person can only handle so much, but set high goals and work hard to reach them. Even if you don't reach 100 percent by the end of 2019, you'll still have significant amounts of success. So, did you succeed this year? Now we want to focus on pushing toward your goals for the rest of this year, and just as important, for 2019. Specifically, we want to talk about prioritizing. In our newsletters as well as blogs, and indeed through other mediums such as social media, we've covered goal prioritization many times. It is that thing that will largely make or break your success, coming in second to motivation (although, really, the two are connected). One of the main newsletters we sent out (multiple times in fact) that approaches the idea of prioritization was "Time is a killer." This post was also featured on our blog multiple times. Motivation and time are two of the biggest issues individuals note when expressing what holds them back from success. When considering paying for fitness related services and products such as an app, personal training, or nutritional planning, cost is a close third. Putting price aside for the moment—since even if you don’t have money you can do something on your own, free of charge, using that thing called the internet to find resources—we want to talk about time and motivation. In "Time is a killer" we stated "It seems as if time is always working against us. Many people say they never have time, but then again, if you never make time, how can you have time? You will have time if you make time" and that statement remains true today. If you want to be successful at something, you will make the time. If you don't, you won't. In that same newsletter we included:
"But it wasn't my fault"
"I had no control over the situation"
"It couldn't be prevented"
"I don't have the time"
We've all made and heard excuses like these before. Sometimes they're legitimate reasons, other times they're not. When someone else makes one of these statements and you know they're making excuses, you likely roll your eyes, call it an excuse, or otherwise dismiss their attempts to deflect responsibility. But do you do the same things when you're making excuses? Maybe it's time you do. Sometimes things in life are beyond control. Personal and professional problems arise and this is a part of life. But at times you know you make excuses. You know you have the time, you know you can control the situation, etc. If you always say a situation is outside of your control, you can never take responsibility and change the situation. Only when you own your responsibility can you enable change in your life. If you're making excuses, STOP! Take control of the situation. You'll feel better when you do and life improves as a result. You have to take responsibility for your actions and for your success. While obstacles may get in the way, if you don’t succeed, you only have yourself to blame. Your failure is your fault. Your success is your achievement. Motivation is the problem In most instances, barring some aggravating circumstance, if a person is not successful at something it is due to a lack of motivation. You must be motivated and prioritize your goals as well as the plan to reach the same. You might ask "how do I do this?" That depends on your situation. No two people face the same life circumstances. Even if similarities occur between situations, significant differences are always present. You must look at your particular situation to determine how to fit it in. For example, imagine that you can achieve your best results working out five days per week, but your schedule only allows for three days—then you can only workout three days. It would be ideal to workout for five, but your training frequency is partially dictated by your schedule. At the same time, imagine your schedule permits working out five days per week, but your body can only recover from three days per week. In this case you should only workout for three days per week until your body can handle more, and then increase frequency, if other situational factors such as schedule permit. Here are a few ideas. Some of these come from previous newsletters.
Look at your goal list. Make sure it is well developed, meaning it lists all your primary goals, lists them in order of importance, and provides enough detail about each goal.
Think about when you can fit things in. For example, can you fit workouts in during the morning, afternoon, or evening; do you have 30 minutes to make meals each day, can you meal prep for the week on Sunday, does it make sense to do all your grocery shopping on one day or spread it through the week, etc.
If needed, talk to a doctor-while we would love to tell you to jump head first into a new nutrition and exercise program, you may need to visit a doctor. If you are obese, have underlying health conditions, or some other aggravating factor, it is a good idea to have a doctor check you out, determine if any issues are present, and have the doctor provide recommendations or restrictions. This will help you, a trainer, or a nutritionist select the best course of action.
Talk to a fitness professional and/or access online resources-even if you do not have the money for a trainer, nutritionist, or another fitness professional, talk to one. An individual session is not very expensive and many professionals, us included, will provide you with a free consult. The goal here is to talk to the fitness professional about your goals, what the doctor said, and any other issues you face, while also providing you an opportunity to ask questions and get real answers.
Develop a plan-whether on your own or with the ongoing support of a doctor and/or fitness professional, create a plan for exercise and nutrition, with the goal of losing weight and improving health. Be sure to put thought into it and create a plan that focuses on now and the future. Create a detailed plan at least three months in advance, with an outline for 12 months. The specifics will vary and should be based on your situation. No cookie-cutter plans.
Implement the plan-put in the work. Adjust as needed over time. Don't make excuses. Don’t give up.
At the same time, remember the process takes time and there is no such thing as magic, both of which ideas we presented in various newsletters over the past couple of years. Some of the content below comes from those newsletters. There's no such thing as magic There are no magic programs, no quick fixes (such as the 21-day Fix), or easy workarounds. You have to follow the ideas included above. Even if there was a magic program, if you don't follow it, it won't work. You must have a plan, follow that plan, put in the work, and give the process time. The journey takes time The journey takes time and indeed is an ongoing process. Depending on how robust your goals are, the length of the initial journey—that is, the time it takes you to reach your initial goal—may vary. If you want to lose or gain 20 pounds the process should be shorter than if you need to lose 100. Be prepared to put time into the process both to reach your initial goal and then to either maintain your success or move toward another goal. We encourage everyone to initially dedicate 6-12 months to reaching any goal. This timeline applies whether you work with us, another professional, or go the process alone. This has nothing to do with paying for a trainer, but rather with knowing what it takes to reach goals. Your goals require effort Nothing worth doing is easy and your health and fitness goals are no exceptions. Whether gaining or losing 20 pounds or 100, or seeking improvements in fitness, effort will be required on the path to success. Remember that you get out what you put in. This might seem cliched or commonsensical, but people often don't put in the necessary effort. In the context of this newsletter, we use effort as a way to talk about the amount of energy you put into working out and nutrition. The body is an adaptive machine, but in order for to elicit change, you must give the body proper stimuli. For example, if you can run but always walk during cardio, the time it takes you to reach your cardio goal will be longer than if you had put in more effort. Conversely, if you want to lose weight, but are not willing to watch what you eat, then you will likely never reach your weight loss goals. Success demands commitment Time and effort, or perhaps we should say effort over time, take commitment. You must be dedicated to the process over time, putting in the required effort. If you show effort for only a short time, then your commitment wanes or you give up, you will either have a hard time reaching your goals or never reach your goals. Your commitment—that is, your motivation and dedication to doing the things you need to do to progress—will make or break your success. If you want to reach your goals, you'll be dedicated. If you don't, you won't. Now, we understand that with time, focus can wane as can motivation, and setbacks can happen. It is at these times that digging deep and finding motivation becomes even more important. Setbacks happen so deal with them the best you can Everyone experiences setbacks in life, whether at work, in relationships, in their health and fitness pursuits, or in some other area. Setbacks are just that, setbacks, they're are not the end of the road. If you have a setback, you must deal with it appropriately. Take control of the situation as best you can, find a way to resolve an outstanding issue, and move forward. The way you deal with a setback varies based on the type of setback. There is no universal way to deal with all setbacks; you have to look at the situation to determine the best way to move forward. That said, there is always a way to move forward. The most important thing to remember is that only you can make it happen. Other people can only help. We try to help all our clients when they experience setbacks, but they have to be willing to listen and act; otherwise, our advice is pointless. Clearly, you cannot do everything yourself. Some setbacks require the help of other individuals and access to resources. However, you can find these individuals and resources. By doing so, you take control of the situation. This does not mean the process will be easy, but you can make it happen. Visualize the End Goal Each person's motivation is different. Maybe you want to improve your health for your kids, so you keep a picture of them with you each time you work out. Maybe you want to prepare for a marathon, so you have the flyer with the race date pinned next to your bed, so you see it each time you wake up and go to bed. These are motivating factors, and the act of keeping the picture or flyer in view is a form of visualization. One key way to be successful is to visualize your end goal. If your goal is to lose weight, visual what you will look like or how it will feel when you see the scale reach your goal number. If you want to build strength, imagine completing the lift or lifts you're targeting and imagine what that will feel like. Regardless of the goal, find a way to visualize it as a means to keep you motivated. You may only need your mind, but a visual aid may help. Find what works for you. Keep your eyes on the prize. We can offer inspiration quotes, tip, tricks, and so-called hacks, but in the end, none of these things matter if you are not motivated. Find your motivation! Be the best that you want to be!
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Nathan has 17 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.