Time to Walk the Talk
Hey everybody! Today we’re going to get real. Vulnerable. Uncomfortable. At least for me. I’m going to share with you something that I really want to create for myself and I’m going to invite you to join me on my journey. You’ll get to see first-hand what I’m up to and follow along through the ups and downs as I take on a goal that has lately been very elusive for me.
I’m talking about that old monster – weight loss. I hate acknowledging that I’m overweight. I will do anything to ignore it or pretend that it’s not an issue. But it’s something that, literally and figuratively, weighs on my mind every waking moment of every day. I’ve tried numerous diets, plans, workout routines – some of which have worked for a while, some of which haven’t. Basically, I do know what works for me – regular exercise, eating well, and eating less. But I know that what I need is a sustainable, non-negotiable lifestyle change and the complete transformation of my relationship to food and fitness.
This past week I finally had enough of my own bullshit, and I committed to creating a coaching project to get healthy and fit.
As much as I don’t want to do it, I’m giving you a front row seat to my process and my progress. I know in my heart that having you along for the journey will call me forward to show up. You will be my accountability partners.
FESSING UP: Coaches aren’t perfect.
I work with people to get what they want
I also work with my own coach and I use coaching principles in my daily life. The point is, if I’m going to help other people design lives they love, I sure better be doing it myself.
Over the past couple years, I’ve used coaching to create many things:
- I designed a one-month road trip across the US for $1,000 – all expenses included
- I got my financial house in order by forming regular habits to handle my bookkeeping, foster charitable contributions by tithing, and pay down my debt.
- I created a long-term relationship when I didn’t think one was possible
- I generated new opportunities in my business and doubled my income in 3 months
- I imagined a global life that has moved me here to Lisbon and living and working abroad for the next 18 months
Coaching provides me a framework, support, and accountability that gives momentum to my projects and keeps me on track. All of these things I probably could have done on my own – eventually. Maybe. But definitely not with the power and intention I wanted.
If you consider, we all have things we want in life, and if we’re determined enough, we’ll make them happen. But most of us get distracted, lose focus, and our desired goal remains unrealized. Trust me, I know, because I’ve been there.
I’ve created some amazing things in my life. But as much as I hate to admit it, I’m also human. Sometimes there are things I want to create in my life that remain stubbornly out of reach. For any number of reasons. I fall victim to my own circumstances or excuses. I get in my own way. I procrastinate. I sabotage my progress. And then, of course, I beat myself up for not being perfect. I’m the coach here! I’m supposed to model this for everyone else, right?
Well, the truth is, we all have areas of our life that we wish were different or better. Over the last several years that area for me has been my health and well-being. I could go into a whole litany of reasons and excuses why I am where I am but looking backwards for defense or justification isn’t really helpful. In this process I’ll only be looking to the past to examine what has worked or what didn’t work so I can better inform my future actions. Self-knowledge is a great thing. Self-recrimination, not so much.
LET’S GET REAL: Just the facts
Okay – so here’s the score. Let’s just get flat with what’s so:
- I am 53 years old as of November. I’ve earned every year of my age and I’m proud of it.
- I currently weigh 240lbs – that’s 109kg for those of you outside the US. And for the record, it’s the heaviest I have ever been.
- I’m 5’-10” on a good day – that’s 178cm when I’m not slouching. I do work at a computer for long periods, though, so I know that has a negative impact on my posture.
- My BMI is currently 34.4. That officially puts me in most charts in the category of “Obese – class 1”. Side note: In my opinion, BMI isn’t a great way to measure health or fitness. I prefer to track body fat percentage. But…since I’m traveling abroad I don’t have easy access to an impedance scale that would measure body fat, so I’m going to go with tracking BMI. It’s not perfect, but it’s a measure I can use.
- My average resting heart rate across the last 12 months (as measured by my FitBit) is 81 bpm. My heartrate tends to run high, but I would love to lower that average by 5 bpm if possible.
- My diet has far too few fruits and vegetables, and far too many starches like pasta and rice and bread. I have a salt tooth, so crackers, chips and nuts are all dangerous. And my portion sizes are too big. The good thing is, I’m very aware of where my problem areas are when it comes to food!
- I average about 10,300 steps a day, so I do stay relatively active by walking. I have been inconsistent in going to the gym, though. I do have some occaisional arthritis in my knees and the muscles in my legs are super tight, which often leads to foot pain and soreness in my hips.
- My family has a history of heart disease and stroke. I unfortunately have naturally high cholesterol (for which I have taken statins) and my blood sugar last February tested as pre-diabetic.
Yeah, that last one disturbs me the most. I know that losing weight will knock that number off my list of worries. And diabetes is nothing I want to have to deal with.
When taking a look at “what’s so”, it’s important to simply view the facts objectively, without judgement. I could make up all sorts of stories about myself, my weight, my health – and I could make it all MEAN something about me as a man. That’s not going to be very helpful. What this exercise is about is establishing my starting point. That’s it. If you don’t acknowledge where you currently are, you can’t map out a plan for where you’re headed.
So, that’s my baseline. This is what I have to work with.
Now, let me share with you my vision of what I want and who I want to become!
STEP #1: THE VISION – Tell me what you want. What you really, really want.
The first step in creating a powerful coaching project is to write down your vision for the future as if it’s already happened. Imagine yourself already having achieved what it is that you want. What is your life like? How would you describe your day? Who do you get to be in this new life? Take some time to really put yourself in that place and think about what it will be like.
When crafting the future vision of my project here, I got comfortable, made a cup of coffee, meditated, and then started writing. I just let flow everything that I could about what it would be like for me to have the health and fitness I want.
I wrote nearly two pages, single-spaced, describing how I feel more energetic, how I like looking at myself in the mirror each day, how I’m getting compliments on reaching my goal and even noticing that I feel younger and more alive. I wrote about how I’m having fun cooking for friends and how shopping has become more of a game than a chore. How I’m enjoying trying out new recipes or experimenting with different spices. I envision receiving a clean bill of health from my doctor, having less joint pain, luxuriating in my improved flexibility. And I’m reveling in all the things that are now possible – a biking trip, hiking with friends, taking on a sport. Life is pretty awesome in this new place.
You may want to skip this part of project design, but I encourage you to take it on. Your future vision is the best description of what your unlived life looks like. And it’s the thing that will beckon you forward when you need inspiration to keep going. Write it. Post it where you can see it. Stay present to what it will be like when you reach your goal.
STEP #2a: THE OBJECTIVE: It’s all about the goal
Having created your future vision, we then separate this next step into two parts: We define the objective and the measures.
The objective is a statement that answers the question “What is the experience that you’re looking to create in your life?”
Similar to your future vision, the idea of the objective is to declare what your life will be like when you have achieved your goal.
My objective for this project is to create a life of health, vitality and vigor, a healthy, flexible, fit body and a positive relationship to food, cooking and eating. By July 31st, 2020
Notice two things about my objective. First, it doesn’t mention any metrics like how much I weigh or how many steps I’m walking. It’s solely focused on the relationship I want to have with my body and the experience I want to generate of being fit, healthy, and in a positive relationship with food. That’s the person I envision myself being. That’s the life I will have.
Second, note that I’ve put an actual date in the objective – a “by when”. In effect, I’m drawing a line in the sand and declaring that I will achieve my goal by a particular date. This is important, because without a firm “by when”, goals get slippery. You can hear the difference if I say “by sometime this fall” I will reach my goal. It has no power. And it lacks clarity and conviction. Bottom line: always put a date in your objective. It tells the universe you’ve got plans and you’re serious.
STEP #2B: THE MEASURES – How will we know?
Now that you’ve got the future vision and the objectives hammered out, it’s time to put some metrics to it all. In short, when we get to the declared date of your project’s goal, how will we know you’ve achieved it? This is where you can decide how your goal will show up.
Depending on your project, it could be a specific salary, a promotion, an engagement ring, or a number on a scale. The important thing here is to make it meaningful and consider using SMART goals to evaluate its appropriateness. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
I’ve decided that my measures for this project will be the following:
- I weigh less than 200 pounds
- I have 50 healthy, delicious and easy-to-make recipes in my cooking repertoire that I can call upon to generate my meals
- My flexibility, posture and range of motion have improved dramatically – I can place my palms on the floor in a toe touch.
- My muscles and joints are pain free and I am full of energy
- My well-being is consistently handled – physically, spiritually, emotionally
- Exercise is an integral part of every day
- I feel younger than my 53 years and am complimented on how I don’t look my age.
- I have a clean bill of health from my doctor
- I am eating clean and healthy meals and eating WELL, enjoying preparing food and cooking with and for friends
- I’m fully prepared for a hiking trip with friends in the next year
Now, those are quite a few measures. But I’m including them all so I can have multiple ways of winning at this game. And it points to the fact that success for me is not only going to be numbers on a scale, but other measurable experiences that I can point to as evidence that I’ve met my objective.
Well, that was actually less painful than I was thinking it would be. I’ve outed myself and hopefully enrolled you in supporting me. Perhaps I’ve even inspired you to join in! My intention is to make this the first of a series of articles documenting the project design process and providing progress reports – so stay tuned! If you’ve got a goal of your own that you’d like to achieve, visit my website and book a call with me. Let’s have a conversation about what you’re up to!
As always, you can support me by subscribing to my newsletter and connecting with me on social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. Let me know you’re out there and what you think!
Thanks for traveling with me on this journey, thanks for dreaming big, and until next time, make it a wonder-filled day!