The Body you Want - Goals
The body you want is within reach.
Achieving it is not as hard as you might like to think.
Your success will not be based on your current financial or social status, intelligence, ability to make your own schedule, and most certainly not dependent on your genetics. After 17 years in this business, I have witnessed many clients overcome all of the aforementioned perceived obstacles as well as less than favourable genetic underpinnings.
It is however, dependent on clearly defining your goals and fostering the right mindset to power you through your personal body transformation.
I am going to provide you with Seven Simple Steps that will help you overcome the obstacles you will inevitably encounter and fast-track your success.
Step 1. Define the Goal, Set the Target
Put simply, you must first define your goal: an actionable, measurable goal.
Then, you must also set a target deadline.
The goal must be within your control. The target deadline must be reasonable enough to permit time, and unreasonable enough to spur you into action.
The goal can be a metric used to assess your progress and the target is a time-sensitive, compelling deadline.
I want “X” and I want to achieve it by “Y.”
I want to hit 170 pounds by the first day of 2012.
I want to deadlift 1.5 x my bodyweight 16 weeks from now.
Clearly defined and actionable with a specific deadline set.
Step 2. Write it Down
Once defined it’s time to commit your goals to paper!
The process of extracting clearly defined goals from the recesses of your mind, and moving through the physical process of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), is a powerful catalyst. In a way, it makes it real and attaches a sense of urgency to your goal.
Allow yourself the time to sit and brainstorm, commit thoughts and goals to paper and establish a game plan.
This is your opportunity to strategize your plan of attack.
Step 3. Your Vision
Imagery can be a very powerful motivator.
I recommend devoting a small corner of your office, kitchen or bathroom for the purpose of delivering images of where you are and where you want to go. We see only certain sides of ourselves day after day. And in fact, the image you see in the mirror is a mere reflection of you and not entirely accurate. I am not speaking literally here, although I could be. I am speaking about self-perception and our ability to bend reality.
I recommend all my clients take digital photos of themselves at 4-week intervals. I also recommend that these photos be kept in plain view. We all need reminders of where we are in life. We also need imagery to help power our actions toward the place we want to go and what we want to avoid. Fostering the ability to objectively look at ourselves give us the agency necessary to make goal and outcome-based decisions without succumbing to the emotional hooks such an exercise presents.
If you are a smoker, put images of blackened and burnt-out lungs anywhere you feel inclined to smoke.
If you are currently obese, place a photo of yourself on your refrigerator. I guarantee you will think twice at 02:00h when you feel compelled to raid the ice-box.
Place photos of a new bikini or vacation destination on your bathroom mirror.
All of this will help. You are on a mission and you need a clear vision of where you are starting and what it is you are trying to achieve.
Leverage the power of images to help fuel your desire. You want to suffuse your environment and thoughts with the very imagery you are attempting to actualise.
Step 4. Plan - Purchase - Prepare
This journey will most likely begin and conclude in your kitchen - a domain where achieving mastery is critical.
Every time you feed yourself is an opportunity to move closer to or further from your goal. Quite literally, every time you eat.
“What should I have for dinner?” is not a question you should be struggling with at eight o’clock the night of…
You must plan, purchase and prepare.
I recommend clients plan two meals ahead of time and purchase two days worth of fresh staples in order to prepare meals from a short-list menu of body composition appropriate choices.
Purchasing lockable, easily transportable, glass containers, or tiffin boxes, will go a long way in helping you be prepared while away from home.
Those committed to achieving the body they want have absolutely no excuse for finding themselves having to scavenge the sidewalk shops of their urban enclave for food. You will come up with a poor choice just about every time.
Should you find yourself in this position, you should have a database of healthy food establishments in your mind at all times. Burn an image of google maps into your cortex so you know exactly how far, in city blocks, you are from an appropriate eatery anywhere in your city.
I am quite serious about this. It ties directly into our most basic self-preservation systems.
“How far am I from clean water?”
“Its been 6 hours since the heard of elk passed, where are they now?”
“Is my personal stash of berries and nuts running low? Do I have enough to sustain me till I reach camp?”
It makes sense to presume these questions would have been on our ancestors minds at all times.
Step 5. Social Support
You cannot do this in isolation.
And in fact, it works in your favour to derive social support from your circle of influence.
Believe me, if you can get those closest to you to support your choices, your resolve will be strengthened. Although, your body and its state are the responsibility of you and you alone, you do not have to go it alone.
A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrates that online social support, via a website or forum-type web application, and in-person coaching are far superior to self-directed weight loss.
“In two behavioral interventions, one delivered with in-person support and the other delivered remotely, without face-to-face contact between participants and weight-loss coaches, obese patients achieved and sustained clinically significant weight loss over a period of 24 months.”—N Engl J Med 2011; 365:1959-1968November 24, 2011
So join an online forum, hire a coach, find a training partner or weight-loss group, or even create friendly challenges with your co-workers to improve workplace health and wellness. All of this can aid you in your quest.
Step 6. Declaration
This is going to be HARD, accept this step and make it easier on yourself.
I want you to make your intentions public. Tell people.
You are going to do this for a few reasons. You need to hold yourself accountable to those you respect. And you need to set the rules of engagement for those currently in your life.
In essence, you are saying: “this is how it’s going to be.” Body change requires lifestyle change. This means that those closest to you, meaning those in positions of influence, will need to know what you are trying to do. The onus will then be on them as to whether they are going to support you in your quest or not.
Do not blindside them. If you are part of a family, have a spouse, perhaps even with children, I don’t recommend going into the kitchen with a garbage bag and throwing out your partner’s favourite foods without warning. I do however, recommend having a discussion with those you share your space with. The more people you can enlist for your mission, the better.
Step 7. Sharpen the Mind
Be driven. Develop an absolutely indomitable will and iron-clad resolve.
A successful body transformation campaign is accomplished through redefining the relationship you have with your life. A path that, in nearly all cases, will have you run contrary to the grain of currently accepted mores.
Please understand that I am not advocating a life of asceticism. I am, however, suggesting you will have to make tough choices at tough times. This requires a resolute position in pursuit of your goal.
Leave the fleeting dietary indiscretions to those who fail to see the impact the immediacy of their actions has on their physical state. You will have to exercise forethought and foresight in the face of potential criticism during social gatherings.
Keep your goals and vision in mind at all times. A focused mind cannot be underestimated.
There you have it, Seven Simple Steps to setting and achieving your body composition goals.