What’s your biggest fitness struggle?
What’s your single biggest hang up?
What keeps you fully clothed on the beach, hiding behind baggy clothes and devoid of body confidence.
In other words, what keeps you plain fucking miserable?
If you could change one thing through diet and exercise, what would it be?
Now instead of shoving it down deep and acting like somehow it’ll just get better on its own, I want you to visualise it, grab a hold of it and don’t let it go.
This thing, this one thing that you hate so much is the key to your success.
Don’t believe me?
Let me show you how.
Before Looking At How You Need To Know Why!
The single biggest ‘call to action’ for people to start or re-start working out is the desire to change.
This desire can come from a number of places;
- You see the latest ‘muscle mag’ workout and decide you want that cover model body too, it’ll impress the ladies
- You’ve just broken up with your girlfriend/boyfriend and want to get back them by ‘looking hot’ next time you see them
- Someone makes an offhand comment about your weight which catches you off guard and spurs you into action
- You’ve got that beach holiday coming up, you don’t want to be the fat friend in the group
@@To be a better, stronger, leaner or more muscular version of yourself is a pretty potent catalyst for change, particularly if you get a guiding hand from some outside influence.@@
However, whilst your new journey may start off with good intentions if you don’t truly understand your ‘reason why’ you’ll always struggle to get the results you want.
I get it, I know going straight to the how feels good.
Working out feels good too it’s real-time physical feedback that says you’re doing a great job, not to mention the fact it releases those little endorphin guys that make you feel on top of the world.
After all, you have something you want to change, you find a solution and put it into action.
What could go wrong…?
Actually, a lot can!
@@The problem is you won’t see it until it’s too late, at which point you’ll be back to stuffing your face with junk food and skipping gym sessions to watch the latest Netflix show.@@
This is because everything will go smoothly, to begin with, you’ll be motivated by the possible outcomes of your action.
However, fast forward a couple of weeks or months and you inevitably hit your first speedbump.
BANG out of nowhere you’re thrown out of whack by something expected;
- You get drunk and wreck your diet
- Life gets busy and you skip a few workouts
- You go on holiday
- Catch a cold or hurt your arm
Then before you know it, it’s been weeks since you last did a workout and any semblance of a balanced diet is out the window.
It’s simple really, your reason why was too superficial.
It was born from outside influence masquerading as internal desire.
The truth is, if it was internal desire you wouldn’t have needed someone else to spark you into action.
The truth is you didn’t dig deep enough in the first place to truly discover your ‘reason why’.
To discover the one thing that will keep you track whatever life may throw at you, the source from which your internal desire to change truly comes from.
How To Discover Your Real Reason Why
There are 2 steps to determining your ‘real reason why’ the first is to find out what you think your single biggest issue is, the next is use the 5 whys method to get to the heart of the issue and discover your ‘actual’ catalyst for change.
What Is Your Single Biggest Issue?
In my opinion, the critical first step when goal setting is to honestly ask yourself what your single biggest issue is.
This is the one thing above all other things that you want to change and has to be something that can really be changed through diet and exercise.
A useful mindset tool is to imagine that you can only change one thing, what would that thing be?
- Is it the amount of body fat you have?
- Is it the amount of muscle mass you have?
- Is it a muscular imbalance?
- Is it a lack of flexibility?
- Is it having poor cardiovascular fitness?
How To Apply The 5 Whys Method
A strategy originally developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation as a problem-solving method.
The premise is simple, you ask the question why 5 times in order to better understanding of the problem you face.
Since its birth in the 1950s, the 5 whys method has become widespread, particularly in the start-up and lean development world. However, it has its uses for understanding your own motivations and will allow you to get to the root of your desire for change.
Using the 5 Whys Method is simple, determine what it is you want to change and then ask yourself why 5 times.
My Single Biggest Issue Is – I’m too fat and I don’t like how I look
Why Do I Want To Change #1 – Someone called me fat and it hurt my feelings
Why Do I Want To Change #2 – I always feel like people are judging me and my weight
Why Do I Want To Change #3 – I know I need to change but I’m scared
Why Do I Want To Change #4 – I’m scared I won’t succeed and will let myself down
Why Do I Want To Change #5 – I’m scared because I don’t want to be this person anymore
My Single Biggest Issue Is – I’m too thin and I don’t like how I look
Why Do I Want To Change #1 – I feel like society expects me to be strong and muscular
Why Do I Want To Change #2 – When I take my top off I don’t live up to what people expect
Why Do I Want To Change #3 – I don’t feel like I’m a proper man
Why Do I Want To Change #4 – I want to feel like I can protect myself and those I care about
Why Do I Want To Change #5 – I want to feel confident and comfortable in my own skin
By doing this you arrive at your real ‘reason why’ and your authentic desire to change.
Notice how, to begin with, the reasons for the change are often superficial and born out of external pressure but as you begin to ask why you get to the core reason for the change.
This is so important and will help you stand firm, so when you don’t feel like following through or life throws something unexpected at you, you can keep the big picture in mind and push forward regardless.
How To 10x Your Results With Short Cycle Goal Setting
The final step in this puzzle is to take your reason why and turn into an action plan that sets you up for success.
@@Knowing your real reason why already sets you 10 steps ahead of everyone else, but there is one more thing you can do at this point to capitalise on this advantage.@@
Short cycle goal setting.
Now, typical goal-setting advice, including advice I’ve given myself, typically goes something like this…
There is nothing wrong with this, in fact, you can use this method and get fantastic results.
However, I often find there is one recurring problem with this type of goal setting which I can demonstrate by asking you a simple question.
“What's your goal?”
Can you tell me?
If someone walked up to you right now, could you tell them?
Could you clearly explain what you’re aiming to achieve, in what time frame and how you’re going to get there?
Saying, I want to lose some fat or build some muscle this year is not good enough.
You need to be able to quantify it, understand and believe it.
So, I’ll ask you again, “what is your goal?”
Try it now, say it out loud or in your head to yourself, I don’t care. Just say it.
It’s difficult, isn’t it?
You have to really think about it before you can even begin to answer, and herein lies the problem. @@If you don’t intimately know your own goal how can you expect to achieve it?@@
The problem with traditional goal setting is often that for most people a year is a long time. Do you even know what you’ll be doing next month, next week or tomorrow, let alone a year from now?
Probably not. At least not with any surety.
Life is fluid, your circumstances change, your wants and needs change and sometimes that means everything changes.
Goal setting for a year is just not ideal.
This is where Short Cycle Goal Setting comes in.
What Is Short Cycle Goal Setting?
Short cycle goal setting in the name I’ve given to an accelerated cycle of goal setting which I believe could be the answer to your problems.
Sure, setting a lofty goal that you say you’ll reach in a year is fun. It’s fun to imagine what it’ll be like to achieve it.
But who says you’ll get there?
Don’t you think it’ll be much more fun to set a goal for 3 months’ time and absolutely smash it, knowing all the while that you’ll reach it?
Then doing it again and again until you get to where you want to be.
This is short cycle goal setting.
How Does It Work?
This is the great thing about short cycle goal setting, it’s super damn simple.
All you need to do is set a goal for a 3-month period which allows you to be adaptive, not reactive to your progress.
For example, sometimes you’ll build muscle for 3 months, go a bit off track and end up fatter than you’re happy with.
No problem, because we’re only working in 3-month blocks you have the freedom to use your next 3-month block to spend a month dropping a little fat before using the next 2 months to build muscle again. *
*if right now you’re thinking, “yeah but I can do this even if I’ve set my goals for a year”, keep reading I’ll explain the difference!
Other times you lose fat only to realise you actually don’t have as much muscle as you thought you did.
No problem, instead of feeling obliged to follow through on your year-long plan you can switch into a lean bulk for your next 3-month block.
Why 3 Months?
3 months is long enough to see substantial change whilst still be flexible enough to change course if needed.
Interestingly, I’ve found that working in 3-month blocks removes any mental obligation to stick to a goal as you’re working in much shorter periods than the typical year.
Because you have the freedom to evaluate and change (if needed) your goal at regular intervals it stops you from feeling that changing or altering your goal before the full period (typically a year) has ended is a failure on your part.
The fact, that you routinely track, monitor and assess your progress against your goal gives you complete control to make the decisions you need to build the body you want.
A question normally asked at this point is;
My answer is this;
Don't be most people.
Although at first glance it may seem like the same thing, it’s not.
The benefit of only planning for 3 months at a time gives you the ability to track in real-time how your progress is going with no promise made in regard to what the following 3 months will consist of.
@@This removes any guilt from ‘not following the plan’ if things don’t go as planned.@@
This is not to say that you won’t spend 9 – 12 months losing fat or building muscle, but it does mean you can base these choices on the information you have at hand when the time comes instead of a prediction made at the initial start point.
This is particularly important as predictions are generally grossly inaccurate with most people hugely underestimating how quickly they can get down to 8-10% body fat or build an appreciable amount of muscle.
How To Put It Into Action?
To put short cycle planning into action couldn’t be simpler, in fact, it can be done in just 4 steps;
- Based on your real reason why and single biggest factor decide on your goal – fat loss or muscle building
- Calculate your calorie needs for your goal and set up your macronutrients – now hit these targets every day for 3 months
- Considering your goal choose, create or buy a workout plan that suits your needs and your lifestyle – then workout every time you’re required to for 3 months
- Track your progress by recording each workout session, your average weekly weight, and monthly body measurements
As you begin to reach the end of your first 3-month period, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, chances are you absolutely crushed it and are excited to move into the next 3-month block.
Using the data collected in the last 3 months along with how you look and feel, to decide on your course of action for the next 3 months.
Rinse and repeat.
Today we’ve looked at how to identify your single biggest issue and discover your true motivation behind the desire to workout and change your body.
Using the 5 Whys method you go beyond the superficial to find your core, internal motivation for change. This is what will you keep you on track when things get tough.
We’ve also covered how combining this knowledge with short cycle goal setting can improve both your results and adherence.
Finally, we looked at how and why short cycle goal settings work and went through how to set it up in 4 simple steps.