Recently, I’ve really embraced the fact that I love writing. However, I don’t get psyched writing about fitness. It just doesn’t do it for me. I do not feel that macro counting and squats are compelling topics. They don’t spark a lot within me and I’m a personal trainer, so go figure. I think that’s why it has taken me so long to embrace blogging on my website because I’ve always felt the industry pressure to deliver content that people search for on google like fit tips, weight loss, workout plans etc. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love fitness and I love teaching fitness to others, but it has become so mundane that it doesn’t ignite a lot of passion within me and I am a person who is driven by passion. What does turn me on is the head game associated with the gym. I love the psychology behind fitness habits, now that shit gets me excited. My personal fitness philosophy is that your relationship with fitness is indicative of your relationship with yourself. It’s personal. That’s why people get so bent out of shape if they feel that someone is criticizing their workout or food habits. That being said, you can always count on me to deliver real talk about fitness but its not going to be low calorie recipes or the world’s best, body weight workouts. Sorry, but I write to influence your brain and make you question yourself and why you are doing what you’re doing. If you want regurgitated fitspo, don’t come knocking on my door, that doesn’t exist here.
So, lets talk brain, not braun.
Someone messaged me via instagram the other day and asked for fitness advice. They wanted to know how they can get more motivated to workout HARD EVERYDAY. My response was simple- “take the word HARD out of your internal dialogue”. Now, write or state your new goal without that impossible word in there:Workout every day.
Has a much more tangible vibe to it, doesn’t it? I Would actually go as far as saying they should remove the ‘everyday’ part as well: workout.
Damn, that really takes the pressure off.
Goal setting is the number one place I see my clients go wrong. It is blatantly clear that they are setting impossible standards for themselves and wrapping it up in the beautiful packaging of fitness goal setting. Let me tell you, as a coach who helps people set and reach goals for a living, I can confidently say that most people are going about it all wrong because most people are just simply too close to their own situation to see the journey clearly. Also, and almost more importantly, along with goals, people usually attach an unrealistic expectation as well.
Look, I get it. We live in a world where lofty goal setting is applauded. Nobody looks down their nose and scoffs at the mom trying to train for a marathon or the guy that wants to workout everyday to have a huge chest and shoulders. That shows discipline right? Who wouldn’t want to have their drive and tenacity? But the real question isn’t where do you want to go, but rather where are you now? So often, I see people “set a goal” (yes, I put that shit in quotes) that is far too advanced for where they are at today.
First rule of goal setting: You have to meet yourself where you’re at NOW or the goal isn’t really a goal, its a daydream. Goals need to be constantly tweaked. They should be revolving and changing to meet you where you’re at.
“Don’t wish it were easier, Wish you were better.”
Lets look at an example:
Jen is 42 years old, 30 lbs overweight and she’s hasn’t stepped foot in a gym in over 8 years. She used to do spin and aerobics here and there but was never really an avid gym goer. She never had weight issues until she hit her late thirties and she has been really discouraged. She saw an ad for one free month at LA fitness and she plans on working out hard everyday so she can loose weight and feel good about herself.
Jen tells her friends that she’s joining a gym and she’s going to GET IN THE BEST SHAPE OF HER LIFE.
Now, she’s 1 week in and she has only made it twice this week due to kids, work and traffic. She’s feeling discouraged because in her mind, she is already failing. She didn’t make it to the gym everyday, which was her goal. The picture she painted for herself in her mind, was a daily trip to the gym which should leave her feeling sore, effective and probably even seeing the scale drop.
So where did Jen go wrong?
Some might say that she doesn’t want it bad enough or that she’s making excuses and they might be right, but its so much more than that.
SHE SET THE WRONG GOAL.
Jen should have said to herself: “I am going to join a gym so I can become more active”. She’s sedentary now, she never goes to the gym. Had she set that goal to become MORE active, she would have accomplished it already in week one. She went to the gym twice. That is indeed MORE active than she was previously. Now, Jen believes that she is capable of accomplishing the goals that she sets for herself, now she is motivated to set more. So in the second week, maybe she decides to get more specific: “This week I am going to the gym three times”. She already had great success in week one attaining her goal, her chances of following through in week two are now much higher.
This might seem like common sense but its not. I deal with multiple variations of this scenario day in and day out. I talk to people about getting fit and loosing weight and getting control of their life. Ultimately, if you can’t control your weight, health or what you put in your mouth, you’re going to have a hard time feeling good about yourself- FACT. But people don’t see where their roadblocks really are so they tend to set overly intensive goals as a way to gain control.
Henry Ford said it best “whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right”. Being a Detroit girl, I love this quote by Ford. I even have a coffee mug with this quote emblazoned across it. I live and die by this quote and rely on it to get me through some real tough obstacles in my own life. Essentially, what ford is talking about is self efficacy, or confidence. Your personal belief in your ability to, or not to, accomplish something.
“Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
Have you ever made a to do list, and then you accomplished something extra that day not on your list? Then you write that task down on your list anyway and promptly put a check mark after it because it feels good? Ya, I do that too. That’s you giving yourself a pat on the back and feeling good about accomplishing something. You just boosted your confidence in your ability to get stuff done today.
What I’m suggesting is to stop packaging your desires for a better life inside of a brutal, copy & paste fitness goal setting rule book. Throw that shit out and do not be embarrassed to start small.
If you can’t say no to dessert because you have cravings that get the best of you, requesting a strict meal plan from your trainer isn’t going to make your cravings go away. It’s going to set you up to feel even more restricted. Choosing more challenging goals, when you’re already struggling is why people start a fitness journey only to derail and self sabotage 3 weeks later.
I always work with my clients on getting to the root cause of their dissatisfaction with themselves. If I have a client that isn’t getting the results they want and they come into their session with a new, intense goal, I press them to answer the question: “Why?” The reason WHY is so important in goal setting. If your desired outcome isn’t inline with your goal, you’re going to fail. I always use the analogy of a marathon because I hear this goal too often. People literally want to enter races ALL OF THE TIME. Clients who are overweight and not losing weight, people who are miserable in their lives or those who are stagnant and not following their prescribed fitness plan that I have laid out for them. Most importantly, the second people become unmotivated, they always want to bounce back with THE MOST IMPOSSIBLE GOAL and it floors me every time.
So look, here is what I’m saying- you can run a marathon if you want to. But, if your reason, your WHY, is that you really really want to lose weight and you just can’t get motivated to do what it takes to lose the weight, then before you go sign up for that damn race, follow this simple exercise:
(get out a piece of paper)
- Write down your WHY.
( To get serious and lose weight)
2. List 3-5 things that you do or don’t do that are preventing you from accomplishing that WHY.
(I skip workouts, drink wine every night and slack on meal prep.)
3. Pick one of the answers to question number two and give me two solutions to that specific problem.
a. I prioritize work over myself.
b. I am not motivated at the end of my work day and I want to be home with my husband and kids.)
4. Provide one solution to each above obstacle.
(a. Set boundaries with the amount of work that I do above and beyond my job duties and expectations of my boss.
b. Workout in the morning before work so life doesn’t get in the way of my personal goals.)
5. Choose one of the actions listed in number 4 that you can commit to changing and work on that for two weeks.
6. Keep re-working this step by step solution model until you get to the point where you are feeling confident in your ability to achieve fitness goals in general. Then reevaluate your original goal: do you still want to run the marathon?
If the answer is still yes, then HELL YA!! Go for it, girl, get that damn medal and free race day shirt. Now you can feel confident in your ability to go out and achieve whatever you put your mind to. Especially a marathon training program. Your self efficacy is high and you have learned how to self advocate which is going to really make your marathon training experience much smoother.
So, what I am saying is, skip the narrative that your goals need to be jaw dropping to be worthy. You’re worthy. No matter how small the goal. And all of the little, smaller goals along the way carry just as much importance. The journey is yours, nobody else. Choose goals that set you up for success. Oh, and If you’re not feeling motivated, look within. Get your validation from yourself, not the nincompoops on instagram. They don’t know shit and they took that selfie 20 times before they edited it and posted it. Just sayin.
In good health,
Detroit born and my goal setting is as solid as general motors, BAM!!