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Well, the NEW YEAR is officially here and I wanted to catch you, before you jump in and set a bunch of health and fitness goals. On today’s episode, I’m going to walk you through the 3 most common mistakes that I see people making all the time when they’re setting goals. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen to you, too, this year.
My parents have a big boat that they keep in the San Juan Islands in Washington, and we absolutely love to visit their boat for the weekend. It’s got an autopilot feature. So you chart out on the map where you want to go, you set the course and mark the turn points, and then let the autopilot take over.
Well, this sophisticated system went haywire in quite a hilarious way. One day, my parent’s had charted their course and were letting the autopilot do its thing, and then suddenly, without warning, the boat completely started spinning. It changed directions so fast, careening to the side, sending everything flying. And they had no idea what happened.
Turns out, the compass for the boat is tucked away below deck in a cupboard right behind where my mom kept the charger for the handheld vacuum cleaner. When she plugged in the vacuum, it created enough of a magnetic charge to pull the compass off its course, sending the entire ship careening off course. Dangerously so.
We’ve joked about that for years, how something so small and seemingly insignificant can have such a major impact and basically drive the boat.
Now the point of that story is to show you that if all your ducks aren’t in a row, and seemingly insignificant mistakes aren’t taken into account, the course you set out on this year could end in disaster.
Now, I know you’re probably either one of two people:
Regardless of which type of person you are, when it comes to your health and your fitness, you HAVE to set some goals. Without a goal, you’re going to be completely rudderless. You have no engine driving you, you’re completely adrift, and you have no idea where you’re going.
And when you set bad goals, you’re like my parent’s boat - all the good intentions are there to reach your destination, but some random thing crops up and you’re totally thrown off course.
We usually set goals when we’re HIGHLY motivated. Coming right off the holidays, when you might feel at your unhealthiest, and you’re the most “off track”, you will inevitably be extremely motivated to do big, grand things. To make BIG changes in your habits.
“I’m going to drop 30 pounds in three months.”
“I’m going to workout every day of the week.”
“I’m going to cut out all sugars and junk food.”
Those goals require extreme levels of motivation for an extended period of time, which is next to impossible.
Set a goal that matches your lowest levels of motivation. It’s common and normal to have highs and lows with your motivation, over the course of the week, the month, and the year. Motivation is like an emotion, it ebbs and flows. Totally normal. Think about what it feels like when your motivation is on the lower side, when your thoughts are:
“I don’t feel like it today.”
“What’s the point?”
“I’m not in the mood.”
The goals and the plans that you create need to match THAT level of motivation. This is not a cop out or setting yourself up for failure. Rather, this is being realistic and choosing actions that are actually sustainable because you can still do it, even when you don’t feel motivated.
This is the mistake of “same-same”. You look around and see what everyone else is doing, so you plan to do that. Or you look back at what you’ve done in the past, and you plan to do that.
“I used to run 30 minutes every other day and felt great when I did, so I’m going to get back to doing that again.”
“My friends are going to this Crossfit gym or doing Orange Theory 3 days a week, so I think I’ll join them.
Set a goal that matches YOU in YOUR current season of life. Where is your body at right now? Do you have injuries you need to address, and would doing Orange Theory or a 30-day push-up challenge make them worse? What are your time constraints right now? What logistical constraints do you have?
(This is where you have to really be picky about accountability partners. If you’re going to have an accountability partner, send them this podcast episode to listen to, so you’re both on the same page. Keep in mind that as accountability partners, you do NOT need to have the same goals - in fact you probably shouldn’t because you’re two very different people. Create your own goals separately, and then you can hold each other accountable to THOSE.)
I’d say that this is probably the most common mistake and the most fatal. As a professional, there are so many times where I want to say to someone, “Just let me help you! Stop trying to figure this out on your own!”
We live in an era where we have whatever information we want at our fingertips at the drop of the hat. We have Youtube videos, and podcasts, and articles, and Instagram gurus. And because we’re viewing all the information, we convince ourselves that we have the capacity to implement the information all by ourself.
I’ve been watching a show recently on HGTV called, “Help! I Wrecked My House!” The show is all about DIYers that try to do all these big projects on their own, and they have no idea what they’re doing. Finally, they admit that they’re not getting anywhere and they call in the professionals, and then, and only then, do they get the house of their dreams.
Set a goal and create a plan that does not involve you DIY’ing it. I know, right now, that as I’m saying this you’re shrugging your shoulders and checking out. You love to do it yourself, you want to do it yourself, and the last thing you want to admit is that you can’t do it yourself. That alone feels like a failure.
But let me ask you this: Would you rather DIY it and never reach your goals, or get some help and actually reach your goals this time? Think about that.
If you’re ready to stop DIY’ing and get some professional help, I have plenty of online training programs that are very reasonably priced that will guide you step-by-step through exactly what you need to help you feel your absolute best. My Jumpstart 30 program is the absolute best place to start, and I start a new cohort through the program every Monday. If you’re not sure which of my programs is the best fit for you, just reach out to me and I’ll point you in the right direction.
As you step forward into 2023, I want this year to look different for you. I really do want this to be the year that you got really fit, you got healthy and strong, and you made your body a priority in a sustainable way. But that’s just not going to happen if you make these mistakes.
Your action steps now are to spend some time thinking about what your body needs most, rethinking how you’re going to proceed and making sure you don’t make any mistakes with your goals moving forward. The last thing I want is for you to be like a boat spinning around in the middle of the sea, completely off course and getting nowhere. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen this year.
Ready to work with Megan? Click here for Jumpstart 30!
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