This has been a year like no other and the majority of the plans we have made have been cancelled or postponed. Some of our decision making has been taken away from us and with it, our sense of control. For some this has been a positive, having less choices and distractions in life has allowed them to prioritize their health and fitness and they are the better for it. For many others, the loss of their previous routine and structure has had a hugely destructive effect on their health.
Getting yourself out of a hole is not easy but it always starts with ACTION. There’s no point deliberating and procrastinating when you’re going to start sorting yourself out – flip the switch and take action now.
Decide what’s truly important and make this your focus – your primary goal. For example if you’ve gained weight during lockdown then be specific about what you are trying to achieve.
“ My goal is to lose the 7lbs of body fat gained during lock down by 18th December’
No doubt on the way to achieving this goal you will have other important successes (reduced blood pressure, lower resting HR, strength gains, performance improvements) but make your one goal simple and clear.
Once you have identified exactly what it is you want to achieve you then need to figure out how you are going to get there – you need a strategy.
Step 1 – Determine how much you need to invest
The more challenging your goal the greater the investment of time required to accomplish the goal. For example if you want to run a marathon in 12 weeks and currently can’t run 10K then you will likely need to invest 5-10 hours per week to successfully get you to the finish line.
However we must also be realistic about how much time we can dedicate to our training program. If you are not currently training at all and then decide that next week you are going to commit to 5 hours of training you are setting yourself up to fail. Better to start with a more achievable target such as 2 hours which you are much more likely to complete and then you will start to build MOMENTUM.
Step 2 – Identify roadblocks
Look at the time-frame of your goal and identify any potential obstacles that you will need to overcome. Identify all personal or professional commitments that will impact on your training schedule and make sure you have a course of action ready when the obstacle arrives.
Step 3 – Create Accountability
Accountability is vital to achieving your goals. Without it the motivation felt at the start will quickly dissipate when the going gets tough.
On a simple level, having your training program stuck to your fridge door for all to see, or written in the family calendar gives a visual daily reminder of what you have committed to and it will also gain you the support of your family who will be able to share your goal with you.
A greater amount of accountability can be sought by utilizing a coach or mentor who has the expertise to provide technical feedback and provide the encouragement to keep you driving forward to achieve your goal.
Step 4 – Add Emotion
When the going gets tough and you want to quit, you will need more than a good training plan to keep you moving forward. You need to create an emotional investment to the goal that you can tap into whenever you need it. If you have a weight loss goal have a photo of yourself as you were before your weight gain and also a photo of how you look now and stick these around your bathroom mirror so you are given the daily reminder of what you are doing it all for. Write out on post it notes all the reasons why you are committed to your goal and try to imagine how you will feel when you are successful and write these out too. Adding emotion to your goal will give you the determination and drive you need to stay on track and complete your journey.
Remember: “Train with purpose, eat thoughtfully and drink carefully!”