I know you have heard time and time again that unless your desired outcome has a deadline it is a dream and not a goal. We have all heard of SMART goal setting. Can’t forget that “T”- time bound right? Well I’m not so sure that the experts got it right when it comes to fitness deadlines and here’s why… fitness deadlines have made me GAIN weight.
Yes I am coming clean on fitness deadlines. As a driven, motivated person who used to compete in fitness competitions, I used to live and die by fitness deadlines. Like really. Twelve-week contest preps, eight-week photo shoot preps, four-week vacation preps- that was my LIFE. The thing is it worked for a while but eventually I got burned out on the deadlines and that is when things got ugly- REALLY UGLY.
I COULDN’T EAT HEALTHY AND TRAIN HARD FOR ANY LONGER THAN TWO DAYS.
I thought I was going through a mid-life crisis way early because no matter what plan I chose to follow, I could do it for two days tops and then I would crash. I would rebel. I would rage against the machine. The problem was I was TIRED, FATIGUED, WORN OUT. I was so focused on getting to the end, the number, the look that I would wear myself out mentally in just two days. I couldn’t keep myself going on the plan because the goal (even when only a few pounds) seemed so out of reach.
I SECOND GUESSED EVERYTHING
Every time I decided to get strict to produce a *specific outcome* in a set time, I became overwhelmed with the smallest daily decisions- OK obsessed. I would drink my coffee and wonder if I should have skipped the cream. I would pass on the fro-yo with the family and wonder if it would lead to a binge on the granola later that night. I didn’t have any peace about anything I was doing to reach the goal because …
I WAS AFRAID TO MAKE A MISTAKE
Here’s the thing about fitness deadlines. When you decide that you need to attain a very specific goal by a certain time, THE LITTLE THINGS COUNT. I won’t sugar coat that at all. If you want to look like a bikini model in 12 weeks, you best stay on the plan and not fool yourself into believing that the copious amount of ketchup that you are covering your chicken breast with will not make a difference. It will. Doesn’t this sound a little crazy and a little stressful? It is and here’s what began to happen with each new deadline I placed on myself…
I STARTED TO GAIN WEIGHT
You can probably see that this whole thing was a big mess. Deadlines, second-guessing, and fear all lead to more weight instead of less. How did THAT happen?
Well here’s the deal. Even as a very experienced fitness coach I didn’t immediately see what I was doing wrong. I started to secretly wonder if I had joined the ranks of those who taught because they couldn’t DO. Ouch right? I KNEW what I had accomplished in the past and I was DEAD SET on not becoming THAT TRAINER- you know the one that gets everyone else in shape besides themselves. Seriously I was quoting I Corinthians 9:27 all day- “I will not preach to others and be disqualified from the *prize* MYSELF” (totally paraphrased here).
So what would I do with each failed deadline? Gather myself, loosen the reigns (eat what I wanted), and gear up to do THE SAME THING all again. Yes that does sound like insanity- it IS! All of that *gathering myself* led to extra pounds until I finally discovered…
WHAT I WAS DOING WRONG?
In short I was doing to myself the exact opposite of what I recommend to my clients. I was OUTCOME FOCUSED. Here’s the trick with my clients, I have them focus SOLELY on the actions and I take on the responsibility of focusing on the outcome and how the plan needs to be adjusted to get the desired outcome. BUT I was both coach and client during these times and to be honest I spent way too much mental space in the coach realm (focusing on the outcome) and way too little mental space in the client realm (focusing on the actions).
Sure I knew exactly which steps would get me closer to my desired outcome but that was NOT what I was focusing on- I was focusing on the progress, the numbers, and the look. I am happy to be able to tell you that I have STOPPED THE MADNESS and finally started the process of putting deadlines to work FOR ME instead of against me. I haven’t gotten it perfect yet but I am on my way and super glad about it. So how can you put deadlines to work FOR you? You guessed it- you will have to check back for my article on that subject next week. Don’t you just love suspense?