“Everyone is motivated. It’s just that not everyone is motivated in the direction of health and fitness.”
–Dr. John Berardi
As women, we are the eternal multi-taskers: food shopping, prepping meals, cooking for the family, working on our own stuff, shuttling kids around, helping out around the house, laundry, workouts, socializing with friends, family get-togethers, running around constantly, working on our careers, etc etc etc…and the list goes on. Sound familiar?
Well, for the women out there who are doing it all and managing to dedicate themselves to the gym and clean eating full time, bless you. But I suspect you are few and far between. Because one of the most overlooked aspects of getting results is lack of FOCUS. And if you don’t always feel 100% focused on your fat loss goals, you are not alone, and in fact, it’s pretty darn normal. In fact, harnessing the focus needed to get into the elite ranks of the physique world is pretty much all-consuming.
This past weekend was the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio–the biggest bodybuilding and fitness expo of the year. Also, a place for the tightest, leanest and most ripped physiques in the world to come together and battle it out on stage. Nicole Wilkins won the Figure International title for the 3rd time, and Adela Garcia won Ms Fitness International for god-knows-how-many-years-now, along with many other winners in other categories. These ladies are at the TOP of their game, they are pros and they make the big bucks to work on their physiques 24/7. Sure, many are models or trainers or have deals with supplement companies so they have other pursuits. But the amount of “other stuff” must, by definition be kept to a minimum. You simply cannot have your time divided up a million different ways if you want to be truly great at one single thing.
Gary Vaynerchuk, author of “Crush It” and ‘The Thank You Economy” (both great books BTW) wrote, “In 99% of things, I am useless. But in that 1%, watch out.” And I feel this quote perfectly embodies the idea of getting focused on the one thing you want to achieve and then going deep and narrow in that one area. However, often we simply have too many things going on, too many to-dos, juggling everything and simply doing them all “ok”–”Hey, 3 times a week in the gym is fine.” or “Well, I eat clean most of the time, it’s fine.” etc, and you know what, I would agree that it truly is fine, except for the fact that often our expectations of ourselves take over and we end up feeling inadequate and mediocre. And for some reason, that is not ok. We decide that we should’ve, would’ve, could’ve done better. And then we go on to berate ourselves and sulk in our perceived failure.
Hello! You are not Nicole Wilkins, who literally only trains and diets for 2-3 shows a year with the intention of WINNING them. You are doing much more than that, so how can you compare yourself to someone who dedicates all of their time to their physique? Ask anyone who has ever done a show prep, and they will agree–it is all-consuming. It leaves very little time or mental energy for other pursuits. At JillFit, we laugh that when you are in prep mode, you are literally shopping for food, cooking food or eating food all the time. Sure, you might be able to fit in other activities toward the beginning, but in those last 4-6 weeks, it’s all you can think about. As it should be!
But we get in trouble when we compare ourselves to those who are competing for a living or who have decided to focus all of their energy on their physiques. It is an amazing accomplishment, and one that should be revered, but not for the outcome, but for the process. We could all learn something from Nicole Wilkins, and it is not how to get a bangin’ body, but instead how to channel our energy toward a directed focus. If you want to achieve something, anything, do not underestimate the power and necessity of focus. Get deep and narrow.
Here are a few tips to help channel your focus:
1) First DECIDE what you actually want, what is most important to you. Is it to be a great mom? Is it to achieve the body of a top-level figure competitor? Is it to create financial freedom in your business? Etc. Get clear here (often the hardest part). I recommend narrowing this down to TWO things at the most!
2) Based on your answer to #1, schedule your day according to those priorities. Makes sense, yes? If you say your priority is losing 20 lbs by June, you better have prioritized prepping your clean meals and working out daily. If you are serious about body change, then actions and behaviors that are not in line with that simply need to go. Sorry. But that is what getting focused is about, so instead of a “to-do” list…
3) …Create a “To-Don’t” list. I love this concept. How many times do we get caught up doing things that are not in line with what we really want. We will actually talk ourselves out of what we really want. For example, we really want to workout after work because it is in line with our prioritized physique goal, but we justify not working out a million different ways–I’m too tired, it’s too late, I worked out yesterday, I will get up early and do it tomorrow, etc etc. If body change is what you REALLY want, then the idea of NOT working out is an impossibility.
4) You can’t have your cake and lose fat too. This is the dirty truth when it comes to body change and as much as we try to rationalize otherwise, there is no getting around it. If fat loss is truly what you seek, you must first make the decision to give up that which is not in line with that goal, and begin forming NEW habits around your new goal. Instead of happy hour, you hit the gym. Instead of watching NCAA basketball on Sundays with friends, you prep food. Instead of sleeping in, you get up and do cardio. Hard choices, I know, but unavoidable if you want to focus on your physique. You can victimize yourself through the process (“I can’t believe I have to eat chicken when everyone else is having pizza!!’) or you can suck it up, positively affirm your choice (“Eating chicken and veggies tastes good, and I know I am one step closer to my goal!”) and get over yourself! (with love )
Hopefully these tips can help you get started. Fat loss is not a sprint, it is a marathon (not in the literal sense, please don’t start long-distance running )–as we say, “the faster it comes off, the faster it goes back on”–so take time to THINK about your goals, think about how you can SCHEDULE YOUR DAY to be more in line with those goals, and then simply practice. Then practice again. And then practice some more. And before you know it, you have created habits aligned with a brand new motivation. Good luck! ox Jill