Get Fitter By Mary Jaksch A guest post by Scott Dinsmore of ReadingForYourSuccess Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach. ~Tom Robbins Last year I ran an ultramarathon, swam across the San Francisco Bay and climbed Mt. Shasta. All of these were firsts for me. I am crazy about fitness challenges. Not only do they help create a rockin body inside and out, but they also expand the mind’s understanding of what’s possible. This is transferrable to everything from business to relationships. Fitness is powerful. But with interests like these, an equally important (and required) craze is that for motivation, accountability and goal setting. Big things rarely just happen. Especially if it requires running over 30 miles in barefoot shoes… Goals and Commitment Required I recently spent days creating a free Goal Setting and Action Workbook for my readers and clients. I created it because accountability is what creates results. I’d like to share the most powerful bits. We all know the routine. The new year rolls around and we have this massive motivation to make some changes. Often rather large changes. The most common new years goal involves fitness of some sort. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds, run a bit further or gain a little muscle. So we’re fired up and dive in head first. But after a few weeks it starts to get a little easier to hit snooze at 6am for that run. You start to snack a bit more. Within the next month or two, if you are like the majority of the world (and I’m sure you’re not!) then you’re back to where you started last year. The fire has gone out. You’re not alone. The stats for resolutions are terrible. FranklinCovey Co. found that 33% of people break resolutions by the end of January and 75% break them within three months. The world desperately needs some help with sticking to it. Believe me I’ve learned the hard way. It’s not always easy for me to jump in the water or hit the trail before the sun’s up, but I still rarely miss a day. Why? I’ve found a few motivation hacks that seem to work. I hope they assit you in making your goals reality this year. 6 Hacks to Staying Committed to Your Body 1. Set goals you truly care about. This starts long before things get tough. And there is no doubt that if you have a goal worth accomplishing, it is going to be challenging at times. Be ready for it. If you are setting a goal because someone tells you to or because other people are doing it, your odds of success are almost nill. You have to want it in your core. I’m talking down to your soul. Pick goals that are meaningrful to you. Be deliberate and listen to your heart. Not someone else’s. 2. Find a deep and emotional reason WHY. What massive reason can you find for making your goal a must? It could be fitting into your wedding dress or being sure you’re alive to teach your grandson math. It’s your call. Just be sure there is major emotion behind it. I call this leverage. The power of your leverage will ultimately dictate your success or failure. I love this story. There was once a man who tried for years to quit smoking. His friends tried to help. His wife begged. But nothing worked. Then one day his 6-year old daughter came into his office, looked up at him with a scared look on her face and said “daddy I don’t want you to die before I’m 10”. He never smoked another cigarette. That’s leverage. Whether you focus on the good things you’ll experience if you succeed or the terrible things that will happen if you don’t, find your levage. I cover this in a big way in my Goal Setting and Action Guide. The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it. ~Mack R. Douglas 3. Take super motivating before-pictures. When we have a physical goal, usually at least part of the motivation is visual. While I don’t agree with this, in reality most of the world exercises purely for how it will make them look. If this gets people active then fine. But trust me, once you start doing it for the intrinsic feeling of health, your world will change (and you likely won’t need these tips). Take before-pictures of yourself in your underwear. The more unflattering they are the better. Put yourself in bad light. Maybe even frown a little. Do all angels and wear something that allows no place for the curves to hide. Have your significant other take them or just use the auto-timer on you camera or the built in camera on most laptops. I know it makes you uneasy to think about it. DO IT! Then post them on your fridge or your bathroom mirror. Somewhere where you’ll see them multiple times a day. I you have an old picture of when you were super fit, then place that next to the current less appealing one. Pain motivates. This will help. And it will make you that much more proud when it’s time to take after-pictures. 4. Do a photo shoot of everything you eat – Did I really put that in my mouth? I’m talking everything that goes into your mouth. If part of your goal has to do with diet (and every fitness goal should), this alone will get you eating less and higher quality. Big studies have shown that between doing nothing more than taking a picture of everything before you eat it vs. strict calorie counting, the picture taking approach prevails in pounds lost. One, calorie counting is no fun to stick to and two, how likely are you to crush a jumbo bag of potato chips if you’re going to snap picture beforehand? Most every phone has a camera on it these days, so no excuses. The psychology behing this is huge. Eat.ly is a sweet way to quickly start a photo food journal. Be ready to share your fried chicken lunch with the world. 5. Give yourself room to be successful-a little leeway is key. The most important part is not that you don’t screw up, because you will. The key is h0w fast you get back on track once you get a little lost. Don’t let one missed workout or an unhealthy meal snowball into a sugar indulged week of sloth. Recognize that you lost your way and then forget about it. Impress yourself with how quickly you jump back on track. Let one cheat meal be just that, nothing more. 6. Promise those you love. We tend to keep our word more with others than with ourselves. Don’t just mention your goal to them casually. Look them in the eye and promise them you will stay committed. Give them permission and direct instructions to lay into you if you waver. The majority of goals never see the light of day due to poor incentives and lack of accountability. Most Importantly, Have Fun If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, it won’t last. Maybe this means not counting every calorie burned or every carb consumed. Perhaps it means getting outside with friends instead of in the testosterone-filled gym. You know what you’ll have fun with. The moment I really got at peace with exercise and my body was when I finally left my heart rate monitor behind and went outside for no other reason than to enjoy myself. It was only after this experience did running an ultramarathon become a possibility and soon after that, a reality. It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” ~Zig Ziglar Scott Dinsmore is a Personal Freedom Coach and writer at ReadingForYourSuccess. Download his totally free Goal Setting and Action Workbook, or follow him on twitter. He is a participant in the Goodlife ZEN Great Fitness Challenge.