“I may not be there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday.” – Unknown
Okay, we are officially four months into 2016. Some of you have started new diet regimens, joined a gym, saving money in new ways or perhaps committed yourself to learning what quality time looks like for you. Maybe you have been working on a book or started a new business. In the infamous words of doctor Phil, “how’s that working for you?”
Experts say it takes thirty-days for a task to become a habit, so if you are still committed to whatever original dynamic plan that you began this year, kudos to you! But if you are a part of that larger group that kind of dropped the ball somewhere between January and now, not to worry there is still hope.
Quite often the normal frame of mind is to quit or give in to the idea that, “this plan was just not for me”, or worse, “what the hell was I thinking when I agreed to this in the first place!” Change normally never feels good, especially when it is time to really follow though with it. When the rah-rah words have longed passed and our designated cheerleaders have all faded to black, what is typically going through our mind when it is time to do the thing? If you are any thing like me, especially when I was first learning this, the seemingly comforting words, “just quit” will enter your mind, or perhaps, “maybe I was being over zealous when I first agreed this was the way to go for me”, crosses your brain. However it comes, none of us our immune to the pressures of abandoning a plan, goal or even a commitment when it becomes challenging.
So, what happens when we get to that place? What should we be considering next, and how do we overcome the temptation to stop pressing? I believe there are some general rules that can apply to any given situation, but for this example I will use my current goal of working out. Approximately eight months ago I hired a personal trainer for a year commitment. I meet with him just one day per week for thirty minutes. My ultimate goal was to learn more about resistance and strength training, become more educated with gym equipment, build a repertoire of exercises and understand how they impact my body, and finally, lose twelve pounds, decrease my body fat by 7-8% and build muscle mass, along with my core.
For me losing the weight was the easy part, it’s the maintaining and adding the other components as a lifestyle I had challenges with. So what were my next steps after making this financial, spiritual, emotional and psychological commitment to my trainer, as well as to myself? Sounds fairly familiar right, with any new endeavor we might decide to embark on? Here is what I did and continue to do to press forward.
- Come to terms within myself why I’m even doing this – It’s so easy to get caught up with the fanfare of what others may be doing and why. Our intentions must resonate with who we are and what we are trying to accomplish. Why was it twelve pounds versus fifteen or ten? My reasons were based on how my clothes fit me and how I felt at that weight before. It’s ideal, healthy and I feel really good about myself. For me this journey had to be more than just about losing weight, because I have been there, done that. So as you begin the journey, fully understand your motivations. Be sure they carry meaning for you, because when things get difficult you will need to fall back on this.
- Solicit the help of someone more experienced than you in the area of your goal – There is absolutely no way I would have went this long on my own, nor pushed myself as hard. We want to believe we will, but desire alone is not enough to sustain longterm goals. My trainer (thanks Colin) has introduced methods, programs and routines that I would have never thought of. The results have been amazing and I appreciate someone who knows better than I do. Whether you call it a life-coach, mentor or in my case a personal trainer, get someone who knows what they are doing, that can provide direction, support and the push that we need to press when we reach that common-place-wall. In some cases we may find the support we need in a book, seminar or off the internet. However you obtain the resource you need, the key is to expose yourself to someone who knows the steps to success in your specific area, and is able to lay out a game plan that you can buy-in to as well achieve.
- Execute the plan – Once Colin laid out a plan for me, it was still up to me to follow through with it. After all, I only see him one day per week for thirty minutes. The remaining six days are in my hands essentially. So as he taught me new exercises, that kicked my butt on the regular, I worked on them until I could do the expected reps and counts with some ease, then I added more, well okay he did. Initially I was not as committed to the plan. I was still committed to my potato chips and thought I could do both well. That failed miserably, but he was patient and continued working the plan with me. The lesson here is we must push the “go button” at some point and begin to step out. Even if it scary and you are in uncharted waters, (which is usually the case) we still have to begin. Who knows how long your journey will take to arrive at that desired place, but one thing is certain, once you begin you are closer to the goal had you not started at all.
- Allow for failure, adjustment and temporary setback – I cannot tell you how many times I left the gym on a high only to succumb to my weakness to chocolate the next day. In times past I would have said , “oh well forget it, chocolate wins and the gym (my goal) loses.” But I realize every plan has setbacks and moments of failure. It’s what you do in those moments that counts. How we respond to failure is as much a part of the process as reaching the ultimate goal is. You have to be realistic with what you can accomplish and what you cannot. Setting unreachable goals can be equally detrimental or worse than not having any goals at all. So if you need to adjust, than do that and keep moving forward toward the prize.
As I come to the last four months of my training, so many awesome things have occurred while on this journey. I am closer to my initial goals and some I have already surpassed, but more importantly I still am very aware of what is next. The plan continues to evolve and my life will never be the same, because I continue to seek higher ground. And so the journey continues…