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Get set for success

Motivating article by Dr Bod

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Welcome to the first in a series of monthly articles exclusively written for LA Muscle Magazine, providing unique advice and suggestions that will help you optimise your health wellbeing and reduce the risk of developing disease. We all know about the benefits of regular exercise and good nutrition, and many of you have probably made a New Year's resolution to either lose weight or build muscle (or both!). I decided to start this series by focussing on what is probably the most difficult hurdle for many of us - staying motivated! Plus, don't miss out on a fantastic opportunity for one lucky person. Read on to find out more…

"I have no time" or "I'm too busy" - Sound familiar?

"I have no energy left" - Does this feel like you?

Not seeing fast results letting you down?

How many times have you started a fitness or health program, only to give up too soon before reaping the rewards?

Do you commonly come across obstacles, such as getting sick, or having too much work to do?

We've all been there, really making an effort to make a change, yet not keeping the promises we made to ourselves. This is not only found in health and fitness challenges, but also in a wide variety of other areas in our lives. What would it feel like to know that you do indeed have the power to get motivated right now, and most importantly, STAY motivated, thereby achieving all your goals, ambitions and dreams? Just imagine what you could achieve!

I'll let you in on the secret weapon that led to my success, despite all the obstacles. Just like you, I've trekked through peaks and valleys in my life, such as career decisions, relationship and marital issues, maintaining work/life balance, difficulties with family and friends, financial hardship, and of course, keeping motivated and on-track in my new fitness and nutrition plan. There was a time where all my problems had piled together and collapsed on me in one go! One fortunate day, a very good friend pointed me in the right direction. I started to read many articles and books, and attended several seminars. I learned that the quality of our life is not determined by the events that take place, but rather by our perceptions and responses to these events. We may not be able to change certain unfortunate incidents, whether in the past, present, or the future, but we do have the ability to change our perceptions and reactions in a way that serves us and those we care about well. What's more, there is always something positive to learn from seemingly tragic experiences.

One of my goals is to have a more muscular, lean, and healthy body, but to date, there was always something keeping me from achieving my dream. I was getting fed up of trying to start a new exercise and diet programme, never making it past the first few weeks. With my newly found secret weapon, I took on a whole new approach to everything in my life, and made the commitment that absolutely nothing would stop me from achieving my aspirations! You may be wondering what my secret weapon is, and I'll gladly tell you - Life Coaching.

Thanks to the regular consultations with my personal Life Coach, I've been able to keep on track, and stick to my new exercise, nutritional, and lifestyle program. I've been through a knee injury, asthma, a viral illness, career changes, marital problems, and even moving home - but nothing has stopped me! I've not only taken steps towards achieving my goals, but I've also been passionately learning how to pass on my experiences and help others by also becoming a professional Life Coach.

Life coaching is dramatically increasing in popularity amongst many celebrities, businessmen and women, politicians, and professional athletes. Coaching blends the best concepts from psychology, philosophy, business and sports, with the Coach acting as an advocate, a sounding board, a truth teller, an accountability partner, a motivator and a supporter. By clarifying your true goals, beliefs and values, a Life Coach can help co-create strategies and offer practical guidance that will help you to reach those dreams and achieve well-deserved success!

I'm now going to offer you valuable tips and tricks so that you can do some "DIY coaching" from the comfort of your own home. Not only can you use these simple and effective techniques for getting and maintaining the motivation you need to stick to your new health and fitness program, but you can also use them to deal with many other aspects of your life. Answer the questions as fully and as honestly as you can. There are no right or wrong answers, but they will help to provide clarity. All that will be left to do from here is to take action. Remember, this is not a race - so take your time, dig deep in your thoughts, and be committed to putting them into practise for the best results.

Here goes…Get Set for Success:

1. If there was nothing to stop you, and I mean nothing, what would you like to achieve? Ignore time, money, job, family and any other obstacles - just DREAM! What do YOU really want? Make sure it's something you want, and not what you think others are expecting from you, or perhaps others would like. Imagine you're Aladdin, and you have three wishes (you are allowed as many wishes as you like, but prioritise them and deal with them in turn):
a.
b.
c.

2. Let's get to the root of "motivation" - we find "motive", so in order to stay motivated, we need to clarify and focus on our motives or reasons for change. For each wish, state three reasons why you want them? The best and most empowering reasons that will keep you on track and motivated will be the reasons you want each wish for yourself, not for anyone or anything else:
a. Wish one;
i.
ii.
iii.
b. Wish two;
i.
ii.
iii.
c. Wish three;
i.
ii.
iii.

3. This time describe how your life will feel, what it will look like, or even what it will sound like when each of your three wishes are granted? Be as colourful and imaginative as you like:
a. Wish one

b. Wish two

c. Wish three

4. What's standing in your way and stopping you from achieving those wishes right now? When training or on a diet, be prepared for the plateaus. Stick with it, and it WILL pay off! Describe two or three (if any) obstacles for each wish:
a. Wish one

b. Wish two

c. Wish three

5. For each obstacle, write down what needs to be done to overcome them? Where are you going to seek help from to get you through these barriers?

6. List five qualities, traits, or characteristics you value, and explain why they're important to you?
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

7. Give three examples of situations you've seen or experienced for each of these qualities, explaining how and why they've served you well?
a.
i.
ii.
iii.

b.
i.
ii.
iii.

c.
i.
ii.
iii.

d.
i.
ii.
iii.

e.
i.
ii.
iii.

8. Do you possess all these qualities? If not, state which you wish you could develop and have? Plan a strategy to achieving these qualities over the next three months.

9. Go back to your wishes and make sure they're in line with your core values and qualities. It's no use wishing for a six-pack if you like to go out and have a six-pack of beer with your mates!

10. Now list the goals you have achieved in the past five years.

11. What were the factors that helped you achieve the goals you have reached?

12. What goals have you not yet achieved?

13. What were the factors or obstacles stopping you from achieving these goals?

Sometimes the obstacles can be our disempowering belief systems. I want you to really take the time to dissect and examine your beliefs, and determine where the truth really stands. Look at the results of your beliefs and see if they are the results you desire. Are your beliefs bringing you more freedom, motivation and power, or are they resulting in a sense of guilt, weakness and conflict? As my personal coach says, "Truth is not insecure, it doesn't mind being examined! When people are too scared to examine what they believe, it is a sure sign that they are a slave to their beliefs."

14. List your belief systems, describing how they have served you? Take your time to really dig deep on this, finding the underlying reasons why you may have not achieved your goals so far.

15. Now change your perspective on those disempowering beliefs. For example:

Negative belief or perspective:
"It's too hard. It never works out right. I never have time to eat right or exercise. How can I lose weight when I'm under stress? It's my genetics / metabolism!"

New liberating perspective / belief:

"I am in control of the health and of my body by pursuing a healthy lifestyle which includes daily exercise, healthy food and plenty of rest and fun."

16. Almost done - by now you will have learnt a great deal about yourself, and you'll have clarified your goals and wishes that agree with your core values. Now all you need to do is align your thoughts and actions together with your goal. In plane English, to lose 10lbs of fat by the end of January, you must act in accordance with that goal by eating right and taking up regular exercise. Right? Sounds easy? Ok, I want you to make a list of actions you must do in order to achieve each one of your goals / wishes. For example, if you want to lose weight, you could plan to consult a doctor or fitness consultant who would prescribe an exercise and diet plan. You could then arrange regular monthly appointments for a check up, a weigh-in, measurement of body-fat percentage, and added motivation and guidance for the month ahead.

17. Goals need to be SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. So, for each wish / goal, state what you want in line with SMART.
For example,

I want to lose two inches off my waist (specific).

I will know when I have achieved this by measuring the inches lost (measurable).

Can I lose two inches within a month? Can I afford to sacrifice my cravings for sweets? If your answer is "yes", then your goal is achievable.

Goals need to be realistic, but that does not mean to say that you cannot aim high. Sure, you can compete and win a marathon, but set smaller targets or "baby steps" that you can easily achieve, and build your way up step-by-step.

I will lose two inches by the end of January 2006 (time-bound).

18. Keep a journal or diary, writing down your goals, strategies, beliefs, perceptions, values, action plans, wins, experiences and thoughts. When you're having a tough time, or lacking motivation, look back at your journal and review your successes.

19. I want you to also review your goals and motives / reasons, re-installing your motivation EVERYDAY. Just by thinking positively, you are influencing your actions and maintaining your desire to succeed. When you wake up, stand in front of the mirror and say something positive to yourself, "I feel healthy - I look strong - I am motivated. I am achieving my goals right now!"

20. Stick up some inspiring photos and posters and look at them regularly. Perhaps you can include some before & after shots of others who've achieved similar goals. Remember to take photos and measure yourself at intervals, for example every month.

21. Timing - exercising at the same time each day will ward off excuses like you're too busy. Plan ahead for days you have important meetings or deadlines, and re-arrange your exercise to suit you. The best time of day to exercise is the time that's convenient for you.

22. Regular exercise does not have to be an hour on the treadmill or hitting the weights every day. Variety is the spice of life after all, so introduce exercise that suits your character and lifestyle. If you're competitive, join a team, go racing, play tennis or football. If you prefer, go dancing, hiking, climbing or horse riding (fantastic for the abs!). If you prefer to be alone, try yoga, cycling, or walking / jogging in the park. Just make sure you start slowly and build up the intensity gradually.

23. Team up with friends, family, or colleagues and motivate each other. It's well worth investing in your health by hiring the help of a personal trainer & nutritionist, who can offer more support and advice.

24. Do listen to your body - taking a brief time off training or reducing its intensity can work wonders and bring you back bouncing with energy and drive! If you miss a work-out, don't beat yourself up - simply learn from this and quickly get back into your routine.

25. Pre-plan a reward or prize for yourself that will be sure to motivate and inspire you to achieve your goal. This can be a holiday, a DVD, new clothes, or even a new car - it's your choice! Also include some short-term goals. Something that helps me is to take a day off every week, doing whatever I like and eating whatever I want. With this in mind, I have found it tremendously easier to stick to my diet and exercise routine the remaining six days of the week.

26. Above all, keep your new healthy lifestyle fun! Listen to music, set personal bests and beat them, enter competitions, join support groups, make bets with friends as to who will lose the most weight in a set time… be creative and do whatever it takes to enjoy yourself!


Well done! You will achieve your goals, and now have the power to stay focussed and motivated. There will be some tough times, its not going to be easy, but it will be worth every effort.

Best wishes for the New Year!

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