For the last four months, I’ve had a project around my health. The intended results for the project are very simple. Build muscle mass, get myself down to a lean 175 pounds, and have the sleeves on my t-shirts tight around my biceps. Oh, also, six-pack abs (who doesn’t want those?).
Over the past four months I’ve had this as my project. In service of it, I’ve tracked my calories, bought a gym membership (and actually used it), tracked the amount of weight I’m lifting, tracked my drinks, and jogged two to three times every week.
The results I’ve generated have been underwhelming. My weight has stayed roughly static around 180 lbs. The sleeves of my shirt are a little tighter, but nowhere near what I'm looking for. My six-pack remains elusive (if I clench my stomach you can see them, but I don't have that ever-present washboard that I'd really like to create).
So first of all, it's a little vulnerable sharing this with you. I feel a little vain and silly for having a goal like this (which is, in itself, silly, because I get to choose whatever goals I want for myself). I also am putting myself out there by sharing it. People might then look at me and say "Ha, Adam still hasn't achieved his goal. Some coach!"
The thing I love about this story is that it perfectly exemplifies why coaches, just like the rest of the world, benefit from having coaches.
What I've been able to distinguish is that I'm super reliable for maintaining what I've got. I approach working out and eating from the perspective of "I don't want to get fat". And then I do whatever is necessary to ensure I don't. I don't go out of my way to eat healthy (at least, any more than I normally would). I don't push myself to create meals that are higher in protein and lower in quick-burn carbs. And I sure as hell don't turn down that fourth beer when it's offered.
I'm not going to get fat because I'm reliable to maintain my physique as it is.
I'm also not going to get ripped, for the same reason.
I'm not reliable to generate breakthrough results on my own.
So, first, I need someone on my side that is more committed to this goal than I am when I'm offered that fourth beer or that second cookie (or god help me, BOTH).
The other thing that I can distinguish is that I need a big enough what-for that I'm willing to get out in front of my predictable pattern. Not putting on weight is only sufficient to motivate me to maintain my existing way of being. It's not sufficient, on its own, to have me step in to something new. It's not enough to have me step outside of my comfort zone.
Do you notice that you do the same thing with your own goals?
It's pretty common these days to create goals that are either motivated by moving ourselves away from something we perceive as bad ("I hate how I waste my money", "I'm so fat", "I need to procrastinate less", etc.).
The other commonality is to take on our goals entirely on our own. Society these days is continually telling us that true success comes from relying only on yourself, but let me be frank: this is bullshit.
More often than not, our goals and resolutions contain a healthy dose of both of these.
So here's what I'm taking on next:
1. Identify a sport or an activity that I actually want to excel and succeed at. Not a sport that I want to play for fun, but a sport that I would actually want to excel at enough that I won't reach for that next beer.
2. Hire someone (in fact, another kind of coach) to work with me on this progress and to stand for me even/especially when I don't want to stand for myself.
I already work with an executive coach, but now it's time to hire a second coach, this one to work with me to generate the physical results I want to create in my life. Here's to 2014!
What's predictable about your own goals that you take on for yourself? What are you reliable to generate, and what are you reliable to not generate? What will ou take on to get out in front of what's predictable?