Why do we do the things we do? What is it that motivates us? What is it that pushes us and drives us?
What is the reason for waking up in the pre-dawn to make that 5:30am training session, to push through the 90th km of the bike leg on your first Half Ironman race after a 2km swim, the 20th km of your first half marathon, to grind through the 3rd round of burpee penalties of your first Spartan Race (or 3rd, or 5th).
I suppose what I am really asking is - what is your purpose? What is the driving force that motivates you to achieve your goals and the results you want?
Personally, what motivates me is the desire to have strong systems, a strong foundation and a strong framework for training, and for my life. If it's important, do it every day. Do those little things every day that contribute to the big picture.
It could be anything from starting the day off right with a solid training session paired with a nutritious breakfast. Devising a sound eating plan and sticking to it. Keeping your food diary and making the macros work for yourself. Planning that extra 5 minutes after your daily exercise to stretch. Having a set bed time and sticking to it.
For some people it will be challenging, it will make you feel uncomfortable and you may feel out of your depth. It all starts with making the choice to change, taking that first step. I believe the key is to first set small goals that are realistic and resonate with you. Some examples are drinking more water, going for a 20 minute walk, packing your own lunch, waking up 5 minutes earlier, keeping your food diary, reducing your alcohol intake and putting in the extra effort when you need to.
The more you do it the easier it will become as habits will form and these little efforts you make will become part of you. I have found that this pertains to all aspects of your life; your career, family and love life, finances, health and fitness, ultimately your life goals.
Determine what's important to you and your values. Have candour, integrity and passion. By doing this your life will improve. You will witness that things in your life will become better, will become simpler as your goals become that much more tangible and achievable and you will feel a sense of purpose and direction.
Once you get a handle on the "little things" and have set the standard and put systems in place, the bigger things which you never thought possible will slowly begin to materialise - the magic starts happening!
If you want single digit body fat and six-pack abs, monitor, log and track your macronutrients and make the healthiest choices when it comes to your nutrition.
If you want to lift a percentage of your bodyweight for reps, constantly challenge yourself and set new PB/s.
If you want to get better a certain lift or in your chosen sport, work on your form, technique and practice that lift until it becomes second nature.
If you want to become a better runner, put in the kilometres, the countless hour spent on the treadmill and/or road.
If you simply want to become a better version of yourself, find out what that means to you, devise a plan and stick to it consistently and with conviction. Again, chase those PB's and break through your plateaus and limitations.
This also translates directly into the things which could potentially have negative impacts on your life. Staying up late past your bed time, working overtime in the office, taking your work home with you, opting for the "easy" take away option for lunch, having that extra glass of wine at dinner (or bottle), ordering desert and/ or cheese when you know you've had enough to eat, not giving your body (and mind) adequate time for rest and recovery, not speaking your mind or having that crucial conversation you know you should have.
The things you tell yourself, the excuses for constantly being late, the missed sessions or empty food diaries - all of these things will be reflected in your lack of progress and lack of results. The good news is, it is within your power to change direction at any time.
Determine what kind of a person you want to be and what direction you want to take your life.
Set the little goals as these will add up to the big picture, and stay on the course. "The process is the goal."*
Enjoy the process and the goal will simply follow.
Don't just find your purpose - live and breathe it. Make it yours.
Article Written by Personal Trainer Kyle Sewell
*Viktor Frankl "Man's Search for Meaning"*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.