“If You don’t know where you are going, then any road will take you there”- Lewis Carroll.
What to expect:
5 Minute Read Time
Learn the importance of having meaning to any fitness goal
Learn why having motivation and knowing what to do is never enough to reach a fitness goal
Great so you’ve made the first step. Enough is enough, it’s about time you start that diet again. That curry last night was disgusting and you need to lose that stone before the wedding in October.
Every new year we set ourselves some lofty goals. “I want to lose a stone, go travelling, learn Spanish and quit drinking" all within the next week.
Mid July and the same voice in your head rings. “I need to go to the gym”.
The beaches in Marbella are a distant memory. “Hola” and “Gracias” are the smartest words we can come up with when talking to the locals.
"Monday is the start that’s it"............
Or is it??? Did you know on average less than 10% of us ever achieve our New Years Resolutions, Why is this?
Well, Behaviour change is extremely difficult in adults. It requires tremendous effort and discipline. It takes 8-24 tries before people actually give up smoking for good. That moment when you have that surge of motivation to go to the gym and drop that weight is only temporary
It may last a week, a month or even a year but eventually motivation empties and excuses become abundant. “work is too busy” “I’m too tired” “I’ll start again on Monday”. Until eventually, we give up.
If you're sick of setting fitness goals and never reaching any, then these articles are for you. In this three part series I’ll lay out the steps so you can reach those goals and stick to your plans.
Step 1 Set Your Goal
So step one is to actually set our goal. If we have our goal in mind, we initiate our focus towards what we want to achieve. We all tend to have a rough idea of what goals we have in the future. This is a start, it will give us that initial motivation to get the ball rolling.
Now remember over 90% of us fail to achieve our resolutions. So only setting a goal is about as useful as expecting your dog to walk properly around a tree when they are on their lead. It just doesn’t happen!
To make that lasting change, we can start by looking at Viktor Frankl. A Jewish psychotherapist who survived 3 years in a Nazi concentration camp. Now we are not here to discuss what happened in these concentration camps, there’s been much written the past 50+ years.
Despite all the suffering in the camps, there was something very interesting that Frankl found. Those who gave up hope quickly died within the camps. Those who found meaning however, in why they were in the situation fared so much better. Frankl himself discussed how the idea of seeing his wife again despite being tortured, kept him going.
“He who has a why to live for, can bear any how”- Fredrich Nietzsche.
Very deep I know, considering that you only want to lose that stone for the wedding!! The point is not motivate you completely overhaul your life after reading one quote. Instead the idea is to show you the importance of having your why.
Step 2: Finding your Why
Take it in for a moment. People have survived concentration camps being starved! beaten within inches of their lives! Waking up every morning not knowing whether it would be their last day. They done this by having a purpose. Their “Why”.
If regular people can suffer through so much hardship and still come through the otherside then I think it's safe to say, it is within us to go to the gym for 1 hour a day or slowly switch out the junk food for healthier options.
The 5 Why test.
So once you have your goal it is important to place meaning to it. From here we find our own why to our fitness goals.
This might seem silly but a great way to find your why is the 5 why test. Made popular in the business world and also highly regarded by fitness experts Precision Nutrition. By asking yourself why 3-5 times with any problem or goal, you can get to the its absolute root.
So you have your goal of wanting to lose weight. Now is the time to ask yourself why it really matters to you. Here’s the following example of Jack who has decided he wants to lose two stone for an upcoming wedding.
Here’s how this Jack's 5 why test might look.
1) “I want to lose weight”. Okay and why is that?-
- “Because I want to look good for the wedding”
2) Okay and why do you want to do that? -
- Because every body else will be looking great while I'll be there worrying whether my slacks are going to burst!
3) Okay and why is that important to you?
- Because if I don’t look my best I won’t be able to enjoy myself.
4) Okay and why is that important for you?
-Well if I can’t enjoy myself then I won’t have the confidence to do anything.
5) And why is being confident important for you?
- Well just because I want to feel healthier and better about myself. I'm supposed to be a role model for my kids and here I am barely able to walk up the stairs without getting my breath.
From the beginning you have a simple goal of just wanting to lose some weight for a wedding. Nothing too deep. When you drill down you find the true reason. In this example confidence and the ability to look after Jack's kids is the key issue behind wanting to lose weight.
The whole idea is to drill down enough why’s until you’ve nothing left to say except “because”. Then you have your why.
By setting your why, you give yourself focus to get started with that fitness goal. The power of your why can’t be understated. This will help guide you when you have those tough decisions to make regarding your diet.
It will also help you in times when motivation is lacking. When the weekend comes and the husband has already ordered a Chinese. You'll refer to your why when you decide to skip it or cut portions right down. It’s times like these where your why can keep you on the right track.
Sadly, your Why is not the magic bullet unfortunately. It’s important to get you started on your goal. It may make you join the gym, or hire that personal trainer. It may make you do that full shop of the healthy food for the week. It may even get you through those weekends where willpower is tested.
Knowing why is not enough.
Not dying is usually a pretty strong why for most people. However how many people get health scares from their doctors and continue living the same way. How many people go back to old habits like smoking even after they've had a health scare regarding their lungs?
There are full careers for psychologists devoted to helping people who have heart attacks who STILL carry on living the same way.
Achieving our goals is not as simple as telling yourself you want something and just doing it. It involves changing our behaviour. If it was easy then we would all be fit, sexy millionaires and wouldn’t need to search for help.
“Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it”.- Lao Tzu.
The goal of this part is to get you started. You most likely have some goal in mind. Your job now is to find out why it’s important to you. Article two will nail into the specifics of creating plans to achieve our goals.
“Know what you want, Clarity is power and vague goals promote vague results”- Robin Sharma.
If you like articles where I discuss ways to actually lose weight and stick to fitness plans then you'll love my article on habits and ego depletion after work . I would love to hear your guys opinions. Reach out to me on Facebook or email