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Some words of training wisdom from Coach Alisha

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How to Make Goals and ACTUALLY Achieve Them

As the New Year is just a few days away, you may have begun to think about your New Year’s resolution. Maybe it’s something that you’ve always wanted to do, maybe it’s something you’ve been trying to do for a long time but have decided THIS is the year you will finally accomplish it. The top two goals every year are to 1. get fit/live a healthy lifestyle and 2. lose weight. These are both GOOD and WORTHY resolutions. They are important to a human’s quality of life and longevity. No one WANTS to be unhealthy. So why then, do only 8% (reported by Forbes) of all resolutionists actually achieve their resolutions? What separates them from the rest? Below I have outlined four reasons describing why the 8% succeed and all others fail.

When you say “This year I want to lose weight.” What do you mean by that? If you say “I want to be healthy”. How do you plan to measure that? What does “healthy” even mean? DEFINE your goals. Put a number to how much weight you want to lose. Define what being healthy means to you, whether it’s eating an unprocessed diet, being in cardiovascular shape, being of serene mind, or maybe some combination of all three. Whatever your goal is, define it. Make it so clear and thought out that you can create weekly success for yourself in pursuit of this goal.
After you’ve defined your goal, you need to create a tangible plan of attack. This is a yearlong goal we’re talking about. This could be losing 50-100lbs, running in your first 10k or marathon. Looking at these goals in January feels like looking up at a mountain, you’re excited to get to the top, but also a little intimidated, maybe even daunted. This is why goal chunking is so important. Goal chunking keeps you from being intimidated. It allows you to focus on one thing at a time. It allows you to make micro, small, medium, large, and ultimate goals. Micro goals are your daily/hourly goals (e.g. “I will go to the gym today”). Small goals are your weekly goals (e.g. “I will not eat any sugar for 6 out of the 7 days this week”). Medium goals are your month to month goals (e.g. “I will lose this many pounds each month”). Large goals are your monthly goals chunked together (e.g. “By month # I will be able to run this many miles, under this time”). Your ultimate goal is obviously your year-end goal, your resolution.
You can have the best laid out, most detailed plan in existence, but if you do not lay a foundation of success to stand upon, you will fail. If your goal is to lose weight, yet you keep processed food in the house, you will inevitably end up eating it. If you have trouble getting to the gym then go in the morning when you can’t make excuses as to why you can’t go. “Willpower” is a fickle thing and if you rely on it to make good choices, nine times out of ten, it will let you down. The simple fact is, if you want success, you have to cultivate it. Set yourself up for success by taking away choices that can lead to failure. Make it easy to succeed.
The ability to start over is our greatest gift. You will have failures but until you stop trying, you have not failed. This is what sets the 8% apart, they don’t become devastated by their failures, they don’t see them as worn ruts and habits they are doomed to repeat. They see their mistakes as temporary setbacks and start fresh the next day, the next hour even. They don’t wait for Monday to start their new plan for success.
Their ability to do this comes from their ability so see themselves as more than their sum total of mistakes. They don’t see themselves as failures, they see themselves as successful, even when just starting out. They recognize that taking that first step to accomplish such a large goal is monumental and they thank themselves for it. It’s a form of self-love to attempt such an undertaking and once you see it like that, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how bad your cravings are, why would you stop? Why would you let one small lapse in focus ruin your entire year and reign of self-care? Look at every day and every hour as new. Don’t let your past shackle you, and you will succeed.

The most successful I have felt to date was captured in this photo and it was actually during one of my “failures”. My husband and I were on a trek through Nepal to reach Everest base camp, however, we never reached our goal. One village away from base camp my husband got sick with stage two acute mountain sickness (the pulmonary edema kind). He spiked a fever, was throwing up, and his nail beds and inside of his lips turned blue. Needless to say he was very, very weak and I knew we had to get him down the mountain. I didn’t stop to think about what I COULD do, only about what I HAD to do. So, I handed him my hiking pole, I put on his pack (as well as mine) and I got us down those mountains. We had to hike through two more towns that day before reaching one low enough in a valley for him to recover. After a few days however, he was still not doing as well as he should have been. About three days later we hiked up out of the valley, through 3-4 more towns until we finally reached Namche. I hiked miles of the roughest terrain I had ever encountered with more than twice the weight I was used to carrying on my back. Sure I would have been proud of reaching Everest, gotten a lot of fantastic shots, but the story would not have been this good, and I would not have learned about my inner strength as much as I did. In the end I am thankful for my failure because I learned so much from it and became stronger. THAT is success.

This New Year I challenge you to make a resolution that empowers you. Sure lose the weight, run the miles, but have an empowering reason behind it. Do it so that you can live long enough to see your grandkids. Do it so that you can live your life inspired and unafraid. Do it just because you can. Do it for YOU.
By: Coach Alisha Bittle