Positive Energy 407 - Step Zero
When we finally come to terms with the fact that we are not where we want to be, often we become uncomfortable and decide we want results.....immediately. The scenario plays itself out over and over. This feeling of disappointment, discomfort and discontent makes us vulnerable to the "get fit quick" sales people who want us to hand over our cash for the same empty promises.
As a young woman, I remember telling an older woman how hard I worked. Her next words fascinated me and stuck with me. "Honey, always try to work smart instead of hard." She explained that we should use our energy and resources wisely not just expend them chaotically and burn ourselves out. The same principle applies in everything we do.
When we want to reach fitness or health goals, we should always give careful attention to "step zero". Step zero includes everything we can do before taking on our first action. Step zero is planning and preparation. Here are some favorite step zero tools:
1. Learn from past mistakes: What has stopped you from reaching this goal in the past? Take your time and think carefully about this. One word answers don't go deep enough. What is your unique pattern of habits that keep you down? Do you eat when stressed, don't have the capacity to say no when someone offers you food? Love to go out with coworkers? Do you feel like you need to save money and try to spend as little as possible on food?
2. Visualize Success: Visualization is a powerful tool. It's an easy rehearsal for being the hero you feel like on the inside. After visualizing an intelligent response to taunting coworkers, family and friends trying to discourage you from new habits, the right words will roll off your tongue when it actually happens.
3. Keep Moving Forward: Make it a habit to progress daily in everything you do. Make it your mindset. Life is like a bicycle, if you don't keep peddling you fall down. Stagnation is death. Martin Luther King said it so well, "If you can't fly, you run; if you can't run, you walk; and if you can't walk, you crawl. But no matter what, you keep moving forward." Couch potatoes don't need boot camp, they need to go out for a walk and work their way up. Injured athletes don't need to push through the pain, they need education on proper movement and rehabilitation. Think progressively and live progressively. What is your next best and most strategic step?
4. Laser Focus: What are your goals exactly? Most people want to feel and look good. Making those goals more concrete could be, my favorite pants have been snug and when they start to feel lose, I know I'm losing some bloat. When I can walk without my knee bothering me, I know I'm becoming stronger and more mobile. Judge the path you are on by your results not the amount of effort you put into it and keep your goal fresh in mind. Rowing harder won't help if your boat is headed in the wrong direction.
5. Stay Flexible: If you are not getting the results you want, it's time to review your methods. Be flexible enough to make adjustments when needed. Check in regularly on your progress and change your plan accordingly. Flexibility requires that we pay attention and stay plugged in. A life as precious as yours deserves careful attention and mindfulness.
Someone with your or even worse circumstances has succeeded in reaching the same goals you want to reach. You can do it too. Work through step zero and be 100% ready for action.
"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."
- Colin Powell
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail"
- Benjamin Franklin
All the best,
Bodywork, Movement & Holistic Lifestyle Design
recommended beginner activity: Journal in writing on what progress you would like to make in fitness/health. Write about what you want to experience and what has blocked success in the past. Complete at least two pages of writing.
recommended advanced activity: List 5 fitness/health goals you want to reach. List the obstacles to these goals along with your plan to conquer them. Write at least two pages of how it will feel to reach your goals and how you will reward yourself for success.