WARNING: This is not going to be your usual RKC blog post. If you are already getting the results you want, then this article is not for you. My words are for someone who is tired of piss-poor outcomes and honestly wants progress.
Throughout my life, I’ve jumped blindly from one type of workout to another in pursuit of such progress. I was kind of like that old cartoon character, Mr. Magoo.
All progress requires change, but not all change is progress. Why did I experience change without progress?
I’ve come to realize that I failed to follow certain essential ideas that separate the GREATS from the mediocre masses. These ideas may be simple and easy to do, but what is easy to do is also easy not to do.
If you are tired of seeing subpar results – or none at all – then read on.
If you are ready for change that is truly progress, then read on.
Idea #1: Decide what it is that you want. Decide your goal!
Zig Ziglar tells a story about a champion archer named Howard Hill, who has NEVER been beaten in open competition. Of the 267 competitions he has entered, he has won 267 times. However, Zig always asserts that Hill can be defeated:
“I’ll bet you that, in a few hours, I could having you hitting a target more consistently than him . . . IF I blindfolded him, spun him around a few times, and moved him before he shot!”
The moral of the story? Even a champion can’t hit a target if he or she doesn’t know where it is.
How can you achieve something if you aren’t clear about precisely what you want?
If you asked the average person to share their fitness goals, you might hear the following comments:
“I want to be healthy.”
“I want to tone my body.”
“I want to get in shape.”
“I want to get stronger.”
“I want to get cut.”
These goals are admirable, but they’re also too vague. How will these people know when they’re healthy, toned, in shape, or cut? They need to define exactly what they want to accomplish. We all do.
My father-in-law once told me a joke about two people who failed to do this: Sven and Ole. (I live in Minnesota, home to many tales about these Scandinavian farmer friends.)
One snowy winter day, Sven and Ole went hunting and managed to get a deer. The two friends struggled as they attempted to drag it back to the truck. Seeing their exhaustion, another hunter approached to offer a suggestion: “Hey, instead of pullin’ dat deer by the tail, try takin’ it by the horns. Dat’ll be easier.” Sven and Ole followed his advice, grabbed the horns, and continued on their way.
After a few minutes, Ole said to Sven, “Ya know, dat hunter was right! Dis is much easier.” Sven responded, “Ya, sure is. But we’re gettin’ farder and farder away from de truck.”
Sven and Ole were doing something that worked, but they were doing it with no consideration as to what they REALLY wanted.
As you take on your own challenge, avoid Sven and Ole-style slip-ups.
Ask yourself: WHAT IS MY CLEARLY DEFINED GOAL?
Idea #2: Once you have your goal, identify why you want it!
Why is this important to you? I don’t mean the superficial why. I mean the deep, EMOTIONAL reason you have for wanting your goal.
Years ago, a buddy’s girlfriend broke up with him. My friend was obviously heartbroken, but with his depression came motivation: he decided to transform his body.
By a few months after the break-up, my friend had gotten a new hairstyle, bought new clothes, changed his eating habits, and dropped a significant amount of body fat. He had even developed new moves on the basketball court. WHY? He knew he was going to see his ex-girlfriend, and he wanted her to regret breaking up with him.
I’m not sure whether she regretted it, but my point is that my friend was able to transform himself because he had a compelling cause for doing so. He didn’t succeed because of a simple desire to see his abs. He succeeded because he had a deep, EMOTIONALLY-CHARGED WHY!
If your why isn’t big enough, your focus and consistency won’t last long.
Ask yourself: WHAT IS MY WHY?
IDEA #3: Once you have your goal and know why you want to reach it, become aware of where you are now.
When we look for particular stores in shopping malls (my local behemoth is the Mall of America), we’re often at a loss until we locate a map with those ever-helpful words: “You are here.”
When we use a GPS or smartphone app to seek directions, we need to know our current location to find out where to go.
Why would beginning a fitness plan be any different?
The act of becoming aware of where you are starting out can be your single greatest tool for further improvement.
Unfortunately, many people neglect to take this step. What a pity! They have no idea of how long it will take to achieve their goals, or if those goals are even realistic.
One such person is a student at the school where I work. Let’s call him Jay. The other day, he came up to me in the hall – the fifth time he’s done so in the last two years. Jay told me that he wanted to get in shape, as he has during every previous conversation we’ve had.
“But this time’s different,” he promised. “I’m serious now, and I need your help.”
I asked Jay what he meant by “get in shape,” and challenged him to specify his fitness goals by writing down some actual numbers. He did so. Once I knew his precise aims, we talked about his reasons for wanting to reach them. The first two of my key ideas in action!
Applying my third idea, I asked Jay, “Where are you now?” He responded with that oft-heard phrase of teenage nonchalance: “I don’t know.” I suggested that he come into the gym so that we could assess his starting point.
Although Jay promised to follow up, two weeks have passed without a word from him. Two wasted weeks in which he is not making any progress towards where he wants to be.
Please, do me a favor: Don’t be like Jay. Don’t let denial or laziness impede you at the very outset of your course. Empower yourself by informing yourself.
If your goal is strength, how strong are you now?
If you want to burn fat, then what is your body fat percentage now?
If you want to perform more work in a specific amount of time, how much work can you do now?
Ask yourself: WHERE AM I NOW?
You’re probably thinking: “It all seems too simple. I already know all of this.”
That may be the case, but there’s a difference between knowing and doing. You may be familiar with these ideas, but are you living them?
Formulate your goal. Determine the reasons why you MUST accomplish it. Become aware of what you are doing now.
These concepts are game-changers, with the potential to turn any program from lackadaisical and lackluster into something profoundly powerful. Add them to your program and watch your results improve. Though they may seem basic, their impact will be anything but.
Cortez Hull is a Senior RKC, FMS specialist, PCC instructor, and Police Training instructor. He is known as the consummate learner, and is available for program design, HKC workshops, and preparation for the RKC. Email him HERE.