Goal Setting

The Voices in My Head

I decided to make 2018 the year of MC. Figuring out what the heck I'm supposed to do and going after it in blazing fire. We're 15 days in and I know very little. Last year I decided to go back to school, so there's that. Am I supposed to be a nurse? I sure hope so -- so we go after it with blazing fire. Took the pre-requisites, became a CNA, aced my TEAS test. Just waiting on that acceptance letter. Fitness has been a major part of my life for the past 6+ years and there's no doubt that I am supposed to do that and have been. But to what extent? Am I capable of pursuing it with blazing fire? 

 Part of making 2018 the year of MC has been to read more and read things that matter. Ironically, I chose the first book of this endeavor and it is titled "Start" by Jon Acuff. I've tried to read 1-2 chapters per day and I love his style of writing and the insight already. My first time reading I literally laughed out loud and shook my head after flipping to the back and seeing an appendix titled "10 Things to Do if You're Unemployed." In case you haven't picked up on that yet, I'm self-employed/unemployed. More on that later. 

Chapter 3, which I just read, discusses the "voices" that we all hear in our heads. These voices are the "dragons" of our journey, the things that aim to derail us and put doubt in our minds on the quest to "Awesome." The author encourages you to identify these voices; write them down as soon as you hear one and then share it, as chances are someone else is hearing the same one. So this is me, sharing my voices, negating them and hoping that maybe, just maybe someone else can benefit from knowing that you're not the only crazy person that hears voices. 

Voice #1 - You're not going to make it

This voice applies to a lot of scenarios in my life. The most glaring and ugly being my current employment situation. I was raised to be smart with money. My dad was an accountant and I was the youngest of 5 so my parents were very good at managing money and they did their best to pass that skill along to their children. (I also just want to say that it makes me nauseous to think about how much money my parents spent on various things for me throughout my life and dependence upon them and when I hit the Powerball or become Awesome, whichever happens first, they will be top priority and living in a mansion on whatever beach they prefer debt-free.) Now I'm not saying I haven't made some impulse purchases and such, but my husband hates shopping with me because I will have arms full of stuff and put all of it back because I can't commit. I read reviews on everything I buy and I have to crowdsource for big purchases. I don't like to stress about money. Let me preface the next few sentences by saying that I was not "fired." My current state of employment is unfortunate but it was something that was inevitable and was foreseen, but came several months earlier than anticipated. That being said, when I became self-employed/unemployed I was terrified to tell my husband. I waited for the "You need to find another job immediately" and the "We're eating Ramen for every meal until you're done with school," and by the Grace of God, I got a completely different answer - "We'll make it." 

.....

Say what? My frugal husband was calm as a cucumber and said "Just keep personal training and worrying about getting into nursing school and we'll make it." Ya girl had already started working on her "Welcome to Hardee's, Can I take your order?" and my husband had basically said "You can be a stay-at-home dog mom/part-time personal trainer until August when you become a full-time nursing student." TAKE THAT VOICE. 

That voice has also peeped up numerous other times in my life - deciding to compete in bodybuilding, shooting for powerlifting Nationals last year, boarding a flight on a sunny Thursday morning and just knowing it's going to go down with me on it (is anybody else like this? please let me know because I always think I'm going to be on the next Sully movie.)  This voice might creep up on you when you decide to take on a new goal or a new project. Don't listen to that voice - you will make it. You might not make it like you initially planned, but you'll make it. 

 

Voice #2 - You waited too long.

I got into fitness in 2011-2012 and started an Instagram account when Instagram had just become a thing. When I got on Instagram, the Amanda Bucci's and Christian Guzman's of the world had basically as many followers as I did. I tried the whole 50 hashtags thing and even tried to make a YouTube video once or twice but thought I looked stupid and quit. Now I look back and think man, these people who were once my equals are now making 6+ figures off of social media and get flown to Fitness Expos all expenses paid (granted they are also walking around holding a camera to their face the whole time but I mean they're making money doing it). And here I sit in North Carolina still propping my cell phone up against a dumb bell to film my workouts. I regret not pursuing that because if you ever look at their first few videos/posts - they looked pretty stupid too. The difference in them and me? They didn't listen to that voice and as a result they didn't quit. 

My decision to go back to school at 25 with a very expensive degree from a top Journalism school was scary. I started having those thoughts around this time last year and it took me until August to finally register for classes. "You're too old." "You waited too long." "It's stupid to go into more student debt." But, I tried using that degree, there is little opportunity to do so where I live and I don't like sitting at a desk. Oh you work at a fancy PR Firm and don't sit behind a desk? Good for you. I live in the middle of a corn field. Maybe that's just an excuse, but I just don't think it's something I could do the rest of my life and be happy. Unfortunately I didn't know this at age 20 before my brain fully developed and I knew what it was like to live in the real world. (I'm advocating for 18 year olds to go to community college and work for a few years before deciding on a major because I am also an advocate for the saying that you "Change a lot in your 20s" because it's true. Go to college late and figure out who you are when your brain isn't going to form another lobe and throw everything for a loop.) 

Powerlifting....oh boy is this a can of worms. I was squatting and benching in high school and I was good at it then. Unfortunately no one told me there was a competitive outlet for that. So I continued to be a sort-of decent athlete and thought I'd have to body build to be able to find a competitive outlet for fitness. I'm not going to say I wasted 4 years of training on bodybuilding because I do think I owe a lot of my strength to that, but I kick myself for not starting sooner. Can I go back and control time? No. Could I have possibly been injured or burned out by now? There's a good chance. So I just have to squash this voice and aim to be a pretty good mid-20's powerlifter. Only 10 ish years out from Masters. I'm coming for you!

 

Voice #3 - It'll never happen to you

Man if there's one voice we all hear I feel like it's this one. "You'll never be slim." "You'll never be financially stable." "You'll never be a mom." THIS VOICE SUCKS! Do we know what our life holds? Absolutely not. I say all the time now that I wish I could go back and tell 16 year old me what I know now. I shouldn't have gotten so mad about this thing or I shouldn't have wasted my time on that guy or you really should've switched your major, but I can't and I guess that's the big lesson learned of life. But there is no reason to doubt that something wonderful can happen to you. If you get fed up enough, you'll stick to your diet and you'll figure out how to be healthy and happy. Trust me because I've been there. I never thought I'd be to the place I am now where I can eat without stressing myself out. It takes time and lots of good people, but you will get there. If you work your butt off and are smart with your money, you can be financially stable. No, I don't have a direct line to the Stork but if it is God's will for you to have a baby, no doctor will be able to deny you that. And there are so many cute babies that need adopting so "Mom" is not out of reach for you.

This one is one of the hardest for me. Part of me says I want to be awesome and I want to be able to reach so many people and do something incredible and then part of me says "You know, I would be okay being a middle class American with a quiet life, a successful marriage and a big kitchen." And I don't know which part I will be, but I do know that I can only effect what is within my reach and the rest is out of my control. I can work hard and type up long blog posts that people probably don't even read and I can share more information about my life than I probably should and hope for the best. And I can annoy people with posts about my macros and my lifts and my dog because that is within my control. Can I control who sees it and what becomes of it? No. But I know that those voices are just voices. And that I AM in control of how I interpret them and how I respond to them. I decide if I quit or keep blazing along.

What are the voices in your head saying? What goals are they trying to talk you out of? Let 2018 be the year that you acknowledge those voices, negate them and share them. Don't fight them alone. So what if people think you're crazy? Everyone is. 

If you're interested in this book, find it on Amazon here.

Don't Crash the Plane

“You can’t imagine just how much believing in negative thoughts is affecting your life…until you stop.” 
― Charles F. Glassman

It's easy to think negatively. If we aren't optimistic, we can't be disappointed. If we don't try, we can't fail. It's easier to just keep thinking "what if" than to actually put in the work to be able to say "I did." 

Wait...

 

WHAT?!

I used to be that girl. I was that girl several times during several different seasons of my life. Some days I still am that girl. 

I can be the Queen of Excuses. I'll make them for me, for you, heck for the weather. If excuses burned calories, I would be shredded. 

But sometimes, you just have to get out of your own dang way! 

Positive thinking is a powerful thing. Rather than saying "oh that will never happen," think "what if it actually did happen?" or "it WILL happen!" Prayer and positive thinking can get you a long way in life. 

I really got into fitness my freshman year of college. I was in a new place with not that many friends and terrified of the Freshman 15, so I started going to the gym. It soon became my place of solitude and became a routine. From my freshman year to my senior year, I tried several times to be "lean" or even work towards a competition prep. Finally, my senior year I decided it was "now or never" and I hired a coach. I remember talking it over with Michael and I asked him "But what if this time isn't any different? What is to say that I won't get a few weeks in and quit like I always do?"

And in the next breath he said something to me that has never left me - "You've just gotta want it bad enough."

Enough.

Enough that I won't let myself quit. Enough that I will put in the work even when I don't want to. Enough that I will sacrifice what is necessary and think positively that this will happen. 

And it did. Since that moment that word has almost become my motto. Over the years, what it means to me has changed several times. But nevertheless, it is powerful. 

Love yourself enough that you will get out of your own way. Stop making excuses and thinking about what could be and make it be. We've only got one shot at this thing called life and you'll never know if you don't try.

And stop beating yourself up. Think positively about yourself and TO yourself. You are your own biggest advocate, but you're also your own worst critic. Sure, other people will root you on and help you along the way, but you have to execute and be kind to yourself. If you don't like you and you don't root for you, don't expect anyone else to either.

For every positive comment, you'll get two negative ones. People are looking for you to fail so they can feel better about not going after their goals. And you might fail - you probably will fail at some point. But failure doesn't mean you're finished. Pick yourself up and in the words of Aaliyah (May she RIP), dust yourself off and try again. Put your head down and work.

What if an airplane pilot said "Oh, I've hit a little turbulence, guess I've gotta crash the whole plane." 

Um NO! You get through it and keep flying. No matter how close the ground may seem, you keep that plane in the air. Your turbulence might be a busy schedule, it might be sickness or it might be stress. You might be yelling MAYDAY! with a bag of M&M's in hand - keep the plane in the air. Wake up the next day, forget about it, and ascend again. 

I want success for every single person that I talk to. I know how it feels to not know where to begin. But you have to figure it out and you have to begin. Let's think about the plane again - have you ever really felt comfortable during take-off? Planes take off into the wind. Your heart races a little, your stomach feels like it's in your feet and your ears are popping. But once you get in the air, you start to relax and get comfortable. Going after your goals is the same way. The beginning is going to be uncomfortable. You're not going to know where to begin, but you do. Before you know it your wheels are off the ground and you're climbing. You might hit a bad patch of air and dip down, but you keep climbing. And soon enough, you're at cruising altitude and you're comfortable. Things are a little bit easier. 

The patches of turbulence will always be there. Life is going to happen and you're going to have to adjust, but I promise you, if you keep flying the plane, you'll reach your destination. 

Consistency is Key

I think the biggest misconception about fitness/weight loss/muscle gain is that you have to suffer. And you don't. Sure, exercise of any type is not fun for some people. And that's okay. But it doesn't have to be miserable. 

The number one thing that I've seen contribute to success is consistency. Making something an integral part of each day or most days, to where it doesn't seem sporadic. This is key when it comes to "dieting." I had been in the gym for years on a fairly regular basis but it wasn't until I was consistent with my diet that I really saw results.

This is why tracking calories seems to work so well for people. Our bodies thrive off on consistency. Do you ever notice how much better you feel when you have a routine? Like that cup of hot coffee every morning at 7 am that allows you to form complete sentences. Without it, you feel off. Not quite right. Because your body expects it. 

I'm not always consistent with my diet. Especially around the holidays. I usually get very lazy and unmotivated and just kind of do what I want. There's nothing wrong with that. However, I can attest that everything else is better when I am. My digestive system works better, I feel better, my face is clearer, etc. And even at my best, a lot of times I'm only consistent 80% of the time. I always tell people "If you can be on your game Monday-Friday, 2-3 off meals on the weekend won't kill you" and it's true. You might not get to your goal as quickly, but you can still get there.

People come to me for personal training or coaching and say "Well how long do you think it will take before I start seeing results?" and I want to immediately say "Well how long can you be consistent?" Something's gotta give. If you can get on a routine with exercise and really bust it in the gym, that's great, but you can't leave and go face plant in a doughnut every day. 

What helped me get consistent? First, think about how hard you work in the gym. Especially if you don't particularly enjoy it. Do you really want to go erase that hard work with a day of careless eating? I know I sure don't. Second, it's convienent. If I plan ahead and have food prepared each day, I don't have to waste time and energy figuring out what's for lunch. Third, it saves money. Which in turn can pay for your gym membership, those training sessions that you'd like to have, or that new gym outfit. 

Make your goals a priority, and consistency will come easily. You will have an easier time saying no to the office cookies and a harder time canceling your gym session. You don't have to be perfect by any means. But you need to be diligent. 

19 Days and Counting...

There are 19 days left in 2016. It feels like 2015 was only 19 days ago. Funny when you look back how fast time flies. But it's also funny how a 12 week fat loss phase feels like it lasts 12 years. But when you take a second and think about how fast this year has gone by, think about how much closer (or even past) your goals you could be if you had started January 1, 2016. 

January marks a new year and for most people, the quest to be a new you. Whether you want to be stronger, be skinnier, be smarter, be more successful, etc. etc., chances are you're thinking about what you'll start on January 1. The biggest problem I see with New Year's Resolutions is the lack of a plan. People say "Oh, I'll start in the New Year" and before you know it (here's that time thing again), it's New Year's and you have no idea how to even start. And before you know it, you've given up and are going to wait until next week, next month, or even next year. 

Don't let this be another year of failed resolutions. Regardless of what your goal is, start making a plan NOW. You don't have to start today, but if you have a plan in place when you do start, your chances of success will be much greater. It doesn't have to be a plan that I gave you, the internet gave you, or your friend gave you. Figure out what YOUR plan should be, what YOU can stick with and execute it to the best of your ability.

Be flexible. No plan ever goes off without a hitch. It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. One slip-up isn't going to derail your progress. Take each one as a learning experience, re-group, adjust your plan, and move forward. If you realize you don't like something, don't do it. Make it fun, enjoy the process and reward yourself for the small victories. 

And be patient. Just because you don't see results in a week, doesn't mean you won't see them the next week. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your goal. Have you ever gotten a PHD in a week? Didn't think so. Small successes add up to big victories and you will be amazed what you an accomplish in just a few weeks if you don't quit. 

I want success for every person that asks me for help. And unfortunately I can usually tell within a few conversations whether they will be successful or not. I will help someone as much as I possibly can within my scope of practice, but there's got to be some initiative. You've got to want it and have the desire to reach your goals. There's a difference in wanting it and wanting it enough. That difference will be what wakes you up early each morning. It will be what gets you through long days. It will be what helps you plan ahead. It's not going to be easy. But I can promise you it will be worth it. 

So start working on your plan. 19 days and counting to make your plan. Heck, start early if you want! But don't do it alone and don't do it unprepared. Find someone that can help you and trust them. Find someone that can hold you accountable and confide in them. And find someone that can push you and let them motivate you. 

Over the next 19 days I want to share strategies and tips that have helped me set goals and reach them. I'm not perfect and there are many goals I haven't reached yet. There are many goals I've worked for and failed. If there wasn't, I wouldn't be human. Share your goals for the New Year with me in the comments below or email me. I want to be excited for you and hold you accountable. Let's do this 2017 thing together!