“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something” (Randy Pausch)
When I ask my clients to write down at least one fitness goal, they do so quickly, confidently and enthusiastically. When it comes to execution however, they are overcome with doubt and uncertainty. Fear takes over and they start to regret setting such a seemingly unattainable goal in the first place. It is much more comfortable to let go of a dream rather than put forth the mental, emotional and physical effort it takes to achieve it.
Here are 10 strategies I use for myself and my clients for successfully reaching any fitness goal:
1. Change your self-talk
That voice that continually creeps up, trying to convince you that you aren’t worth it or that you are incapable of achieving your goal needs to be silenced. Replace it with a gentler, empowering voice that confidently whispers “you can and you will do this.” You are worthy of success.
2. Find your motivation
Think about all the reasons you want to achieve this goal. Do you want to heal after a broken heart? Do you want to feel strong or capable? Are you wanting to cross something off your bucket list? Whatever the reason, keep it in the forefront of your mind and remember it during those times of doubt that will inevitably arise
3. Write down clear mini goals
It can be overwhelming when you focus on the “big” goal. Breaking that goal down into smaller goals with clear steps will allow you to instead focus on those mini accomplishments. Rather than feeling a sense of defeat and uncertainty, you will feel pride and satisfaction through your journey.
4. Create a vision board
Having a visual reminder in plain sight is a great way to reinforce your motivation. Hang up a poster with inspirational photos or quotes in your gym, insert a motivational picture on the background of your computer, or create an online vision board. Surround yourself with images of your goal and you will be less likely to quit.
5. Focus on the benefits
Don’t complain about your workouts or look at them in a negative light. Instead, do them, appreciate them, and be thankful for the benefits you are receiving not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well. Relish in the joy you feel when you perform better than your last workout. Hold on to the pride you experience after running a quicker pace than you ran last week. Notice how much stronger you are getting, how better able you are to deal with stress, the abundance of energy you have through the day. Grab on to those moments and focus on them.
Don’t focus on setting goals with the idea of punishing your body (I ate too much pasta for dinner last night, so I better spend 2 hours on the treadmill today). Keep your focus on honouring your body and appreciating it for what it is capable of. Set goals as a way to celebrate your body and its ability to rise to your expectations
7. Focus on how far you’ve come not how far you have to go
If you continue to focus on the road ahead, you will be missing the beauty and quality of the journey you have already traveled and are currently on. Keeping a journal or fitness log of every workout you have done allows you to go back and see the progress you have made. Find pride in that.
8. Find your mantra
Mantras are a great focal point for your energy and provides power behind your desires. Some of my favourites include “if you want it prove it,” “tell me I can’t and I’ll show you I can,” and “she believed she could, so she did.” Find one that resonates with you.
9. Share your goal
When you set a goal, you will be much more successful if you garner the support of those around you. By sharing your goal with friends, family, or an online community, you are giving power to that goal and holding yourself accountable.
10. Make no excuses
Instead of saying “I’m too tired” or “I don’t have enough time today,” try saying instead “this just isn’t a priority for me.” It’s true, if you make something a priority, you will find a way to achieve it regardless of the obstacles in your way. Don’t give excuses any room or power in your life , just do what needs to be done.