When we renew our efforts into our weight loss, fitness or health goals we tend not to use any personal development focus. We tend to use a multi pronged approach. For example, if you wanted to get started, and back on track, you might go to the supermarket and stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. At the same time you might renew your gym membership and buy some new running shoes. Just doing these things will give you a boost. There will be a temporary sense of purpose and satisfaction that gives you the feedback that tells you are on the right track.
But what have you actually done?
You have simply gone shopping…
Personal development focus involves prioritizing
The reality of actually putting new “multiple action plans” in motion is hard. Embarking on these multi channel action plans is harder still. Keeping the momentum going will be even more challenging.
Usually, when people decide to transform their body, or get themselves back on track, they try to change many different parts of their lives all at the same time.
The exercise regime takes up time. As well as the 2-6 hours per week of actual training, there is the traveling, showering, preparation, recovery and so on.
The new healthy diet involves time and commitment in preparing fresh food instead of convenience food. Then there is the extra time and effort in choosing cafe’s and restaurants that offer healthy alternatives.
If someone were to ask you how you could change yourself physically for the better, and how to achieve it, I bet that you would have a good idea of what to do already. You know that any exercise is a leap forward, you know that eating more vegetables will make a huge difference.
Lifestyle change overload!
The problem occurs when you try to change too many ingrained habits all at the same time. The disruption to your routine will be significant. The pressures from work, friends, family, and everyday life won’t change just because you have psyched yourself up…. (Again).
So, where am I going with this? I have a simple tip for you to consider, but before I give you this tip, I will explain my own experience in this area.
Throughout my life I have got to stages where I suddenly become more aware of how dissatisfied I am with myself. This can apply to any aspect of life but in the context of this article, I mean the times when I have got to the stage where NONE of my clothes fit anymore, or when I see shameful or embarrassing photos of myself. Sometimes the triggers for this wake up call have been mild, sometimes more severe.
What I used to do was attack the problem with as many “solutions” as I could find. I might go from no exercise and only eating unhealthy food… Whilst sitting on the couch… To overdoing it in the gym, in pain, whilst throwing myself into some starvation diet or another. Invariably I would get quick results, losing 5 pounds or more in a week. Within a few weeks my clothes would fit again, I would feel a little happier then I would gradually drift back into my old habits and towards my next wake up call.
So, what was the solution that I found? What is my top self improvement tip?
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT FOCUS.
By attacking the problem by completely turning your life upside down and feeling persistent muscle pain and hunger is really tough. It is even harder to sustain.
My advice is to pick a personal development goal and focus on it. Healthy eating, weight loss, and fitness are all important. But you do not have to master all of these things at the same time. In fact whichever you focus on will have impact on the others anyway. If you lose weight you are likely to get fitter and more healthy at the same time. If you focus on the fitness, you will see side benefits of improved health as well.
So whilst I know that everyone is different, for me, it was by focusing that I started to achieve my goals. I discovered this by accident. I got a small but persistent injury in the gym that kept flaring up. I decided to quit exercise completely for a while. I was concerned that I would put on weight, so I focused completely on my diet. I lost 30 pounds in a few months while doing no exercise at all. I felt more energized and alive, I started sleeping better, I saw these as signals that I was more healthy.
By focusing on my diet, I managed to lose weight effortlessly, without “going on a diet” and without exercise. I am convinced that this was not an accident.
Now, my healthy eating habits are ingrained, I have eaten similarly for around 18 months now. I have been exercising, but only recreationally. I am now planning to focus on my body sculpting. I want to simply change my body fat to muscle composition. I will be happy to lose 5 or 10 pounds, but I am already close to my ideal weight anyway. Now all I have to do is focus on my exercise, my eating habits are ingrained.
Does this sound like a plan?
I mean… Do you really have to climb the whole mountain, or eat a whole elephant in the same day?
As a rule of thumb, If you are more that 15 pounds overweight or are obese, then your personal development focus should be on the weight loss. If you are healthy, fit and have a body fat percentage to be proud of then your personal development focus should be on the sculpting. If you are of normal weight but wheeze after climbing the stairs then focus on your fitness. Focus and ingrain one habit at a time. With personal development focus, you can master one set of habits at a time.