Attaining a physique comparable to a Greek God is brutally tough. Although it comes easier to some due to genetics, or age, it is hard work no matter who you are. For most, it requires dedication and discipline over a long period of time to see noticeable, lasting results. Yet, I see it happen all the time. However, I see people fall short- all the time. What is it that causes some to succeed, and many to fail? When I meet with clients for the first time, we talk about goals.
The most common answer, usually delivered with some hesitancy: “Well, I want to tone up, gain a little muscle, and burn a lot of fat. My overall fat loss goal is about 30 pounds, and I want to try to get it done in 6 months.”
“Perfect”, I reply. “When it comes to achieving this goal, how motivated on a scale of 1-10 are you to get to this point?”
“I’m about 6.5-7”. This being the most common answer, I let them know that 6.5-7 on the motivation scale means that we will not have to worry about them showing up on a consistent basis (3-5 times per week). “Only 3-5 times per week? That’s all I have to do? I was thinking 5-6 times per week would be no problem! I got this!” Long term goal set!!
So why do many of these people last 2 weeks, then fall off the face of the earth? I will tell you why. They have failed to set and follow Behavior goals. The thought of having a long term goal is motivating, and gives our members a road map and compass to track progress and make course changes when necessary to diet and exercise volume. However, the most important goals to set are behavior goals. Behavior goals are also referred to as daily goals. Some examples would be:
- Did you do something physically active today?
- Did you eat 5-8 servings of vegetables today?
- Did you get through the day without any processed foods or sweets?
- When you worked out today did you set any personal records?
- Did you expend ALL of your energy during your workout today?
- Did you drink an adequate amount of water?
- Have you consumed enough lean protein to support muscle growth?
It is these behavior goals that must be the focus of your day, every day. You don’t have to be perfect. If you miss one or two of your goals on a certain day, make sure you hit 4-5 of the others!
Along with behavior goals, it is always good to set performance goals. Performance goals give you another reason to hit the gym with consistency. Examples of good performance goals are:
- Climbing the Manitou Springs Incline
- Run all the stairs at Red Rocks
- Hiking a 14er
- Running a 5K
- Running a ½ marathon
- Finishing a triathlon
Something like hanging a picture of your performance goal/feat somewhere in your home, or office where you can look at it every day is a great way to help keep you motivated!
My sister recently completed an ironman, and during her training, dropped over 60 lbs of fat. Her ultimate goals was not to lose weight (although she realized it was important), but was to complete an ironman. Weight loss was a great side effect of her training! Three years ago, she was living a totally sedentary life and unhappy on many levels. Today, Lisa is a new person. She is very happy, and is a physical specimen. Another great aspect of a performance goal is that it switches your thought process about food from eating minimal calories in order to lose weight, to eating enough healthy calories to support your training. Athletes eat to perform. This is the key to long-term success.
So do yourself a favor, and set a good long term goal. Shoot for the moon, and don’t hold back. After you have set the long term goal, set those behavior goals, and take it one day at a time. When you hit the gym, hit it like Ali hit Frazier. Leave a small reservoir on the floor by the time you’re finished, and focus on how much stronger and healthy your body is getting due to the nutrient dense foods you are feeding it every single day. Continue to build on your momentum, and develop habits that will keep you healthy for the rest of your life!