In life you have to be prepared to take advantages of opportunities when they pass by.
This past Saturday, I had an opportunity come and smack me in the face. While training at the karate studio, the Master Instructor asked me if I was ready to test for my Second Degree Black Belt in 13 days!!!!
Thirteen days? Are you crazy? I trained for 8 intensive weeks to receive my black belt……and that nearly killed me!!! (You can read that story here). Thirteen days!?!?! There is no way I can do that!!
Now up until that moment, we had not even discussed the possibility of testing. No commentary on what would be needed to be prepared, where he or the other instructors saw weaknesses in my game or even the structure of the new test.
Just a spontaneous “are you ready?” conversation. There was only one answer I could give…..
You see, I train with a purpose and so should you.
Now your purpose is probably not the same as mine. Not many people are actively training in multiple martial arts and focused on being able to go 10 rounds or stop multiple assailants on a plane if needed (yes, I really do think like that). However everyone should put a purpose behind their health goals.
It is easy to skip a workout, or multiple workouts, when you don’t have a clearly defined purpose. It’s easy to order the chili cheese fries when you don’t have a goal staring you in the face. It’s easy to have that extra glass of wine when there is nothing to focus on.
Without a big goal to command your focus in the long run, the decisions you make in the short run lend themselves to the easy rather than the best choice.
So what is your goal? Is it…
You know this is a simple matter of calories in, calories out. You also have to understand that it is the marathon of goals, not the sprint. Set a weight target and a realistic date to hit it and then track your ongoing progress (there are lots of great apps and calculators out there to help you do this). Put that number everywhere you turn so it is constantly reminding you of the real treat, seeing your number on the scale.
Lowered Blood Pressure:
Talk to your Dr. About what you need to do specifically in this area but I know for my family it is keeping salt to a minimum and making sure we are exercising. Skip the salt shaker and get your 20 minutes in everyday. Believe me you will feel and sleep a whole lot better. Track it regularly and celebrate small incremental decreases.
More energy throughout your day:
Foods high in refined sugar and carbs lead to spikes in blood sugar and corresponding crashes. Remind yourself before indulging in those cookies of how you will feel an hour later. Is the short term burst worth the crash later that day. Sometimes the answer is ‘yes’ but work to make ‘yes’ a rarer and rarer answer.
Fitting in your clothes better:
When I started this fitness journey about 5 years ago, this was a major goal of mine. When I am on the mat I am often wearing a rash guard/compression shirt. They show every ripple, bulge, love handle, muscle or lack there of. I was embarrassed enough of my body that I would wear a t-shirt over the rash guard until it was time to step on the mat. Vanity was, and still is, a major motivator for me.
Interestingly, I fill out t-shirts and rash guards much better now but I still am in the habit of wearing a t-shirt over them for the most part, even in the gym. I guess some habits are really ingrained.
But let’s not lose sight of the bigger issue here, you have to have a long term goal to help you make good short term decisions.
Jim Collins in his book Good to Great defines it as a BHAG -Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
If you have a clearly defined BHAG, and you keep it front and center, when the opportunity arises for you to make a choice that either gets your closer or moves you further away, the answer will be clear for you too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a test to go train for. Time to go spar, roll and practice katas.
See you on the road.