“Clarity–A Powerful Key To Motivational Success”
Okay. Welcome to week 3. How are you doing on cutting out fast food and sugary drinks? How about eating those vegetables? Do your best not to let yourself slide, but if you do just remember that the only true failure is the failure to get back up again. As long as you’re alive you’re still in the game. So keep playing, but commit to playing to win!
I hope that by doing those writing exercises every day you’re really getting in touch with what truly motivates you and pushes you up. They are small exercises, yet very powerful. I’ve used these exercises in various forms for several aspects of my life.
As usual, I’m long-winded, so lets just dig right into this week’s training.
This week I want to talk to you about setting up your “rules” for success. Again, I have to thank Tony Robbins for this distinction. In one of his talks he speaks about the rules that we set for ourselves and how they influence our lives.
I know. Rules aren’t fun. Rules are restrictions. Rules are made to be broken. Right?
Well, consider this for a moment. How did Beethoven become so great at orchestrating music? How did Michael Jordan become so amazing at basketball? How did you learn to play your first instrument, or play a sport, or whatever you’ve accomplished in life? You set rules for yourself, standards to live by in order to succeed.
See, rules are two-sided. They restrict you in some areas. Yet they are also the key to unlocking freedoms in other areas.
I do not have the freedom to play the piano. Why? Because I have not followed the “rules” that come with learning to play the piano. I am restricted BECAUSE I haven’t followed certain rules. Rules regarding practice. Rules regarding learning that skill. Rules are a must in anything if you want the freedom that comes with it.
The most important thing in establishing rules is CLARITY. You have to know exactly what the rules are in any game in order to play and win.
In that talk by Tony Robbins he mentions having two conversations, one with an overweight woman and one with a very athletic woman. The biggest thing that impacted him was the difference in the clarity of the rules they had of what it took to get in shape.
When he asked the overweight woman what she MUST do in order to have the body that she wanted she said things like “well, I don’t know if there’s anything you MUST do, but you SHOULD probably eat healthy and workout a couple times a week.” Both true but both very general, unclear rules.
When he asked the athletic woman what she MUST do in order to have the body that she wanted she started listing off a grocery-list of rules. Things like “you must eat 5 small meals a day.You must exercise at least 3 times a week for at least an hour. You must never eat any junk food unless it’s your cheat day.” There were very little SHOULDs on her list.
Notice the difference in clarity here?
Over the last year I’ve managed to grow my martial arts school in leaps and bounds from where I had it over the previous two years. And this came about mostly due to my having to clarify and commit to the rules of what was expected of me in order to grow instead of just living in a world of “shoulds”. (I also have been lucky to have some of the most helpful students who bring their own energy to the school, inspiring me daily).
If you were asked right now by a friend who wanted to get in shape what they MUST do, what would you tell them? Can you list 5 or 6 things? Often the best advice we could get is the very advice that we give.
That’s why I’m not big on preaching what you should be eating or what exercises you should be doing. You already know this stuff.
What I AM big about is finding the keys to unlock your motivations for actually doing them. And one of them is this thing called CLARITY.
So lets take a moment right now and get some clarity around what you want.
Lets start with a 1 year goal. Where do you want to be when we’re nearing the end of 2013? Write down what I call your 2013 New Year’s Evolution (another concept I learned from a lady who runs a podcast called Inside Out Weight Loss).
Rather than writing down a New Year’s Resolution of what you are committing to doing we start first with figuring out where it is you’re trying to go, who you plan on evolving into over the coming year.
I have my 2012 New Year’s Evolution in a folder on my desktop and I read it every Sunday to refocus and realign myself with what I need to be doing every day in order to become that person and have that lifestyle. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for all aspects of my life.
So now that you have your 2013 New Year’s Evolution you can now start asking yourself “What’s it gonna take to become that?” What rules do you need to set, what commitments will you have to keep?
You have more control over your future than any other outside force. You must believe that in order to succeed (how’s that for a MUST rule?).
There’s an old saying that’s been thrown around so much that it almost feels too cliche to say, but “If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.” All successes started out as just pictures in the mind.
So now that you have a clear picture in your mind of who you’re going to become in one year’s time and some idea of the rules it’ll take to get you there it’s time to make that picture even more clear.
Here’s your first exercise for the week. I want you to start reading your New Year’s Evolution out loud to yourself once a week. Take your time with it. Consider briefly how you’re doing with it.
The next exercise I want you to do is to plan backwards the strategy you’ll need to get there. Once a week (perhaps on the same day that you read it) I want you to write down what you’ll need to have accomplished by a certain month to be on track. Start with next November and work your way back.
So, for instance, if you want to weigh 120 lbs by the end of the year, what weight goal do you need to hit in November to be on track. The next week you’ll write down what weight goals you’d need to be at by October.
See how that works?
We’re making it VERY CLEAR what the steps are to achieving your dreams. The “rules” you’ll need to follow will work themselves out and will likely change as you track your progress and measure it against your month-by-month plan.
While we’re talking about having a clear picture of who you’re going to become in the future I want to address a related concept known as visualization.
Athletes have used some form of visualization for years to take their performance to the next level. I spend 20 mins a day visualizing my goals and who I want to become and it has been a giant crutch in holding me up and keeping me motivated.
Visualization means mentally rehearsing what you want. It means daydreaming in a focused way.
It’s essentially what you’re doing every time you write down what you want to become in the future and the month-by-month progress you’ll need to make to get there.
I won’t lie. Visualization can easily become boring and hard to keep up.
I encourage you to try it, though. Look for ways to make it a regular, happily anticipated part of your daily routine.
I usually start by laying down and closing my eyes.
Then I take 10 deep breaths while focusing on the air going in and out of my lungs to help calm my mind and prepare it to focus.
Then I run myself through some general, easy to visualize, pictures to warm up the creative part of my mind.
Things like blowing up a bright colored balloon or eating a key lime pie (at least this is one way to enjoy junk food calorie-free).
Then I start into my motivational visualization practices.
Some recommendations to make visualization fun and mentally engaging are to picture things like planting a seed in your subconcious mind containing the YOU that you’re becoming and watching it grow, or picturing the YOU that you’re becoming as small and at a far off distance and then watching that picture come closer and get bigger and bigger until it takes up the whole scene, possibly even having it crash through a picture of the YOU that you are now.
Another is to “Scrooge yourself”.
Imagine yourself in the past, present, and future and see the different outcomes based on not being the person you want to become and then based on being that person.
I know these sound silly. And maybe they are. But they’re engaging (at least to my simple, childish mind).
There are also some guided visualizations on youtube that will walk you through things. Type in things like guided visualization, guided meditation, etc.
Whether or not the practice of visualization is for you is up to you to decide. But if it helps, figure out how to use it and then use it consistently.
Another exercise I want you to do that will force your visualization muscles to do some work is to write down (do this now) 3 obstacles that have consistently popped up in the past, knocking you off track in reaching your fitness goals. Be as specific as possible.
A good example from my life of an obstacle that has done it’s fair share of knocking me down in the past is when I’m hungry and I have to leave to go teach class so there’s no time to make anything. Like clockwork my brain will say “You have to eat something.
Just pick something up on the way that’s relatively healthy.” That leads to me going through the drive thru line at Burger King to pick up a salad. And I do pick up a salad. But I usually end up helping it go down with a couple jr. whoppers and an ice cream.
Once you’ve got your 3 biggest obstacles written down I want you to come up with a plan of attack to sidestep or intercept those obstacles before they happen. I call these “Contingency Plans”.
Come up with at least 1 contingency plan for each obstacle and then try it out. If it doesn’t work remember, it’s only a failure if you failed to learn something. So tweak your strategy and try it again.
For me, one of my contingency plans for that obstacle that I mentioned was to pre-make my food for the week. That way all I had to do was throw it in the microwave and heat it up. That’s even faster (and usually more delicious) than going to a fast food chain!
So there you go. You should now have a clear picture of where you’re going, some ideas of the rules you’ll need to set to get you there, and strategies for dealing with the 3 biggest pitfalls that have held you back in the past. You are making giant strides in setting yourself up for success!
One last thing, a new challenge for the week. But first a little diddy on stress and how it can ruin our plans and good intentions.
Stress is a normal, healthy part of life. No stress means you’re dead. But it can also be overwhelming at times. So it’s important to learn how to manage that stress. When stress gets out of hand, dealing with it can become our #1 priority, leading us to do things that we later regret like overeating or missing our workouts.
If you’re familiar with how a muscle gets stronger you know that there are 2 parts: Stress and Recovery. You must stress a muscle first, but then you must allow that muscle ample time to recover or else it’ll fail to grow.
In your life you need both as well: Stress AND Recovery. So here’s your challenge. I want you to set a bedtime for yourself. One that gives you 7-9 hours of good quality sleep. And stick with it. Don’t deviate at all from it for this week. And now that you’re going to bed earlier it’s the perfect time to practice some of that visualization stuff we talked about.
If you’re not used to going to bed early it’ll be hard. You’ll lay in bed staring up at the ceiling. But that’s just a part of the process. Your body has to adjust.
I have a bedtime ritual that I do to help me not only fall asleep but also to make my bedtime something I look forward to. It involves reading in bed for a half hour (on a well-made bed) with a warm cup of chamomile tea at my bedside.
If you continue to have a hard time falling asleep try googling how to fall asleep faster. That’s what I did and it helped shape my nighttime ritual.
Good luck and here’s to another successful week!