Setting Yourself up for Success

The best laid plans can go awry. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years so here are some of my favorites.

If you are just starting out, hire a coach. The accountability factor is huge. Yes, you’re paying this person (usually, I train my mother for free, doesn’t mean she listens to me, all the time,….she’s my Mom!), but they’re vested in your goals and helping you achieve them. However, they are NOT going to do things for you. They’ll guide you, check in on you….and the best coaches, will teaching you to stand on your own two feet. Yes, that’s nutritional coaches or personal trainers and even your business coaches. For my clients, I run a year long Personal Enrichment Program – we pick out their yearly goals and work on them all year long as a team (usually a team of 10 or so).

Another method to help you succeed, enlist a friend to join you on your quest. When I’d gotten out of the habit of going to the gym, I recruited one of the other Mom’s in the neighborhood. We’d put the kids on the bus and head directly to the gym. It took a few months, but I’d even go when she had to head into work or school to volunteer for the day. I’d started making friends at the gym, ones who would give me grief (and still do) if I miss a day.

I’ve seen a number of people decide they were going to do a bodybuilding show or run a 5/10K to give them a goal to focus on rather than just a number on the scale. Participating in these types of events keep you accountable each and every day.

Make it Public! Whatever your goals are, make them public. If you keep them secret, it’s so much easier to fool only yourself. Tell your family, tell your friends, heck, tell FaceBook and Twitter. People love reading about your successes and it’s such a great feeling when you get a “grats” or “job well done”. Plus, you’ll find an amazing amount of people who have the same goal you’re working on. These people can help keep you accountable and focused as well.

Create a plan. My daily workouts go on my day planner and into Google Calendar. I do not deviate from my schedule unless absolutely necessary. Yes, it means I’m up late at night working on books, planning or projects, but I’d rather train in the morning and jump start my energy levels. I also use my calendars to track exactly what I worked on at the gym or martial arts class so I can see my progress at the end of the week/month/year. When I’m trying to lean down, I use this same calendar to track my meals and water intake. I have found that I do better with things written down rather than using an app to track. Other people have much better success at using web-based or smart phone apps.

My favorite smart phone/iPad app for tracking nutrition, at the moment is Calorie Counter. I don’t use it to its fullest capacity, but it’s kind of fun to watch my Mother, who’s just gotten her first smartphone, tap away entering calories and exercises. It’s keeping her accountable! I love it for the Restaurant feature. I can check out which meals are REALLY bad for me. Somehow, I’m always surprised at the results.

Since I like writing things down, and I do teach, I created a year long journal for my clients and students to use. For my martial arts students, I created ‘focus’ – it allows them to track their martial arts goals. For my PEP team, I created ‘achieve’ so they could focus on their goals and keep track of them….plus I added in a few challenges to stimulate their thoughts while they were working on their goals.

DO NOT step on the SCALE every day, unless you are bodybuilding or trying to determine how your body reacts to certain meals. I’m assuming that most of you reading this eBook are trying to reset your nutritional habits, and that usually means, weight loss. So, weigh yourself. Once a week. And then, let it go. Focus on doing what you need to do. Watching the numbers on the scale can and does make us neurotic. I can be just as bad as anyone else. I’m horrible about it, so I know, I’m telling you not to do it, and every one of you is going to do it anyway and freak out over the numbers. Relax, you’re human, and you’re you. Go back, look at what you did the day before, what you ate, did you workout, were you stressed out? All of those items and more are going to play into your weight. Drink more water!

Another key, make sure you’re getting enough sleep for your body. I used to need 8 hours of sleep, now, my body is much happier with about 7, but I can function for days on less, but it will catch up with me either on the scale or the circles under my eyes.

There is also a method of cycling your sleep, polyphasic sleep, so you can take naps six times a day for 20-30 minutes at a time. On this schedule, you’re only sleep 2-3 hours per day. People claim everything from feeling more energetic, getting more done to the flip side of it not working at all, constantly hungry (because they’re up more hours), and inflexibility because you must maintain a specific schedule for this system to work. I haven’t tried this method, but I do know 20-minute power naps are great to reenergize and refuel. I’m not sure how this will affect your weight and nutrition, but wanted to put it out there in case some of you wanted to follow up with more research.

In summary:

  1. Hire a coach
  2. Enlist a friend
  3. Set some goals
  4. Make it public
  5. Create a plan
  6. Get enough sleep
  7. Drink water!

As I said before, these are just a few of my favorite ways to help myself achieve my goals. If you’d like to share some of your own, comment below and let us know!

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