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Friday
Jan302015

Episode 48 Fitness Behavior - Where's your crossover? 

This month I cover how certain areas of your life can add value or come a part of your life that is working against you. I have a look at the idea of a crossover point and if you have these in your life.

 

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Monday
Jan262015

How are your New Year’s resolutions going?

How are your New Year’s resolutions going? It’s been a few weeks since that particular time of year where we stop and think about our life and how we want to develop ourselves. If you thought about how you want to evolve in 2015 what were the areas that you felt needed some energy and focus? 

If you read any of the multitude of articles about ‘common New Year’s resolutions’ you may identify with some of these most popular goals: get organised, lose weight, spend less and save more, stay fit and healthy, learn something new, enjoy life more, spend more time with friends and family.

At the risk of putting a downer on this, it’s worth noting that the majority of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions within a very short period of time. I was reading a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology which stated that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution. It seems that setting these particular resolutions are a waste of time for the vast majority.

With this in mind, I ask the question - why is it that so many people are unsuccessful at this? Maybe a better question to ask is: If you are someone who has traditionally failed with your New Year’s resolutions why do you think you failed?

When we start to explore these types of questions we can learn where we have gone wrong in the past with setting up our development and how we can improve this process to give ourselves a better chance of succeeding in the growth we want.  One of the big reasons I think people are unsuccessful in sticking with and achieving their New Year’s resolutions is due to the time of year and the place that they are doing it. 

During the holiday season we are outside of our everyday routine and we suddenly have the luxury of time to think about our lives. This is often accompanied with a mind space that is less stressed and more relaxed and so we can approach these tougher questions with enthusiasm. This enthusiasm can be a problem because we can become over ambitious and plan without awareness of the hurdles we often face in our daily life.

The questions we explore within ourselves during the new year period are important ones to consider in our life, so the fact that for the majority of people no real action comes from them feels like a lost opportunity. These big questions are the ones that have the ability to help us see where we want and need to change. 

Taking this into consideration, I’m going to suggest a shiny new New Year’s resolution for you (for the 92% who don’t follow through). Instead of aiming for a dramatic outcome focused change why don’t you make it your goal to schedule a time once a week where you reflect on some of these harder questions that create awareness about yourself and lead to the change you want. If we think of a sports analogy, top athletes constantly review their performance in practice and in game play, by doing this they can make small adjustments to their actions which leads to continual improvement. If you commit to a time once a week where you looked at your current self and review where you could make small improvements do you think you would be sitting more inline with where you want to be by the end of this year? 

When creating a habit like this you want to make it enjoyable not a chore that seems like hard work. You could get up on a Sunday morning, put your favourite music on, make a hot drink and work through a process where you review your week and future think the next week. You are looking to create a highlight in your week so make sure you use everything you know about yourself and make it enjoyable. 

Ultimately, the change we aim for, often in our New Year’s resolutions, are important to us. We do think our lives could be better if we could create change in a certain area. So instead of being one of the 92% who never quite get there, try an approach like the one I suggest. Constantly review and refine your behaviours throughout the entire year, and maybe you’ll get to the end of the year in a better place within yourself.

 

This piece orginally appeared in The Press

 

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Wednesday
Jan142015

What would the expert think? 

What’s your area of expertise? Do you have an area in your life where you have a much higher level of understanding than most people in your world? You may be a leading thinker in your career, you may know a huge amount about your hobby, your area of expertise may even be knowing everything about the Kardashians. When people think of this particular area - they think of you. 

One of the benefits of being an expert in a particular area is that you can identify when people go wrong due to a lack of understanding and knowledge in this area. In my world, this is something that a lot of fitness professionals experience. When an experienced fitness professional sits down with someone who is motivated to exercise but lacks the understanding of how to be successful in implementing it into their life their expertise can see the faults in their clients thinking. Personal trainers have repetitive experiences when a new exerciser tells them that they are going to try and exercise for up to six hours a week even though they haven’t done any exercise in a long time. The trainer’s job is to keep their clients motivated but to also manage their growth on an achievable path that will lead to long term exercise success. 

I know that I’ve seen many people who have set themselves up for failure with exercise due to planning that is based on a desire for change without the understanding of how to create a successful plan to achieve it. One of the greatest insights I’ve gained from these experiences is that it appears that for some people the more desperate they want change the more irrational their planning will get.  

I was working with a lady a while ago who wanted to lose some weight. She had been steadily gaining weight for a long time and was sick of being overweight so now was the time to make changes. She came to me with a plan that she had developed and to be honest as soon as I looked at it I thought to myself, ’she has no hope of maintaining this’. Her plan would be a challenge for even the most disciplined person, even if they were working 100% to achieve this.

After talking to her for a while about her habits a pattern started to form, she would want to change so she created an unrealistic plan which she would only maintain for a day or two. After a couple of days she would fail, and she would see herself as a failure and become an emotional eater which would then lead to her putting on more weight. It was a vicious circle. In her mind the only way through this cycle was to make a harder plan and to ‘stop being weak’. There was no way she could ever be successful with the way she was doing things and unfortunately every time she failed there was this massive negative reinforcement that she would inflict upon herself. 

As I worked through this with her, we created a realistic nutrition plan together that was mentally easy to maintain and over the next period of time she achieved her weight loss goals. The main reason she was successful was because the plan wasn’t hard, it’s was mentally easy for her to manage. 

When you think about the areas of your life where you want to create change do you approach them in ways where you are lacking the understanding of how to be successful? Do you set yourself up for failure from the first moment? If you have failed in the past do you then think that you have to create a harder plan that just requires you to be more disciplined? 

Maybe the next time you think about change a good question to ask yourself is: What would an expert in this area think about my plan? How would they approach this knowing the full picture of my life and what I can realistically achieve? In an ideal world you would get an expert on board to help guide you but if you can’t make that happen these questions can be a great way of you identifying any weaknesses in your plan and can help you make any tweaks needed to create success. 

Any change is hard so we need to remind ourselves that we need to create plans that develop success in ways that are realistic. The more we can become an expert in this part of our life, the more successful we will be in changing the areas we want to.

 

This piece orginally appeared in The Press

 

If you enjoy my pieces you can get them emailed to you when I put them on the internet. This way you won't have to come back to my website to check when a new piece is out. Don't worry I won't spam you. If you want to join up just put your details in here: