Thursday, July 04, 2013

Setting Yourself Up For Success - Part I!

Today, I’m excited to discuss some of the key elements you need to implement for a successful ‘race’ once the metaphorical gun goes off. POW! BANG! BOOM! 

This topic gets me bouncing on my bossu ball (my choice of office chair) because once all of these factors are implemented; you are 90% on your way. The last 10% comes strictly from within (more on this later…), but that internal motivation won’t mean much unless you’ve got these 5 key elements in place. These are the foundation for setting yourself up for success! 

In this post, I’ll be discussing the first two elements – The Plan and Accountability.

1. The Plan 

If you are really serious about your goal, not just so/so serious, then I highly encourage you to make a detailed plan. Whatever your goal is, just google it and add ‘training plan’ or ‘plan’ to the end and you’ll come up with some great options. Be cautious though, one plan might not be the perfect fit for everyone. I encourage you to look at a few and find the consistencies among them. I always combine three of my favourites in to one super plan – this helps me to accommodate my schedule and what feels right for my body. 

Without a detailed plan, you’re guaranteed to fall off track. Plans help us create a daily focal point and give us something to work towards. They give us the “purpose” factor. As a gymnast, my coach and I would always meticulously map out the entire year. We would see when the major competitions were and we would build a training plan around ‘peaking’ at these events. Having a detailed plan helped me prepare for the next day’s work (I knew in advance whether it was a ‘light’ day or ‘death’ day) and it allowed me to guage where I was at in the big picture. 

I suggest printing out a calendar and taking an hour or so to sit down and fill out each day’s program. Another great part about doing this is that it will also take the guesswork out of the process. You’ll know when an intense phase is approaching and you can mentally gear up for it. Alternatively, you’ll know when a recovery phase is on its way and you can look forward to it. Once it’s made, the plan is always staring right at you. You don’t have to think too much about it - you just have to bear down, get it done and give yourself a check mark. 

Bottomline: No Plan = No Path = No Finish Line.  

2. Accountability

Do you have a person or group of people who will be your accountability structure? The easiest person to let down is yourself and because of this, we must create some strong accountability to surround us. This is especially true in those weaker moments when we are tired and busy. When we schedule workouts, meetings or set deadlines with others involved, we are way more likely to show up and get the work done. 

I suggest you start booking workout dates with friends, colleagues, a coach or a trainer. Perhaps you want to enlist the services of a nutritionist who can help hold you accountable to your nutrition goals. Why not schedule a two-hour window with your family to go skating or to the swimming pool? Join a running club, a boot camp or a yoga challenge. Find a group of like-minded individuals who meet up once a week who can help keep you motivated and on track with that new creative project you’re working on. Enroll in a class. Send out invitations and/or a facebook invite to an event you want to plan. Make a call that you’ve been putting off – you never know where it could lead. These are all just suggestions on how to create some more accountability around your goals – you need to find some that are specific (and a bit scary) for you!

I always need to sign up online for a spin or yoga class or schedule in a swim or a run with a friend (and it’s got to go into my calendar). I can’t just work out solo on a “whim”. When I try to do this, I am instantly setting myself up for disaster. 6 times out of 10, I’ll convince myself that I’ve got way too many other things to do or that I am too tired and it can wait until tomorrow. Having to meet someone somewhere at a specific time makes me get off my butt and go.

Bottomline: Make it impossible to wiggle your way out of commitments. Put yourself in situations that fuel your fire (even if they freak you out a bit)!

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll discuss Reward Systems, Measuring Tools and Energy Protection. Until then, set aside an hour to start building out your plan and call a couple friends to be your accountability buddies. You’ll need them and they’ll need you!

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