Thursday, January 2, 2014

Your Choice - Achieve Your Fitness/Weight Loss Targets This Year OR Fail Miserably (This Tip Could Make the Difference)

Every so often, I stumble on a fitness-related tip that makes a BIG difference. This difference-maker tip will determine whether you meet serious fitness/weight loss goals or bomb out totally. It's about correcting the most common mistake made by well-meaning people getting started in a fitness program. It's called the goal snowball and if you use it properly, you will get fit in spite of yourself.

The origin of the goal snowball information is an email sent to Alwyn Cosgrove's list. I know him best as the co-author of the New Rules of Lifting book series (see the books listed to the right). He has taught fitness principles to thousands of clients and clearly knows what he's talking about.

If I paraphrase his email, it will likely lose something in the translation. Here is Alwyn's goal snowball email. Please read carefully and pay attention to his example.
Goal setting is still hard for some people. I'll often meet clients who are interested in losing fat and decide that they will start daily cardio, weight train four times per week, eat six small meals, cut calories by 20% and reduce their carb intake.
These are great goals -- but most people are trying to do too much at once. John Berardi has said that studies show that if you want to make one change in your life, you have an 85% chance of success. However if you try to change two things at once, your chances of success drop to around 35%. Three things at once? Almost zero.
The solution to this is to use the goal snowball, an idea I first heard of from Chris Shugart. 
Here's how to do it:
1) List five or six behaviors you need to improve or change to reach your goals. What do you need to be doing that you're not doing? What bad habits do you need to kick? What good habits do you need to instill?
2) List these things from easiest to hardest.
3) "Maintain" all your other goals and focus your attention on the first thing on your list (the easiest one.) Spend two weeks just focusing on achieving that goal so that it becomes a habit.
4) Once that change has been made and ingrained, move up to the next item on your list and focus your efforts there.
5) One by one, knock out these changes and/or goals.
For example: Maybe you sleep late. First goal might be to get up 30 mins earlier every day.Second goal might be to go to the gym as soon as you wake upThird goal may be to go to the gym four times a week instead of three.Fourth goal may be to make sure you always eat breakfast.Fifth goal? Reduce portion sizes at 3 out of 5 meals...and so on.
So in 10 weeks or so - you're getting up earlier - never missing a workout, have done an extra ten workouts, and eaten breakfast everyday,  while consuming less calories overall. These goals would "snowball" into a bigger overall effect with long-term success whereas trying to do all things at once would likely result in short term failure.

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