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December 31, 2018

Get healthy and fit with commitment, strategy, habits, and tactics

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  • Judy Murphy

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As we look to the new year, our health and fitness move to top-of-mind. On this episode, I discuss how commitment, strategy, habits, and tactics can help you reach all of your health and fitness goals.

As we close out 2018, I thought it would be good for me to do an episode that was geared towards helping you be successful. As we go into a new year, this is often the time of year where people want to really start bearing down on certain goals – be it health, be it fitness, be it wealth – different things that we put on our plate that we want to accomplish in the new year. And if being healthy and fit is something that’s on your plate, which for most of it is, these four words that I’m going to share with you today and how they apply, is going to be very, very important for you to be successful.

The words are: commitment, strategies, habits, and tactics. I’ll start with each one and then give a definition and some examples. After I’ve done that, I’ll talk about how each of these interplay and the order with which you must do them, because it is very important that you do all of them and that you do them in the right order.

COMMITMENT

The first one is commitment. A commitment is so much stronger than any other thing that you’re going to do for yourself. You could say you have a resolution, you could start a diet, you can say you’re going to use willpower, do things to improve your willpower; but in a general sense, all of those are typically designed to fail. What you need is a commitment.

When you commit to something, you just do it. It’s much more personal to you. It’s much more ingrained in your psyche to be successful when you have a commitment.

Commitment is comprised of two things. The first one is your “Why”. Your “Why” must be deep and emotional, and generally fixed. What I mean by that is, it needs to be something that you truly, truly care about. If you don’t care about it – like you say, “I want to lose 20 pounds so I can fit in a smaller size jeans” – that’s great, but you’re not committed to wearing smaller jeans. Whereas if you want to reduce your waist size because you know that will make you healthier and you’ll be around for your children longer – that’s a commitment. That’s deep and personal, because now it’s about family, it’s about something more important than just the jeans size that you’re wearing.

If you’ve been following me for any period of time, you know that my commitment, my “Why” is my daughter. It started out as my daughter, then when I got married to Tammy, it’s now my wife and our children, and then of course our grandchildren as they come about. My commitment is to them.

I don’t want to just be here for them; I want to be working with them. I want to be doing things with them. I want to be active with them. I want to be participating in their lives. So my vision is for me to be independent, fit and strong, to be able to do the things that they’re doing to be engaged in their lives.

So I put those two together: my “Why” – my children, grandchildren, my wife; and my vision is to be active in their lives, to be independent. That’s my commitment. My commitment is to do the work and do the things that are necessary to make sure that I am the person that I want to be for them. That’s my commitment.

STRATEGIES

The next word – strategies. Strategies are the things that we do to ensure that we’re going to be successful. And that only comes about if we really do a good deep dive exercise of self-awareness and looking at our lives and saying, “What’s realistic? What’s the most likely outcome if these things happen?”

So, strategies are the things that we do to keep us on track when something might have knocked us off. A perfect example for me is, every once in a while if I see M&M’s, particularly peanut M&M’s, I’m all over them. It’s very, very hard for me to walk past a bowl of M&M’s and not just eat them all. I know that’s a tendency of mine, so I just don’t buy M&M’s. I don’t have them in the house, I don’t have them in the cupboard, so I’m less inclined to do that thing.

Another one that I’ve talked about a good bit is, when I was going to an office, if I didn’t pack my gym bag the night before and leave it on the floor where I would almost practically trip over it on the way out, I would sometimes forget my gym bag or I’d forget to pack socks or shoes or something silly like that, and I’d end up missing a workout. So, for me to make sure that I am consistently going to the gym, I have to pack my gym bag the night before.

Now it’s a little different because I work from home, but I need to put my gym clothes out. Right after I finish recording this episode, I’m going to go down to the gym and do some work, because I already have my gym clothes on. They were the ones I left out for me to get into this morning when I woke up, so I have my gym clothes available to me and I’m ready to go work out. So, the strategies are the things that we do to help ensure that we stay the course.

HABITS

The next one is habits. Habits are the things we do without even having to think of them. One habit will be that you brush your teeth every evening before you go to bed. You probably brush your teeth every morning when you wake up. Habits are the way that you drive to work each day. Habits are the natural little things that you do in the course of living your day-to-day. The way we’re going to build a habit is by making it a part of each day regularly.

Just like brushing your teeth became like a ritual before bed – working out, eating well – those have to be habits. I talked about the strategy of walking around the grocery store. Now I don’t even think about going down any of the aisles, unless I specifically need something from that aisle. But in a general sense, as soon as I walk in the grocery store, I turn to my right and I circle the grocery store. That’s just my normal habit at this point in my life; I don’t even think about it. And that keeps me away from most of the foods and things that I don’t want to put in my body, and keeps me closer to the things that I do. So, I’ve developed habits that help me stay healthy and well.

TACTICS

And the final one that I want to talk about is tactics. Tactics are the things we do to get healthy and fit. I may ask a client when they first go in the gym and they want to start lifting, “I’m going to put you on a five by five program, doing these five exercises.” When I say “five by five”, that’s five sets, five repetitions of these five different exercises that basically give them a full body workout each time. So the tactic is the five by five.

As far as eating, some of my clients like to go low-carb. And when they go low-carb, that’s a tactic; it’s the style of eating that they’re choosing. They’re choosing a tactic of low-carb as a way of potentially losing some body fat, and yet fueling themselves.

So, as you look at the things that you would do, I want you to make sure that the tactics you’re using are the ones that are really going to move the needle. So the tactic of getting a B12 shot once a month – while it might boost your energy, that’s not a “move the needle” tactic so much as making sure you’re getting in a good amount of water each day, or making sure you’re working out and lifting and doing resistance exercise. The resistance exercise tactic or the making sure that you’re staying hydrated tactic – those are the tactics that are going to move the needle for you the most.

The B12, or wearing an altitude mask, or all these other little crazy things that are out there, are not going to move the needle nearly as much. Now, there might be a point in your fitness and health journey where those other tactics make sense to add to your repertoire, but you want to focus your energy and your time on the tactics that are going to do the most good for you. We don’t have unlimited energy and we don’t have unlimited time. Those are very limited resources and we want to be very careful about the application of those, so that we’re getting the most bang for the buck.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Now, I say commitments, strategies, habits, and tactics in that order for a very specific reason. The commitment lays the foundation for everything that you’re going to do. When you’ve made a good commitment, you have a good vision of where you’re going to go and you have a good “Why” that’s going to keep you going. So the commitment has to be the first thing, it has to be done right. Once you have a good commitment in your mind and you’ve written it down and now you’re going to practice that commitment, everything else will fall in place so much easier.

Now through self-awareness, through knowing the basic things going on in your life, you can start establishing the strategies that are going to lay the framework for how everything else is going to work. I’ll use myself as an example.

I said that I want to be independent and active with my children and grandchildren, and whatever they’re doing in their lives, I want to be a part of it. I know that if I want to live a longer life, I need to feed my body the types of food that are good for it. So my strategies have to be built around, how do I make sure that I’m getting good food? How do I make sure that I’m doing the right things to keep myself fit? And fitness in this context is very different than CrossFit fit or just wanting to be able to complete a particular task, like a race or whatnot. This is fitness to be the person that I want to be.

As we age we’re more likely to fall, and that fall is likely to put us in the hospital or kill us. I want to make sure that I don’t fall, so in addition to training my strength so that I can do the things I need to do, I need to train balance, so that I’m as balanced as I can be and I don’t fall as often. Those are two different things that I’m working on within my fitness, so I have to put the strategies in place to make sure that I do that.

Strategies I’ve talked about – leaving my clothes out so I know that I’m getting my workouts in. Strategies of making sure that I’m shopping for the best quality foods, going to the farmer’s market, or at least walking the perimeter of the grocery store.

Now, after you’ve done a strategy for quite some time, it becomes a habit. So going down into my basement gym and getting in a good workout each morning because I’ve put my clothes on – suddenly now it becomes a habit of, that’s just what I do. I wake up and I go down to the gym. And maybe I’m doing some strength training, maybe I’m doing some balance training, or a combination of both. But I know I have a purpose down in the gym because I have a vision, I have my commitment, I have my strategies, and now I’m developing a habit by continuing to do the things that I need to do. So, once I get down into the gym or once I get in the grocery store – that’s the point where now I can start applying tactics.

My tactics are saying, “Buy a whole bunch of vegetables. Just look for everything that’s fresh and organic. Get the best quality vegetables I can get and fill up my cart with those. Going over to the meats, look for the high-quality grass-fed meats.” And that’s what I do. Whether I’m at the farmer’s market or at the grocery store, I’m looking for the highest quality. So my tactic is high-quality food. My tactic is I’m going to do strength exercises, which are basically lower rep heavyweight, and I’ll do some balance work on a regular basis as a function of my workouts. Those are the tactics that are going to get me there.

SUMMARY

You see how if I try to skip the order, I never develop the habits? If I don’t have the commitment, I’m never going to get to the habits. And so many people like to start this journey with the tactics.

We’re rolling into January, so it’s like, “I’m going to go on a diet.” What does that mean? It’s like, “Well, no candy or cakes for me.” They’ve got a tactic – they’re cutting out cake, they’re cutting out candy. That’s great; they’re cutting down on the sugar a little bit, but they really don’t have the commitment, they don’t have the strategies. So what’s going to happen when they show up to work and it’s birthday day for one employer or another, and there’s cake?

Are they really going to have the commitment and the ability, the strategies to walk away and not eat the cake? Or are they going to make that a failure point in their plan and lose their diet? So, as you go through this, just remember, you need the commitment to make sure that all of this stays in place.

The strategies will be the ones that keep you on the road the most, keep you most effective. The habits are going to be the things that become automatic for you, which actually makes getting well very easy once you’ve developed healthy habits. That takes time, it takes effort, but if you have the commitment and the strategies in place, you can and will develop really good habits for your health and wellness. And then finally, the tactics. The tactics you choose need to be the best ones that are going to move the needle the most for you, where you are on your journey today. In that order – commitment, strategies, habits, tactics.

I hope that this has been helpful for you. If you have any questions at all about this – please, please, please, reach out to me. You can get in touch with me at allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. I love getting emails from you guys. Or you can go to the Facebook group at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group. Both of those are great places to interact with me. I love getting emails, I love having the discussions on the Facebook group, because that’s where other people can get the benefit of your questions and our comments and what’s going on there. So please do go check out the group or send me an email if you have any questions or want to talk further about this topic.

Alright. It’s that time of year when we all start getting a little bit more focused on goals, commitments, resolutions and all of that. So I hope you’ll take today’s lesson to heart as you do kick in for the new year and get your fitness stuff going on. It is very important for you to make sure that you’re committed to have the strategies in place, to develop the appropriate habits, and also to make sure that you’re finding the right tactics to make sure that you’re successful in meeting your fitness and health goals. This is the perfect time for you to hire a coach, and I would like to be that coach. As a coach you can have me for accountability, you have me to bounce any questions off of, you have me there to make sure that you get the most out of the time and effort you’re putting into the gym and into the kitchen. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs to learn more about what I do with my coaching.

I have two basic programs – very simple “Do It Yourself” programs; or if you really want me with you along the way, you can join the group fitness or apply for the one-on-one. I do have some slots open for one-on-one clients at this time. So if you’re interested in really kicking things up a notch, meeting all of your wellness and fitness goals for the year, I highly recommend that you hire a coach and I hope that you’ll choose me. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs today. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

Wellness Roadmap Part 1

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