There are more than 100 days left in 2020.
That gives you plenty of time to set some goals and make big strides towards them. But in order to do that, you’ll need to take this magical “F” word to heart.
I’m talking about… FOCUS! Focus is knowing what to do, what to cut, where to double-down and when to say no so you can say yes to what matters.
Focus is a powerful thing. Imagine if you focused all of your energy on one diet and exercise plan for the last 100 or so days of 2020.
Follow One Course Until Successful. That’s the acronym, and that’s how you get to the promised land.
Because it’s too easy to turn “I’ll start on Monday” into “I’ll start Jan. 1” and keep putting things off or jumping from quick fix to magic pill.
So let’s take a look into your future, shall we? It’s Jan. 15, 2021. You sheepishly step on the scale to see the damage you did, and realize you’ve put on more weight than you thought over the last few months, especially during the holidays.
It’s going to take a monstrous effort to reverse the damage. But what if, instead of being dejected and upset in January, you had simply made some changes now and found balance?
What will your friends think when you show up at New Year’s Eve in that perfect outfit that fits just right?
What will their reaction be when you tell them you don’t have any special “off-limit” foods and you aren’t on keto? (They’ll probably ask that question after you go for a second helping of dessert.)
You’ll be proud of what you’ve accomplished. You’re going to look at that scale and smile.
Frankly, there’s no shame in saying now isn’t the right time. That’s your prerogative and it’s cool either way. There’s no judgment here.
But there’s a real risk in putting things off for another day at any time of the year. More than you may realize. I first came across the concept of diminishing intent from author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn some years ago and was reminded of it recently in a conversation with a prospective client.
He told me how badly he wants to change, how much the weight is costing him in his day-to-day life, and how he knows it may cost him his life if he doesn’t do something. But then he ended the conversation with “I think I’ll wait for January when I can give it more attention.”
This is the trigger for the law of diminishing intent. The law basically states that there is an optimal and critical moment of readiness to take action.
As time passes from that critical moment, your motivation diminishes, and you move further away from your goal.
Let’s say you currently have 25 pounds to lose. And let’s assume you say now’s the time and you do everything right and lose it just in time for Christmas.
Now, let’s say you delay starting until the new year and gain an extra five pounds between then and now — you now have more pounds to lose. You’ve now increased both the time and difficulty of your weight-loss journey.
Because, let’s be honest, if you wait for the stars to align you’ll be waiting a long time.
There is never, ever going to be a perfect time to start.
I’ll start after my holidays this month… then it’s Thanksgiving… then it’s Christmas… then once the kids are out of school for spring break.
See where I’m going here?
Let’s imagine another scenario. You start making changes now because the best way to be the person you want to become is to act like that person would act today.
Nail the basics like a football team that practises blocking and tackling day after day. Limit your calories. Move your body. Sleep a bit more.
Start there and keep it simple.
Case in point, I had a few amazing testimonials come in this past week and checked out their history of activity. Time and again they were at least 80 per cent consistent in eating under their calorie limit, completing workouts and checking in with me on Mondays. The basics. Simple. But not easy.
Comparison is the thief of joy
Comparison can make or break you (and it’s often the latter if you only view things through a social media lens).
It’s one of the leading causes of why focus is such a lost art these days. On social media we only see the highlight reel. We celebrate success. The “after” photo.
But we should celebrate the process, which makes all the difference. I’ve come to realize that a person’s success is directly correlated to the amount of setbacks they can tolerate before throwing in the towel.
You might be surprised to find there are days I totally want to quit coaching and go back to the nine-to-five life. I have bad days where someone does something that triggers all those old insecurities that lie under the surface.
What you don’t see on social media is the full story. What you don’t see is the years of self-doubt, pain, setbacks, insecurity and criticism that were necessary parts of the process along the way to get here.
My only secret is that I kept going, first in losing 60 pounds and then in building a coaching practice from scratch.
Why am I telling you this? Progress is hard, but if you stay the course, success is inevitable with the right plan and persistence.
Weight loss. Business. Whatever. But if you don’t stay the course and get caught up comparing your Chapter 2 to someone’s Chapter 20, you’ll always be jumping from one quick fix to the next, never getting traction.
So, next time you hit a snag, look at the problem, understand it and see if there’s an obvious solution.
Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavy set in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life. Need help getting back into the swing of things? Email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in losing up to 20 pounds in his next Drop 2 Sizes coaching program.