If you’re on your way to becoming a ‘Former-Fattie’ but still not there yet or are about to begin your journey this is the first step. It’s a make or break step, no halfway on this.
Make a choice between the life you want and the excuses you’ve made for not already having it.
If you make ANY excuse good enough, you will fail. Making an excuse for your current situation does just one thing. It creates the illusion that the problem is out of your hands. It wasn’t your doing, it was external factors. If you believe this you will fail at any goal you haven’t reached. Once you take full responsibility for where you and your life are it puts you behind the steering wheel to direct yourself towards the person you’re working on being and the power to become that person.
“I don’t have the genetics” (so what?)
“I’m too busy, I can’t find the time.” (we’re all busy, shut up)
“My kids take up all my time.” (I’ve trained too many parents over the years to accept that)
“I’m under too much stress.” (Isn’t it a good time to do something for yourself?)
“I’m too tired.” (exercise gives you energy, ‘Dancing with the Stars’ doesn’t)
“I’m in a sad place right now.” (Crytown or Whineville? – do they not have a gym?)
If you give any of these excuses more value than your goal, the goal will fail.
Seriously, I get it. We’re all complex people. I swear I’m no different. Sometimes my inner child is on Ritalin, my feminine side has Attention Deficit Disorder and my masculine side has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I can’t walk past a mirror without getting into an argument!
Here’s the real truth though. When I was 297 pounds I had a lot of excuses for being that big. I could give you a slide show of my failures and life skills I didn’t possess and could have made a compelling argument for being a fatass. Except in the deepest recesses of my mind I knew it was all bullshit. That’s the reason I’ve never accepted my clients excuses; I made the same ones. When I stopped making them, things changed.
We love our excuses, we even nickname them ‘reasons’. They sound rational. But they’re rational LIES. Rationalization and excuses are like putting our intellect on crutches. Even if we don’t need them, we’ll get some attention for having them.
Accept the place find yourself in your life today is your own doing, for better or for worse. Only then can you put the hands on the wheel and direct yourself towards the future. Or you can keep your hands off the wheel and blame the world, karma, chaos theory, friends, family, spouses, work, kids, luck and see where that gets you.
One choice to change EVERYTHING: Choose between the person you want to be or the excuses you have for the person you don’t like being. One choice comes at the expense of the other.
There’s an old business adage that goes like this; “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This is the the embodiment of goal setting, whether it be fat loss, money management, work performance, right down to the overall quality of your life.
This is the element of goal setting that took the longest for myself to figure out, but I can say I am a master at it now. I’m organized to a fault and almost always have been. I have a workout journal that goes back to 2001 (1997-2000 was water damaged along the way). I can tell you how many workouts, kettlebell sessions, 10 Km runs I’ve done, how well I’ve eaten, my weekly bodyfat percentage and how my life experiences has affected my health positively or negatively in the last 11 years. Its almost like a diary, I’ve always written down whats gone on in my life each month in my workout journal.
You may likely say “How anal, so OCD!” You’re probably right, but here’s the trick: I have never spent more than 30 seconds a day recording it. Those 30 seconds continually pay off for me. I know EXACTLY what the standard is to see improvements in my health, leanness and overall quality of life. I never have to guess and never have to make a resolution or resort to a fucking ‘cleanse’ (you bet thats gonna be on the top 10 list!). That workout journal is a map, I’m still working towards the destination. What I can tell you is at the age of 40 I’m physically stronger, leaner and more fit than in my 20’s and 30’s. Here’s another side-benefit, I’ve NEVER wished to be younger as a result. I truly believe I’m still getting better in every facet of my life and my best days are still ahead of me. I have the numbers to prove it.
Yet the map is useless with no destination in mind. So if you’ve set a ‘resolution’ for 2012, instead change it to a goal and add the following to it.
#1. WHY? – Why is this important to you? What are the rewards? Why is this worth the physical and mental discomfort you’re about to go through? (all change requires a period of discomfort) What are the consequences of NOT accomplishing the goal?
#2. HOW? – Create a map to get to your pre-destined goal. You’ll change it along the way, so pencils are better than pens here. BTW – write down the mistakes!!!! As far as knowledge and self-awareness mistakes are as valuble as gold.
#3. WHEN? – Like I said last week, take a look at your life and the 168 hours in each week (51 weeks left in 2012!). How much free time do you have and what part of each day can you commit to the goal? Can you find time to get to your workouts (including a commute)- lunch breaks? before or after work? weekends? When will you find the time to buy & cook the healthy food you plan to help you achieve the goal?
#4. WHERE? At the gym? train at home? at your workplace gym? outside?
Now that you know exactly what the goal is and you have the focus to go after that goal its time for step 5 (Steps 1-4 are here).
Step 5 – Clear the clutter! To make change easier we need to remove the obstacles from your life to prevent distractions & excuses. I’m a minimalist by nature, in fact my weekend project is selling a lot of old items on Ebay. I’ve lived in my current place for two years now. Anything I haven’t used or even looked at since moving in is being sold on Ebay. I find clutter distracting, a good cleanup/overhaul makes me feel organized and focused on the tasks ahead, instead of all the things “I should get around to” or haven’t done. Its a reduction of distractions both in my home and in my head.
“Sure I’m on the road to ruin, only gonna ruin it just a little bit. Well, that’s the trouble with self-improvement, only I know when it’s time to quit.” — David Lee Roth “A Little Luck”
Step 6 – Learn from your mistakes. If this is the same goal as your 2011 resolution then you must have a different method to achieve that goal. The mere fact that you needed to set the goal again should tell you the previous method sucked. Too many go out every January to achieve the same goal, the same way and getting the same (lack of) result. Don’t be one of those people! If you want change you must change first!
(When I started writing this a couple of weeks ago I realized this was a series unto itself, hopefully this will serve as a weekly reminder of your goals as the month goes on – W.)
There seem to be two types of people at this time of year. Ones with New Years resolutions and ones who refuse to make them. I take issue with both (try not to be surprised;)
According to most statistics, the average resolution lasts about 10 days, leaving 355 days to wait until next year’s resolution. Resolutions are like vision boards (also not a fan and that will be a post unto itself). The biggest reason I’m not a fan? Both are merely destinations. There is no map or plan on how to reach those destinations. That is why they fail so often.
Here’s an example; If your resolution was to start 2012 by eating better, did you already go grocery shopping? If not, you may be screwed. Most grocery stores aren’t open on New Year’s Day. Its difficult to start a resolution by failing before you start. Getting groceries before Jan 1st was the map, the plan, the road to your destination. So many of us pack our bags for the destination and not at all for the travel.
The second group are the ‘rebels’; they don’t make resolutions at all. As I stated last week, are you truly comfortable with your life being exactly the same one year from now, with the exception of being one year older yourself? Not making resolutions at all is like driving for the next 365 days without steering, leaving 2012 up to random chaos & chance.
Those who make resolutions last about 10 days, and those who don’t get nowhere. Whats the solution? Who knows the true secret?
The goal setters. The goal setters say FUCK Resolutions! Goals setters make plans and get to the destination(s) in a series of steps. Yet very few of us know how to set goals. We often make too many goals, or they conflict with one another and we become overwhelmed and quit and go for drinks with the resolutioners.
I’ll tell you my plan, it works for me, it may work for you or in the very least help give you ideas.
Step 1: Do my own 2011 Annual Review. If I haven’t learned from my own mistakes & missteps, I’m likely to repeat them.
Step 2: There’s 168 hours in a week. I sit down and calculate how much time I have away from work/commuting/weekly responsibilities. Thats how much time I have to work on my goals . This excludes tv watching & other time wasters. No diatribe about the evils of tv, internet, angry birds or whatever – Either your goals or important to you or not. On weekdays I have about 4 non-consecutive hours per day to spend on what I want to spend them on.
Step 3: Make a list of my goals.
I use Zig Ziglar’s ‘Wheel of Life’. For the most part I have a few different goals each year and I divide them up using the wheel. The 2nd part, and most important, is seeing if any of these goals conflict with each other. For example if I decide with my 4 hours of free time I’m going to hit the gym five days a week, do 30 minutes of cardio every day, go back to school and take 3 classes while writing the first draft of my book and doubling my client base, I’m going to run into problems very soon. What I do is prioritize my goals. This step also gives great insight into ourselves as well. It was the wheel that showed me how often I set aside my social goals for my own financial, physical, career & intellectual goals. Every few months I go over my own wheel, conduct a review and reassess my priorities, looking for unexpected obstacles or faults in the plan. As the year progresses the priority or each goal may change too.
Step 4: Execution. On January 1st, I set aside all my 2011 paperwork, go over my 2011 Annual Review, put up my 2012 Ice-O-Topes Calendar, do my own bodyfat measurements, monthly physique photos and spend the day planning my attack for 2012… after the 9 Km run I had already planned.
We’re two days away from Christmas and have just nine days left in 2011. How do you you feel about the last 356 days? Was is a good year, a bad one or did it merely slip away?
Since Christmas is so close you likely don’t have a lot of time for blog reading, so lets plant a seed for next week instead (Tip #3 – FUCK Resolutions!)
Chris Guillebeau, author of ‘The Art of Non-Conformity’ has a concept of Annual Reviews. Before you begin to plan and dream of 2012 we must look back to 2011 and review what went right, wrong, or completely off the grid. I love the concept and you can read more about it here
Now, as the cliché goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there!” Meaning if you don’t make resolutions fine, if you don’t set goals or plan to captain your own ship for the next 365 days are you truly comfortable with your life being exactly as it is now, except with you being one year older?
Over the next week, do your own Annual Review – Can you even remember your 2011 resolution? Give these questions some thought over the next nine days, they will heavily influence the plans for the next 365.
What went well this year? What didn’t? WHY?
If you could give 2011 a name or theme 2011 would be “The year of the …”?
I highly recommend this exercise as it creates significant clarity and renewed focus going into 2012. This doesn’t have to be a marathon project but do give yourself the full week after Christmas, carry a piece of paper with you and make notes as the come to you. You’ll be amazed how doing so brings this project to ‘Top of Mind’. I’ve been doing it the last week and as a result came up with the new title of my book!
For even more information and concepts click here.
When people ask me about getting started, they always ask, ‘What motivated you? What was the inspiration to begin?” I don’t believe in inspiration, motivation or some grand epiphany to begin whats important to you. Epiphanies are an illusion and you’ve likely been waiting too long for yours to show up. I can honestly say in the beginning there really wasn’t any. One day I just came home from work and tried to go out for a run. Here’s what happened.
To be honest, I had no false hope of losing all that fat. I had never heard of anyone doing losing one hundred pounds before. Remember this was before reality shows, “Body-for-Life” , ‘The Biggest Loser” and even the Internet. I waited until dark, put on my dark shorts and an old hockey jersey then I went down my stairs, headed outside and turned for the back roads so no one could watch the fat guy trying to get back in shape. It lasted one block. My heart raced, my blood turned acidic and in less than 30 seconds my body was rejecting whatever I had eaten before I went out the door. I was locked into the hunched over position I was in, forced to look at my puke and spit on the ground before me. I knew it at that moment; I had let myself go too far. Everything in my head told me to go back on that couch with the potato chips hidden underneath and give up. Fortunately, my body was in no condition to move yet. I was now forced to take stock of what I had done to myself, no choice anymore. Something happened in those five minutes that changed everything. I thought up every excuse to quit, believing every one of them. Something in my head said “Go one more block tomorrow, and do the same every day, until you can run a marathon”. I’m not a religious man whatsoever & I don’t believe it was the voice of God. I also know it wasn’t my voice either. Over the years I’ve come to realize it was the first time I heard the voice of man I wanted to be actually speak on my behalf. I did go out and run two blocks the next day, and yeah it hurt even more.
I know what you’re thinking; “But you DID have an epiphany right there! When that voice spoke to you!!!” Its true, it was a significant moment in my life and I did indeed run that marathon 120 pounds lighter than I was that first day. here’s the part you may have skimmed over. I went for that run BEFORE I had the ‘grand epiphany’. Like I said last week about earning your moderation back, I believe the motivation/inspiration/epiphany/insight will not reveal itself until you begin without it.
We see inspiring quotes on Facebook every day, inspiring YouTube videos, motivational movies, people get inspired by ‘The Biggest Loser’ on a week basis! We are overwhelmed with inspiration every day! Inspiration is emotional Chinese food. We’ve overcome and fulfilled in the moment, but hungry for more 30 minutes later.
You may argue this (I’m used to it) yet only you can give inspiration substance. The hard question is this; What did these moments inpire you to do? If you sit weeping at the Biggest Loser every week instead of getting off your own ass (Seriously you would rather watch people being weighed on tv instead of burning your own fat, really???) If these inspiring moments did not wake you into action, then you’re not really inspired are you?
Stop waiting for some great insight some single quote or video that will give you that final piece of the puzzle to change your life. Motivation is not coming for you. Its waiting for you.
“First you jump off the cliff and you build your wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury
These days the health, diet & fitness fields have all the substance of the fashion industry. The same trends, celebrity endorsements and television talking-airheads over-saturate, then obscure the truth of what we really want from ourselves and our lives. As a result all “Common Knowledge” gets diced into quick, easy and meaningless sound bites. My least favorite?
“Everything in moderation.”
If you have a goal, if you have a dream of yourself and what you want from your life, the slowest yet most effective way to kill that vision is with moderation.
Moderation isn’t uncomfortable. That’s why it fails.
We focus on fat loss on our blog, but whether your goal is fat loss, financial fitness, career change or other significant life-changing decisions, the truth is this: You need to make big changes in yourself if you want to see big changes in your life!
Moderation is medium, mediocre, mundane & mellow. Its also useless, unless you want lukewarm results. ‘Everything in moderation’ as advice is horrible for one simple reason. Its not user-friendly: you can’t make a plan around it. It implies a ‘wing-it’ approach, ‘do what you feel, when you feel’.
Here’s why moderation as common-knowledge is so popular. Its based in logic. Its up there with ‘setting ‘realistic goals’ (yes, ‘FUCK Realistic Goals’ will be on the Top-10 list). Goals and dreams do not become reality without an emotional attachment assigned to them. Our emotions trump logic every time. Here’s some examples.
LOGIC: You’ll live longer if you exercise more. You’ll reduce your risk of heart attack if you eat better.
EMOTIONAL: ‘This is not who I thought I was going to be when I grew up.” “I hate feeling this way about myself everyday.” ” I hate that I feel things shaking on the dance floor that shouldn’t. I used to love to dance, now I only think about people looking at me.” “I’m tired of being alone.”
Yes the logical reasons are indeed true and valid, but in my 15 year history of working with people whose goal was to lose fat and change their lives; it was the emotional reasons that was the fire that set them free. Large goals need passion to get you through them. The original definition of passion is ‘to suffer’. Large goals, significant changes require suffering, even if the only suffering is letting go of the bad habits that contributed to your pain in the first place. Doing so by moderation takes so long the goal becomes overwhelming or worse, lost and forgotten.
Having said that, moderation isn’t to be abandoned completely; instead I say this.
Suspend Moderation During Transformation.
While working towards a goal engage in it completely. Give it all your focus and commitment. Then once you’ve completed the goal, re-introduce moderation back into your life. Trust me, it will be a different moderation than you’re practicing right now. Instead of using moderation to help achieve a goal, use the goal to earn your moderation back.