Having an ultimate goal is important, but sometimes it can be a long process to get there. This is why setting smaller goals to be achieved along the journey is important. It gives you something in the short term to work towards and be successful while on path towards the larger goal. This form of planning also helps to avoid feeling overwhelmed from the end goal. An example is breaking down a 3-month goal to lose 25 lbs. into two-week short-term goals to lose four to five pounds - five pounds sounds much less intimidating than twenty-five!
2. Count Macros
Consistency in diet is arguably more important than consistency in the gym. Proper nutrition will influence everything from what your physique looks like to athletic performance. Counting macros is a method of measure that helps you give your body consistently the same nutrition and ratio of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fat. Learning to eat foods that will help you be successful, as well as improve your health, is a great tool to increase motivation and consistency (dietary and in the gym). The saying ‘you are what you eat’ is very true!
3. Weigh & Measure Everything
A key factor to making counting macros successful is weighing and measuring all of the food you plan to eat. Consistency in diet is easily achieved by measuring, it’s when you ‘eye ball’ or simply guess the measurement of what you are eating that you run into problems. What looks like 5 ounces does not always weigh 5 ounces and it’s easy to be deceived. There are times like at parties or out to dinner when measuring is not possible, but when at home always measure!
4. Always Prepare Ahead of Time
From personal experience, the lack of preparation is the number one culprit for failing to keep my consistency in my diet and in the gym. There’s so many excuses ranging from ‘there’s not enough time,’ or ‘I couldn’t wait because I was starving!’ When I say be prepared ahead of time, I do not mean the morning of or an hour before. It means that you prepare all of your food the day before because there are no excuses when it’s already finished. It also means that you organize your day the night before to make sure there is time for the gym. Life happens, and no one is on point all of the time, but going out of your way to set aside gym time leaves less room for excuse not to go.
5. Plan Cheats
I’ve met very few individuals in life that do not desire cheat meals. Almost everyone I know has a food vice, like ice cream, steak or French fries. I am motivated to stay healthy as much as the next fit individual, but I LOVE sweets. Saying to myself that I’ll never eat sweets again or I’ll only have them once every eight weeks is absurd. I usually allow myself cheat meals every two weeks and plan it into my week ahead of time. But, everyone is different. Some people find that a weekly cheat meat motivates them to stay on point with their diet all week long. Point being, you need to find the healthy number of cheat meals that will keep you on track all the other days or weeks between.
6. Train Smart
I used to refer to my log book as my bible because there’s literally a year worth of workouts and meal plans in that notebook. I used to be a slave to that thing! If I wrote down that I had to do 16 reps at 65 pounds, then I absolutely HAD to get ALL of those done. This kind of mentality is ridiculous! I’m not saying you shouldn’t work hard, but pushing yourself to the point of injury or exhaustion is not smart. This results in resenting what you’re doing rather than motivating you to do more. Listen to your body! Take days off when needed and make sure enough recovery is planned into your goals.
7. Surround Yourself with Motivation
There’s many ways of finding motivation, such as a picture of your favorite athlete in your sport or bodybuilder in your division. Some people find inspiration from those that succeed even when significantly disadvantaged. Or, some people work harder in the gym when surrounded by a good vibe. Whatever it is that lights your fire, make sure it is everywhere. This includes your environment and the people you choose to surround yourself with. And most importantly, people that do not support your goals and dreams, should NOT have a place in your life! Keep your circle limited to those who push you to be better, to work harder and support you.
8. Accountability, Support and Positive Attitude
Tell everyone the end goal you’re trying to achieve. It’s a lot harder to look at someone else and tell them you fell short than looking in a mirror. I’ve found that the more people know what I’m trying to do, the harder it makes me work - probably for the simple fact that I do not want to embarrass myself! If you’re a more private person, tell your spouse or find a coach or your best friend. When I tell someone that I respect what I’m trying to accomplish, it makes me work harder for that goal because I do not want to disappoint them. The point is to make yourself answer to someone else! But, choose those that you tell wisely. Having support is a huge help in achieving your goals and staying consistent and motivated throughout the process because every day is not going to be a winner! In fact, the most successful people I know have told me they failed a lot more than succeeded. Failures create a lot more opportunity for growth than success. But, even when you fail, do it with a smile on your face knowing you’re working to get exactly what you want. That should put you in a GREAT mood. Optimism helps to lift the spirits of those around you and smiles are contagious – how could you not be happy working for what you want?
Written by: Samantha DiSabello