Writing things down
The upcoming beach season brings almost as many people to the gym as New Year’s resolutions do in January. Many of my new clients come with very specific goals in mind. I only wish they’d get into the habit of writing them down.
My favourite ‘hack’ I ask my clients to try it to write down what they want to achieve to give them a powerful vision of the future that they can continually work towards. It’s highly effective and even though it sounds simple, most people don’t do it!
Write it down.
Does it sound a bit too good to be true that you can write something down at it will actually come true?
There’s been a lot of research on this. A lot of studies have shown that those who write their goals down are much more likely to achieve them. One specific study do in the University of California found that those who wrote down their goals were 42% more likely to achieve them!
The simple act of writing down your goals almost doubles your chances of actually making it a reality!
In my work with clients and on my gym floor, I have seen *incredible* transformations.
What all of those people that actually succeeded had in common is they had commitment. What they also had in common is that they wrote their goals down.
Over the years, I came up with a very specific strategy to help each and every person I work with achieve that level of dedication. Here is the exact technique I would like you to follow and why it will work for you:
Start With a Specific Goal
Example goal 1: By 1 August 2017, reduce my body fat percentage by 3%.
Example goal 2: In two weeks’ time I will fit into those jeans I used to love.
Great goals are detailed, measurable, and they have a time limit. You have to be very honest about what exactly it is that you want. Vague goals will not cut it.
The reason behind this is vague goals are uncertain and leave a lot of room for manoeuvre. Your brain would rather keep you inside your comfort zone. When you don’t have a clear goal, you will be constantly overwhelmed. In fact the brain is at its happiest when you have a goal and you are regularly making positive progress towards it.
Unfortunately, procrastination is the most common way your mind deals with overwhelming situations. When a specific goal exists, the uncertainty is out of the equation and so is the anxiety. You can focus all of your mental energy on achieving that goal.
Don’t be too ambitious with time frame or size of goal
Avoid being rash or trying to achieve things too quickly.
Don’t crash diet to try to reach your goal on an accelerated time frame, you’ll end up worse off than when you started because you’ll miss your target and feel like you’ve failed.
Don’t break off more than you can chew either. A big part of my philosophy is doing one small thing first to feed a positive feedback loop.
If your goal is to ‘tidy your bedroom today’ and you do it – you’ll be amazed how this small action can create an amazing positive feedback loop.
Word It Right – be positive
Only use positive sentences in your goal.
Instead of saying ‘I want to get rid of cellulite‘, say ‘I want toned upper legs and smooth skin.’ These are not the same for your subconscious mind. The first one tells you that there is something wrong. It creates negative emotions and negative self-talk. The underlying message is that you are not good enough.
The second option does quite the opposite. It empowers you. It creates a positive vision to work towards, rather than a negative image that you are trying to run away from.
To make this goal even better, use a verb for action rather than desire.
‘I am working toward toned upper legs and smooth skin.‘
‘I am in the process of achieving toned upper legs and smooth skin‘.
Not only does this further empower you it makes the goal a reality. Once your subconscious mind accepts that the goal will come true it is much easier to keep pushing to achieve it.
Every goal you have (in your fitness journey or in your life in general) will cause you discomfort. To protect you from the discomfort, the brain builds resistance against the goal. That resistance is what makes the first step the most difficult.
By wording the goal to sound like you are already on your way to achieving it, you effectively trick your mind into thinking that the first step has already been made. This supercharges your motivation and your commitment to the goal.
Put It Where You Will See It
You want to have a constant reminder of that vision you have for yourself. If you enjoy keeping a diary or a physical planner, put your goal on the front page.
If not, another great option would be the bathroom mirror. It might sound weird but it is much more efficient than the traditional ‘sticky note on the fridge’ method.
Think about it. Every morning and every evening you will spend at least 3 minutes actively thinking about your goal. The power of this daily reminder is intense. It creates a sense of urgency. This is at the core of building lasting motivation.
Break It Down Into Mini Goals
Now that you have your large-scale goal set and visible, it is time to create an actionable plan. Your plan will consist of smaller goals. You want to constantly challenge yourself a little more than you had yesterday. This is what effective workout plans are based on. They are nothing else but a step-by-step instruction to reaching your fitness goal.
I enjoy helping clients put together goal plans in a checklist format. This way every workout feels like a milestone, which it truly is. You are much less likely to skip workouts if you feel the rush of achieving a bit more than you had yesterday.
Remember to write your goals down and if you have any questions or ideas, leave them in the comments below!