Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mundane to Insane: Goal Setting for Extreme Results

You have just done something insane. That's a good start. You have had a weight loss surgery and your insides are scrambled. Maybe you haven't and have just come to the decision to take back your life or reach for something far greater than you could have ever imagined achieving. This post will guide you on your journey to greatness. If you want to see insane results you need to think extreme!

One of the biggest pieces of advice that I give to post bariatric surgery patients when I work with them is about two of the types of goals I like to see them setting. This is not just advice for someone that had weight loss surgery, but for anyone trying to get healthier. You may be trying to lose weight, gain some muscle, train for a race; it really doesn't matter, this goal setting advice is pretty universal.
I always tell people to shoot for two types of goals; visual and physical.

Visual Goals

This is pretty simple and divided into two steps. The first thing I tell all of my patients to do it to take pictures. Take lots of pictures. This is often times easier said than done. I know we all deal with being a little camera shy. I know I hated having my picture taken. it was a constant visual reminder of just how huge I had gotten. I could see very clearly how I would dwarf the people next to me. If you are anything like me, this was one of the hardest things I had to overcome. 

  1. To get started, I want you to take pictures of yourself with form fitting clothing on as early into the process as you can manage. If you have already  had surgery then take them right away. It is also preferable for you to take a personal set, for your eyes only, in your underwear. I want you to be able to see everything. I also want you to take measurements of neck, upper arms, waist, hips, legs,  and any other  body part you deem necessary. Just make sure you measure the same place every time and then record the results.
  2. Then take pictures and measurements on a monthly basis following surgery or along your journey to your goal.

Doing this will allow you to look back and see just how far you have come. I can guarantee you there will be days when you just don't feel it. You may feel bloated, gassy, or just be having a fat day where all the work you are putting in you are just not seeing. That is when I want you to pull out these pictures and take a look. My wife, Amanda, is really amazing with this. Every time I text her that I am having a rough day she will text me back within minutes with a long forgotten picture and a simple note that says, "Just look how far you have come. I love you!"

The second visual goal that I always recommend, especially for weight loss patients are goal clothes. These are not the three sizes too small that you can barely fit a leg in. What I am talking about is a pair of pants and also a shirt that are one size to small and don't button, but just barely. Then when those rough days come around, you grab those pants and they fit a little better. Or perhaps they actually button, but are still too tight. So you put them away for another bad day. A week later it happens and you are back trying them on. This time they fit perfectly and you wear them everywhere you go until they fall apart because you can rejoice in fitting a smaller size. At this point you will need to find new goal clothes following the same guidelines.

You need these simple reminders because the scale will not always move. There will be weeks when you are just killing it in the gym and feeling amazing, but the scale won't budge and the swearing will ensue. There will also be weeks where you feel like crap and worse. Surprisingly those are usually the weeks I tended to lose the most. I don't know if I am just a freak of nature, but from what I gather this is pretty common especially among post surgery patients. This can get really frustrating which is why I recommend using goals that will show you how far you have come and that you are still progressing; even if the scale does not show it.

Physical Goals

This is a bit more of a simple goal to write about. I want you to sit back and close your eyes? Take some time with this and dream. I want you to think about the things you have always wanted to do, but couldn't. Think of those things that your weight or training have held you back from doing. Now I want you to write them all down. Make goals from the mundane to the insane.

I want you to dream small. For me it was things as simple as being able to walk down the stairs like a normal person. Prior to surgery I needed to go down stairs one a time because I was terrified I would get hurt, or break the stair, or fall. For me a simple goal was also to fit comfortably in a movie theater seat. I can do both of those now. The first time I made it down the stairs normally I sat at the bottom and balled for probably five minutes. When I first fit into a theater seat I ran through the theater sitting in every seat just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

I also want you to dream insane. Think of something to truly push yourself, your goals and your new body. It could be an event or just something you always wanted to do just because. I share my physical goals with my trainers who love that I give them crazy things to try and teach me to do. Right now I am working on strengthening up to be able to do a push up while in a full handstand! For events, in the next three years I want to participated in and finish a full Ironman Triathlon. I also want to bike the Colorado Trail; a 585 mile single-track mountain bike trail through the mountains of Colorado. This would be done while camping over 15 days.

Your goal may be to lose a ton of weight like most surgery patients, or you may already be in alright shape. Maybe instead you want to train for a marathon and gain an extra few inches on your biceps. Maybe it's getting to that elusive six pack. Whatever it is, this goal setting process will work.

Now that you have the insane goals in mind I want you to begin making a plan with shorter goals. I know to do an ironman I need to be able to swim 2.5 miles, bike 118 miles, and run a full marathon all back to back. Right now I have walked a 5K and a 10K. I am finishing training for running my first 5K. I have set goals for increasing that distance for multiple races over the next few years. The same thing goes for swimming and biking events. All of this will push me further each time and even closer to accomplishing my bigger goals. Use the space between mundane and insane to make your plan for success.  

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about goal setting came from my step father, Jack, and it is one of the many reasons I am so open about my goals and plans. Share your goals! If you put your goals and dreams out there for everyone to see, it puts added pressure on you to accomplish what you say. It keeps you accountable and on track. This works better if you tell people other than family. Family can be easy to blow off. I love my family, but I blew off their concern for my health for years.

When the world knows it's harder to ignore!

I encourage everyone reading this post to share your goals in the comments below. Let's use this post to share our goals from the mundane to the insane with the world. We can encourage and keep each other accountable! Share this post with others. the more people who are on here and interacting the more love and encouragement we can dole out. HATERS WILL BE BLOCKED AND SHUNNED FOR ETERNITY!