By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
It’s that time of the year again when we all face the onslaught of holiday parties, festive food fests, drinking more than usual, late nights out, less sleep, and generally putting on a few pounds that we find more and more difficult to lose, come January. With three months of challenge ahead, I thought I’d share my three favorite rules to help you get across the goal line healthy, fit and happy.
Rule #1. Focus on the process, not the outcome.
Sure you want to set specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, timely, enthusiastic and rewarding goals (“SMARTER”) for reaching January in great shape, and still fitting into your jeans from this past summer. But my experience in working with athletes and fitness coaches has taught me that beyond developing a vision, being committed to goals, believing that you can achieve your goals and taking one step at a time, it’s getting involved with the “process goals” that have to do with the steps needed to achieve success that are most important. Too many focus on the destination and forget to enjoy the journey. The journey, in health and fitness, is what it’s all about.
What steps, actions and techniques are you focusing on to help you assure you’ll reach your goals? Keep you eyes on your form, the strategies you are using for diet for example, and other types of processes needed to be successful. Examples include focusing on recording your diet daily, following certain guidelines for sleep, keeping your back in proper position while doing dead lifts, and enjoying the exercise, nutrition and sleep along the way to your goals.
Rule #2. Never give up. Ever.
“Winning means you’re willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else. ”
~ Vince Lombardi
How’s that for inspiration to keep going no matter what? As long as you are alive, anything is possible. It’s not an all or nothing game during October, November and December, it’s about getting back up no matter how many times you’ve slipped. Make it a lapse, not a relapse. Don’t sell yourself short. OK, so you had that extra piece of cake or more pasta than you promised yourself you would have (process goal). Don’t let a slip destroy your plan.
Giving up means settling for average, or worse. “Forget about it” is for people who are almost there but turn away from the finish line. Being your best is definitely available to you…if you don’t give up, ever.
Seth Godin, author of “The Dip,” advises, that the “dip” — the boring, difficult, inconvenient time after the excitement, positive feedback, and the fun of a new goal has worn thin – is designed to keep you out of the inner circle of winners. He advises determining which dip is the right challenge for you and to stick with it, never give it up, no matter what. Ask yourself, “Am I panicking?” “Who am I trying to influence?” and “What sort of measureable progress (process goals) am I making?” Expect the dip, or lapse, gather your resources, find a coach, and keep going!
Rule #3. Talk rationally (accurately) to yourself at all times.
Recognize that your body hears your every thought. That’s right, whether it’s about diet, exercise, your self-image, your health, your fitness, it’s clear that your body has superb “ears.”
I’ve written about this before here. Your body’s “ears” don’t hear words specifically, but rather forms of energy, pictures and emotions. The mind-body connection is so strong and the body’s “ears” so accurate, that every thought you have can be reflected in your health. It’s as if your body believes every word you think.
So here are 7 thoughts that will help insure you’ll meet your holiday season health and fitness goals.
- I feel great
- My body is becoming leaner and stronger
- I find it easy to eat the right foods
- I love eating right
- I love working out
- I am healthy and have a ton of energy
- I have a fit body