“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe” – Abraham Lincoln.
I like wise quotes in general and I like this one in particular, because it reminds me of the importance of planning and preparation. Successful people in all areas of life tend to be very clear on the following items: what they want to achieve, when they’re going to achieve it, and what they need to do to make it happen. Then they take action and make it happen.
Now the problem with this for many people is that it requires a bit of thought, and to throw in just one last quote (for this week!) :“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think” (Thomas Edison),
What I’d like you to do over the next day or two, is to think about how you would look, feel and behave if you had the best health, energy levels and body shape that you can possibly imagine. And while you’re at it, let’s skip the mediocrity of settling for “losing a few pounds”, “toning up” or “being able to keep up with the kids.”
They are all very commendable, short term goals but why limit yourself to them? What I’m hoping to encourage you to do is to imagine yourself as the finished article, having abundant physical and mental health and vitality. And, Buns of Steel, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Over the course of the next number of weeks I’m going to give you the various training, nutrition, motivation and lifestyle techniques that work for me personally, and have achieved success for hundreds of clients that I’ve worked with over the last twelve years. Every recommendation I give you will be very simple but it won’t necessarily be easy. This will not be a “Drop a Dress Size in 5 Hours/ Get a Six Pack in just 25 Seconds a Day” type of programme. Unfortunately the body doesn’t work like that. I really wish it did because it would save me a lot of time.
In order for you to achieve your best health, fitness and body shape, you’re going to have to do a bit of hard work and be more self disciplined.
But I can guarantee you that the rewards far outweigh the effort.
Your Homework for next week is in two parts. The first part is to let your imagination run riot: if somebody was to wave a magic wand, how good could you look, how much energy would you have, and what great feats of strength, fitness and endurance could you achieve? Remember, we’re talking about you at your absolute best: this is your ideal, long-term goal.
The second part is going to bring you back down to earth and make you focus on a short-term goal. What we’re looking to do here is improve your current health and fitness and move you one step closer to the ideal.
To help you to do that, it’ll work best if you word your goal, using the following criteria:
Make it Specific: What exactly do you want to improve? Is it your waistline, body-fat levels, dress-size, cholesterol levels, scale weight?
Make it Measureable: For your short term goal I’d like you to pick something where improvement can be measured in kilos, centimetres, percentage points or even dress size. When you reach this goal, you will undoubtedly feel better or happier, but these feelings can’t be measured accurately so avoid having feelings as the primary goal.
Make it Action-Based: Your goal will require you to work to achieve it! This goal needs to be under your control and not dependent on the actions of others or external circumstances.
Make it Realistic: It’s realistic to drop a dress size in a month or between 2 and 4% body fat over the same time.
Make it Time-based: Your goal needs a Deadline. By introducing a deadline, you will give yourself a sense of urgency and also increase motivation levels. Give yourself 6-8 weeks to start off with.
Consider the next few days of imagining your ideal self and deciding on a short-term goal as the Sharpening the Axe phase. Next week we start chopping wood!