Forget about perfection, focus on progression.
How often have you woken on a Monday with intending to make all the positive changes that are going to make your life better? A spreadsheet with your macros calculated, meals planned, a fridge full of Paleo meals, five days of workouts booked and you’re ready to CRUSH IT.
Monday is a breeze, you did everything perfectly. Same for Tuesday. On Wednesday you’re sick of mixed vegetables and grilled chicken breasts. Thursday has morons in it, goes rapidly downhill and because you didn’t sleep well last night you’re ready for a beer and pizza on the couch with Netflix. Ah well, may as well make it an extra-large and you’ll try again on Monday.
This “all or nothing and it must be perfect” approach to implementing positive changes to our lives is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving our goals.
The aggregation of marginal gains is a theory that’s explained as the “1% improvement in everything that you do”. Instead of placing so much emphasis on one big defining moment of success, we should rather focus on making small and manageable improvements on a daily basis.
In 2010, Dave Brailsford, the General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky, Britain’s professional cycling team, applied this theory with the goal of winning the Tour de France within five years.
He looked at all the metrics that could possibly affect the team’s success and set about making small improvements across everything, including the minor details overlooked as being of little to no consequence.
Team Sky won the Tour de France within three years.
We don’t need to be training for the Tour de France to apply this theory to our lives. Small daily improvements in the areas you are looking to change, which you often don’t even notice, are meaningful and add up to big changes over the long term.
This theory can be applied to your nutrition, training, relationships or any aspect of your life that you’re looking to excel at.
So what does this theory look like for us? Instead of whole-scale overnight changes to your diet, try add some green vegetables to your dinner each week night and on Friday, have one beer instead of three. Try that for a week. Once you’ve successfully applied these changes and they’ve become a consistent habit add another small improvement like replacing the mindless after-dinner grazing with a five minute stretch session instead. Try that for a week.
Excellence is the gradual result of always wanting to do better – Pat Riley
Aim to be just 1% better, every day.
This will be the final active week for the blog this year. The holiday period will be a good time for me to put down new content ideas and for you to to think of topics you’d like me to write about. If you’d like some reading to do on your down time, look to the right sidebar of this page and search the blog using the tags. There are 98 posts with the ‘nutrition’ tag! Sure, some of them will be repeats, but there’s a ton of information there.
New Years is still a few days away, but that’s why NOW is a good time to talk about getting started. Sure, you’re going on holiday and that’s a great time to indulge in food and drink. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat and drink everything including the kitchen sink. Changing your mindset is the first step to changing your health and fitness, and you don’t need to wait to get started to change your mindset. You just need to start.
I’ll get going on Monday.
I’ll start when winter is over.
I’m waiting for my friend to start with me.
I need to start that new job first.
Okay, I’ll start tomorrow.
No, you’re just full of excuses and bullsh*t.
Those are just a few of the familiar phrases people say when it comes to making changes that are needed to improve their health and fitness. Not the last phrase, though. That’s me calling them out 😉
Are you one of those people waiting for that perfect time, when all the conditions are just right, to make changes to your nutrition for the better of your health and fitness? Well, that time is either now or never. That sort of all-or-nothing approach (to anything) typically gets us nothing. If you want to make a difference to your health and fitness, truly want to, then the only time to start is now. Here are a few tips to get you out of that stuck feeling.
Change Your Mindset
That’s the first step. There will never be the perfect time to start. I’m not trying to be morbid, but you could be dead before that time comes. So get going on those changes now.
It’s often difficult to get going because you genuinely don’t know what changes to make. Book in for a nutrition consult, sign up for the next lifestyle challenge, and get yourself some books. Support, however, also comes from those you spend most of your time with – friends, family and work colleagues. Tell them about your goals and what you’re going to do to achieve them. Tell them when the going gets tough and share your successes with them because they’ll keep your fire burning.
If they don’t support you or belittle your goals and achievements, delete them.
Just Get Going
You are able to start right now, while reading this post. You don’t have to go to the supermarket before changing your mindset, you just need to change it. Write down your new intentions and post them to places you won’t miss them. They shouldn’t be grand goals and massive schemes, though. Think of the smallest change you could make in the next 10 minutes. Aim to be just 1% better everyday.
Make it a Priority
YOU have to make YOUR health and fitness a priority. IF it is a priority, good nutrition becomes a priority by default. IF nutrition is a priority, making the time to buy, prepare and eat healthy food won’t be a problem. Look at your schedule and find the time.
You are going to have challenges, but what matters is that you’ve started. It’s much easier to prevent a stopped train from moving forward than it is to stop a travelling train 😉-Imtiaz
As with anything of value, achieving better health and fitness requires ongoing work. You’ve got to keep turning up to training, and you need consistently strong efforts in training. You’ve got to stay on top of your nutrition, and you need to take care of your recovery needs such as sleep, stretching and rest. All. The. Time.
Such a consistent effort surely requires motivation. How would you even get started without some form of motivation? You need discipline too, though. Self-discipline, to be precise. But what’s the difference between the two?
Motivation is defined as “your desire or willingness to do something.” It’s the fuel that gets you started, and we know that the hardest part of any task is getting started. When your motivation is high you have momentum. However, that momentum is based on emotion and emotions tap out quickly.
You see, your reasons for training and eating well may never change. Whereas your desire or willingness to take the necessary actions for those reasons is fickle.
Let’s look at the example of ‘Jane.’ Jane has just confirmed her wedding date six months away. She wants to get there in the best physical shape possible so unpacks her moldy training gear and books her sessions for the following week. She’s super motivated and the excitement about the wedding encourages her momentum.
Her first two weeks are rocking. She’s met her attendance goals and is already feeling better–she’s got even more momentum! But week two ends with unpleasant news, her wedding planner has ditched her. Naturally, Jane is worried and miserable. She opts for some wine-o-therapy over the weekend and come time for her Monday morning training session is lacking both energy and motivation to go. So she skips the session.
And the next because she’s guilty about missing the first, and then feels less fit so misses another, and then it’s the weekend and oh look, wine!
Desire, willingness and excitement–the emotions that drive motivation–last only for three to six weeks. You lose the emotional drive as the task becomes habit and that’s when your momentum drops.
Self-discipline refers to “your capacity to control your feelings and actions in pursuit of your goals.” Whereas motivation refers to why you start a task, self-discipline refers to what you do to achieve the end goal. It is self-control.
Discipline enables you to keep going even when your motivation is wavering. Discipline, however, is more difficult to achieve than motivation. You feel good when you’re motivated, but with discipline you learn to ride out the bad days, the failures and the crappy emotions. It’s like getting through a nasty workout–it’s uncomfortable, but you know it’s going to be good for you so you stick it out.
Discipline is arguably more important, but you need motivation too. Here are some tips to make the most out of the good motivation while establishing discipline.
- Set SMART goals
- Ride out the three to six week motivation wave, once you’re through that you’re naturally developing discipline
- Make the most out of your momentum by making your goals public
- Acknowledge and accept that you will have bad days, they’re a part of the process
- Strive for balance by rewarding yourself for the small wins
Adhere to a behaviour for eight weeks and it becomes a habit, and then tasks that required a lot of effort become a breeze!
Goal setting is a powerful tool. It provides focus and highlights the actions you need to be successful. Goals keep you on track, even when it feels like you aren’t making any progress. When you hit obstacles, focusing on your goals keeps you moving forward. And constantly moving forward, even if only by little bits at a time, is the aim of the game.
Setting and achieving goals, however, is a process that is used to keep you moving forward. Goals are not destinations.
Consider a university course: The goal is to earn a qualification, but the qualification is not the end of the line. You might further your education, or the qualification may be what you need to enter the workplace. You certainly don’t stop learning when you begin working either. The goal–the qualification–got you to a stage in the journey.
A pay incentive at work is a goal. You need to meet X objectives in order to earn a bonus. You meet the objectives and earn the bonus, but you don’t stop working. Unless of course the bonus was fat enough to retire on! The goal–the bonus–was used to keep you motivated and focused.
It’s the same with fitness. Goals are used to keep you on track, to keep you moving towards increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains throughout life. The goals aren’t the destination. So you’ve lost all the body fat you wanted to, how much more can you improve your health markers by now? You got your first pull-up, how many can you do without resting now? You’re able to walk on your hands, how quickly can you cover 60m on your hands?
Goals are tools to keep you moving forward. To be just 1% better than yesterday, you need goals. But there is no destination, you’ll never get “there.” So set smart goals, accomplish them and set new ones, but don’t get caught up in the goals or in whatever you think the endline for fitness is. Fitness is a journey that takes a lifetime to travel. Enjoy the journey, it’s what matters most!
What drove you to join CrossFit Jozi East?
I was bored with gym, and was looking for something different, something that could keep me interested and motivated to train.
How long have you been a member for?
Approx. 6 months
Who inspires you?
Everyone at training! We are all there trying to achieve our goals, overcome obstacles, support one another and having fun while we do it. The coaches are also awesome, they help keep me motivated.
What are you doing when you aren’t at the gym?
Other than work, I cook, love cooking and experimenting with food. Walking my dogs, getting outside into nature as much as possible and taking photos.
Tell us one interesting thing that people might not know about you?
This is hard, as I am a pretty open book…but perhaps the one thing is I am a very serious geek – I am a gamer, huge fan of Marvel, DC Comics, star was (on my bucket list is to go to Comic Con in the US) – I own a Batman onesie, need I say more.
If you had to change your name, what would you change it to?
Batman! If you can’t be yourself, then just be Batman.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?
I have a pair of grey tracksuit joggers, that if I could live in them, I would. My partner wants to throw them out, cause when I am home that’s what I am wearing!
What are you most likely to become famous for?
Doing something incredibly stupid or funny or even both. I could be a YouTube sensation!
If you were dictator of a small island nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?
I would make a rubbish dictator, because I would want everyone to be happy, chilled and relaxed.
What do you usually have in your fridge?
Cheese and there is always a stock of assorted veg
What has been your most memorable class or session at CFJ East?
The first time I finished a WOD in the time allocated, that was awesome! When I started (and it still happens now, but I am definitely getting better) I just could not do any WOD’s in time. I found this incredibly frustrating so when I did it the first time I was over the moon.
What Is The Coolest Thing That You Have Achieved At CFJ East?
Walking up the wall and getting my face to the wall in a handstand. Being upside down and standing on my hands, never thought that would ever happen.
What Changes In Your Health Have You Noticed Since Starting?
So many…I am stronger, I am leaner, I feel energized all day, my confidence is up and I just feel good everyday now.
List Some Of Your Big Goals.
My main goal is to slim down and lose weight, I still have 25kg to go!
CrossFit goals, long term, to do Muscle ups. Short term is being able to do 10 push-ups without dying or taking a break.
Posts tagged with ‘goals’