What about the process? 

When I became a person that sat down and set goals every 4 months I spent quite a bit of time reading lots of books trying to find the best process for doing this. A term that would come up a lot was ‘S.M.A.R.T Goals’. This states that goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. So being the good student I am I went ahead and produced my goals based around this standard.   

A few months later I managed to meet one of the most successful people I had ever met. This man impressed me in so many ways. He seemed to be of a high level in all areas of his life. When I got to sit down and have a chat with him I couldn’t wait to tell him about my goal process, as I was pretty sure that he would have a similar way of setting goals. I was also thinking that he may be able to give me some tips on how to improve my process.  

When I asked him about how he went about setting his goals, his answer shocked me. He said ‘I have some ideas in my head that I’m working towards’. I almost didn’t believe him ‘But you write them down?’ I asked, ‘No I don’t, that stuff doesn’t really work for me’ he said. How could this be? This man who had success in so many areas of his life didn’t do his goals in the S.M.A.R.T way? What had I missed?  

What I’ve learnt since that conversation is that there is no one way to set goals that works for everyone. Sure, S.M.A.R.T goals are great for some people, but they don’t work for everyone. Your job is to continually figure out what the best way is to motivate yourself through goal setting. This process will evolve as time goes on. I know that the way I go about setting goals today is completely different to my process ten years ago. I’ve learnt over time how to make them more effective for me.  

Think about times when you have been successful. Look at how you set the targets for yourself at those times and then duplicate that. Over time you will improve your process, a process that you have designed just for yourself that you know works for you.


The dangerous season 

We’re heading into that time of the year when everything gets multiplied by ten, that’s right it’s excess season. Over the next few months you are going to be eating out more, attending BBQ’s, having a few more drinks than usual (and I don’t mean sport replacement drinks here), and you will be offered more chocolate than any other time in the year. How can you not love this season?!  

While the ‘silly season’  is so much fun it can come at a cost. You may wake up on the first of January 2010 vowing to make your new year’s resolution to lose that ‘Christmas weight’. The challenge I have for you is to have fun but not at the cost of your health. Success with health during this period has a lot to do with planning and setting limits to the excesses.  

A school teacher friend of mine, Kate, was telling me that when they teach the kids about responsible drinking, the first thing they ask them is what do they want to get out of drinking? Most of the kids respond with answers that are based around ‘having fun’. Next they ask what they don’t want? Here the kids don’t want to lose control, put themselves in bad situations and so on. Then they ask the kids how much alcohol do they need to achieve the ‘wants’ they had responded with. These questions make the kids aware that they really don’t need to drink that much to have fun. Plus when they are drinking they can identify when they have hit that ‘fun’ stage and start to slow down.  

What can we learn from this? In this ‘excess season’ identify what you are wanting to get out of the occasions you go to. You’ll find that you never come up with answers like ‘eating until I get sick’, ‘getting smashed in front of my workmates’, ‘getting no sleep on a Tuesday night’. Instead you’ll be able to set some healthy limits which when you are out and about you will be aware of. This will give you a much better chance of staying healthy.  

So before heading out identify what you want out of the event, set your limits and then stick to them. This way your New Year’s resolution can be about something a lot more exciting, like writing that Mills and Boon novel!  


You're not bad

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked me to have a chat with their sister who was overweight and struggling with exercise. To be honest, going into the conversation with her I thought I would easily be able to help her find some motivation and direction. This is what I’m good at, I motivate people in health and fitness. 

We meet at a local cafe and sat outside under the beautiful spring sun. Once the coffees were ordered I asked her about her fitness history. She started telling me how she was quite athletic at high school but once she started university the extra demands meant she had to drop something and exercise was the first thing to go. I kept asking her questions to help give me more of an insight into her situation. 

As the conversation continued and as she opened up to me more her facial expressions started to change, she now presented a person that had terrible self loathing. It was hard for her to talk this subject but she was being brave, maybe because it had gotten so hard. When it was time for me to give some advice she began rejecting anything I offered, she would quickly come back at me with a reason why my advice wouldn’t work for her. It took me a while to realise that I wasn’t getting through.  Then a light bulb lit up in my head. My eyes slowly meet hers and I said ‘you’re not a bad person because you are overweight and struggle with exercise’. She instantly broke down and started crying.  

The sad thing was, this woman was hugely successful in so many areas of her life but because she lacked success in this one area she felt she was a bad person. I am not a physiologist, but I do feel it is important to say that if you struggle with exercise and nutrition – this does not make you a bad person, you just have some habits that you need to address.

If you feel this way, try to get some help to remove the negative feelings you have about yourself and aim to consciously remove the “I’m a bad person” label from your thoughts. 
Remember it’s not the whole you, this is just one area that you can improve on, and you can do it!