How to stay motivated and always moving forward
Lack of motivation is one of the primary reasons most people struggle with losing weight and getting fit. On episode 545 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, I discuss a way to use self-evaluation as a tool to stay motivated and always moving forward.
Let's Say Hello
[00:02:48.430] – Allan
Hey, Ras, how are things?
[00:02:50.330] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?
[00:02:52.050] – Allan
I'm doing all right. Just staying busy.
[00:02:56.230] – Rachel
That's good. Busy is good.
[00:02:58.070] – Allan
Yeah. A lot of moving parts, working with clients. I'd stopped for a little while, taking on new clients and had taken a break from that. I kept my old clients, I kept clients that have been around for a while, but I wasn't adding new clients. And so over the course of the last month, I've been adding new clients. And it's interesting because I was admittedly a little burned out when I took my break last time, but I'm finding this time that I'm much more energetic about it. And so I'm really excited to be bringing new clients on to the new program that I'm doing.
[00:03:33.170] – Allan
And six weeks actually feels right. I was doing twelve weeks and it was intense, and it was an intense twelve weeks. And then at one point I think I had eleven clients going through a twelve-week program all at the same time, and so it was just a little too much. So I think six weeks I can handle twelve and then take a break and see how things go.
[00:03:59.590] – Allan
This is working out really good and I'm loving the reactions and what's happening with the clients that are going through the program because they're seeing success and you think of six weeks, no, they're not seeing this crazy success from a standpoint. We're going to talk a little bit about measurement and how things look.
[00:04:20.970] – Allan
So no, they're not saying the scales like just falling off a cliff, but it's trending, it's going down, and that's important, and they say so. But what is more specific with this group as I'm going through at this time is their mindset shift. They're coming at this now with a can't lose attitude.
[00:04:43.600] – Rachel
Wow, that's great.
[00:04:45.210] – Allan
And you go through six weeks and have the confidence that what you're doing is working and that you can get this done, you'll get it done.
[00:04:52.730] – Rachel
Yeah. Well, they'll probably learn so much that they can carry forward, but that's great. Things are trending in the right direction.
[00:04:59.140] – Allan
[00:05:00.250] – Rachel
[00:05:01.150] – Allan
How are things up there?
[00:05:02.420] – Rachel
Oh, really wonderful. Mike and I just went on a backpacking trip over the weekend. We are testing our gear for our upcoming trip to Isle Royal, and it was a beautiful weekend. We did really well. Definitely hard backpacking with a lot of weight, something I haven't done in a while, but it was a great trip and just gorgeous. Michigan is beautiful right now in the summer.
[00:05:25.730] – Allan
Did you load your packs in such a way that they'll be about the same weight that they would be when you were going to do the longer.
[00:05:31.360] – Rachel
One or no, not yet. I feel like starting out we wanted to have a little bit lighter of a pack because once we're on Isle Royal, I imagine my pack will be in the 30ish pound range. And so I wore about 18 pounds, just enough for an overnight. But we still had the tent, the sleeping bag, the water purifier, the gear that we will take with us.
[00:05:54.820] – Rachel
So really what we would be adding to our pack later will be a couple of extra clothing items and a lot more food. We'll be on the island, I think five or six days, I really can't remember. And so we only did an overnight, so we only had two days worth of food, but everything worked spendedly. It was a great first outing, so we got a lot to look forward to.
[00:06:16.140] – Allan
Good. Yes. And last week we had Katie Gerber on, and she was talking. So it's kind of that thing get yourself ready for your pack, understand what your needs are, and then train physically and mentally. Train for it.
[00:06:29.900] – Rachel
Train, train, train. A great time.
[00:06:31.050] – Allan
Awesome. You ready to get into this week's episode?
[00:06:35.180] – Rachel
So today I wanted to talk to you about a way of checking in with yourself, seeing how well you're doing and doing it in a way that's fun and gives you a big benefit. A lot of times when I've done ratings and things with my clients in the past, it was really hard to get to a point where they felt successful in their journey, and that typically was because we were measuring the wrong things. So today I want to talk about a new process that I've implemented with my clients called the MNS Temperature Check. And it's a culmination of several different things, several different people I've talked to over the years, and there's a little bit of behavior science built into this whole thing.
So hear me out. Here's how it goes. So typically when we're trying to determine how well we're doing on our health and fitness journey, we focus on results. Did the scale go down? Did my strength improve from workout to work out? But one of the problems with measuring results is we don't always have control over those results. You might be doing everything right. All your activities, all your efforts are exactly what you should be doing, but the scale doesn't move.
Or you go into the gym and your energy is just a little off. And so you're not quite as strong this workout as you were the last time. And it's nothing that you did wrong. It's just sometimes the results don't fully align with the effort and activity, and it's never a straight line. So that's often why we're seeing this. And then when we have objective measures, so we say, okay, did we do our workout today? It often gets to feeling like it's just a checkbox.
So my clients are like, did you do your workout today? Yes. No. It becomes very checkbox for some people. It doesn't really rate how well that workout went, how they felt about that workout. It's objective, did you do it or not? Yes or no? And this process can also lead to a very perfectionist role. Meaning if I wanted to work out four days per week and something came up this week and I didn't get that fourth workout in, did I fail? A lot of people will feel like they had not counting the fact that they had three great workouts, they look at that fourth and they think that they didn't get and they think they failed.
And many people will use this as an opportunity to fall off. They're looking for perfection. When we should be looking for is progress. So a few weeks ago, it's been a while, I had an interview with Alan Aragon, and he introduced a rating system in his book that was very subjective, and I really liked that and that's why I pulled it out in that interview. It's episode 541. You can hear a little bit about that there. Alan is fascinating.
And it's a really great book on eating for performance that I highly recommend. Probably the best book I've read this year so far. And with his subjective rating, one of the other key points he brought up was that you want to just make sure that you're in the high range, are pushing up into the high ranges most of the time. That's how we would measure success. So it's going to be much more subjective about how you feel about the things that you've done.
Now, I've done something like this in the past, and I used a traffic light, and I've seen that used in different masterminds and groups that I've been a part of over the years, and that can be pretty good. The problem I have with the traffic light, though, is what happens if you're not quite yellow and you're not quite green, and what happens if you're not quite read but you're not quite yellow. So you can see that that doesn't really give you much of a range to really project where you stand. And so it becomes this kind of, well, is it more red than yellow? Is it more green than yellow? You start having those kind of dialogues between the person coaching and the individual being coached.
So I came up with the idea of using temperatures, and the reason I like temperatures is a few different reasons, but it's a very broad range. And so if you're thinking in terms of the temperature from freezing all the way to boiling, it gives you a pretty good range, and it gives you an opportunity to just pick something that feels more like what you're feeling with regards to how you're doing. So how do we do this? What are we going to measure? Okay, well, what we want to measure with the MNS is movement, nutrition and self-care. Now, I believe if you're doing these three things well, then you're improving your health.
You just are. So obviously we know what movement is. That means that you're moving throughout the day, you're getting your exercises. And your training in nutrition means that overall, you're eating well, good quality food. It means that you're not eating too much, and it means that you're getting the nutrition that your body needs. Self-care includes a lot of different things. It includes your sleep, your stress management, social connections. Are you avoiding toxins and are you doing things that bring you joy? So there's a lot wrapped up in that word, self-care. But I didn't want this to be eight different things we're trying to measure. I broke it into the three core foundational things movement, nutrition, and self-care.
Let's take just a moment to go through how this MNS Temperature Check works. And I might change the name of that in the future, but this is just descriptive. So of course, M equals movement, N equals nutrition, and S equals self-care. Okay? These are going to be our foundations for wellness and longevity. So what we want to do is we want to periodically, typically, maybe like once a week, check-in with ourselves, how are we doing?
How do we feel? Okay? And I would encourage you to do this on paper rather than on a computer, maybe even a calendar. On episode 446, I had Tony Horton on and he recommended using a paper calendar, writing a red X each time you did your workout. And if you're seeing more X's on that sheet than you are blanks, then you're doing the right thing. And then what I would say is, if you're doing that, then at the end of the week, sit down and record your temperatures.
Now, one of the reasons I really like this process is because it really fits well with my Slip to Success model, where you're forgiving yourself, you're learning and planning and you're acting. And I'll get into the full process of all this in just a minute. But if you're interested in learning more about that Slip to Success process, I do have a guide that's free. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/slip and there you'll find a copy of that guy. It walks you through the thought process of Slip to Success. And it's part of the backbone of how this process that I put together works with my clients and now with myself.
It is a two-part process. The first part is measurement. The second part is to look forward next week or next period, however you're doing this.
So the first thing you do is you ask yourself how you feel about your week for each of the three foundations movement, nutrition, and self care. And then I want you to use the words that you use to describe temperature. So you could say freezing, you could say boiling, you could say cooking, you could say lukewarm, you could say chilly. Just the words that you like to use that aptly describe what that temperature is for you. If you're doing great, everything's wonderful, and you really feel happy about your success and how you're doing with this one thing, say nutrition, you had a great week. You might say boiling. If you're having a bad week, you missed a couple of workouts or your energy level and the way you approach the workouts just weren't really motivated to work hard. And, you know, you didn't really push yourself as hard as you should have. You might want to say that you're lukewarm or cold. And so you can use the words that you like to use that are going to give you a good feel for where you are.
Okay. And after you do that, try to provide a little bit of color of why you feel that way. Maybe I don't feel good about my workouts because I had a couple of obstacles, and instead of being able to go into the gym for an hour and a half, I really could only get in there for half an hour. So I did get a workout in, but it wasn't as good a workout as it would have been if I'd been able to stay in the gym a little bit longer. So I have obstacles. I have roadblocks, maybe Saboteur, my wife is in the United States right now, wedding planning. And so I have a little bit of double duty trying to run the gym, run this, run Lulu. And that kind of puts a lot of stress on when and what I can do. And then there's just the emotions. Sometimes you just go into the gym, and you're just not emotionally ready to do what you need to do. And so there are different things that can be going on, so you can kind of write those things down. So you have a little bit of color to why you said cold for your workouts, and you can have some color, why you feel really good about your nutrition, whole food, plant meals, and at least at that point, you know, okay, when I do these things, I get boiling.
When I don't, what do I get? And this is going to give you a lot of information that's going to help you moving forward. So at the end of each week or each period, however you want to break it up, you do a measurement, and you do it on a temperature scale, and then you kind of put a little bit of color to why was it the way it was. Then we get to part two of this process. Now, part two is where we ask ourselves, okay, based on what I know, what I see, what is one area of these three, that if I put a little bit more energy and effort, I could move the needle and move the needle a good bit. And so I would say, if you're already boiling on your fitness, keep doing what you're doing. And if you need to improve your nutrition, then that's the one. Maybe you had a lot of stress this week, and you need to do something about stress. That's your one thing, and I want you to limit it to one thing. And the reason is, this is going to be your big rock.
This is the one thing you know is going to move the needle the most for you. So this is where you want your intention for the week to be. You really want to apply effort to this. And if we try to do more than one thing at a time, we often dilute our effort across all those things and we're not quite as successful. So don't be trying to pick up all the big rocks. There might be a lot of them. But know which is the biggest rock. Know which one you know you can do. And that is the best one for you to do now. And then think through some actionable steps, some things that you can do, strategies and tactics that you can implement, they're going to help you do this better. So if my nutrition was off and I know because I've seen it in previous weeks, that batch cooking on Sunday makes me much more effective at maintaining and staying on plan, then I need to add batch cooking to my week. I need to make sure that I do that. If it means, okay, I need to go through the pantry and throw out some things that I really don't need and don't want in there, then I do that.
So write out some strategies and tactics, the things that are going to help you be successful as you go into this next week.
So I want to share a few key points about this. It's subjective and with it being subjective, it's going to rely on how you feel at point in time. So yes, recognize that you want to do this when you're clear headed, when you're not mad or angry or frustrated, but just sit down. And subjectively, objectively but subjectively, write down your temperatures, write down why you feel that way. And then write down what your plan is to go forward. This is going to require honesty. Now if you're checking with me as a coach, I need you to be honest. I need you to be honest with yourself and I need you to be honest with me. But if you're doing this, check-in for yourself, then you need to be honest with yourself. Because if you're lying to yourself, you're not going to get very far. And then what this does, this process builds self-awareness. Why did I have a cold week? Because this happened. Because I did that. Because I didn't do that.
This builds self-awareness for you to understand what the obstacles are, the things you may be do to sabotage your own trip. And so this self-awareness is part of a reiterate process of do, learn, improve over time. So we're going to do what we do. We're going to learn from our mistakes. We're going to learn from our successes as well. And it's all going to be recorded as you go through this process each week. And it's quick. This is not like you have to sit down and get on a scale and pull out tape measures and then go get a blood test. It's just a quick sit down. This whole exercise shouldn't take more than a few minutes. And as you get better at it, you'll sit down and just be able to say, okay, I'm cold and nutrition. I'm cooking with my movement and I'm say Lukewarm with my self-care. My plan for the next week batch cooks so I can get my nutrition back on track. Avoid going to the restaurants because I'm more likely to order a beer at a restaurant than I am if I stay home. So just recognize it's very quick.
You can get that done in just a few minutes.
So to summarize this MNS Temperature Check Process, you're looking at movement, nutrition, and self-care. These are the three foundations of wellness and longevity.
There are two parts and each is just a quick thought exercise, very quick. You take a look back and you assess your temperature on movement, nutrition and self-care using the words that you like to use that give you a good feeling that you're understanding where you are. And then you want to look forward. What do we learn from this? What can we do next week to make our intentions and make sure that we're doing something a little better?
And then we get that incremental improvement because we implement a new strategy or a new tactic and we see incremental improvement. And as you get going on this, you'll notice that if you're doing all of these things the way that it's intended, the temperatures should start to go up. Now. Can they go down? Yes. We can have a bad week. We can have a bad day. Stuff happens, life happens. And so we can't rate ourselves and think that we're always going to be cooking and always going to be boiling, but we can do the best we can do.
And so in the example where I said I only got three of the four workouts I intended to do, three out of four is actually pretty good. You could give that a good warm temperature and feel good. You've done something. You're not just saying yes or no. I failed. I passed. This is a good way to say three-quarters of the time I did. Well, that's pretty darn warm, so bordering on hot. And you can give yourself that rating and understanding what you're doing. So I did put together a little worksheet for this to walk you through it. It's the 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/mns and that'll pull up a guy. Now, I said to record this on the calendar, but I think when you first get started, it might be nice to have this worksheet so it will walk you through the process. You won't need this worksheet forever because you'll start to remember how to do it. But it's good to have it written down. And then as you go through and look at the words that are changing, again, having a record of this is going to really help you.
Also, again, if you don't remember the slip to success, you can get that guide. I'm going to have these links in the show notes for this episode, that's 40Plus FitnessPodcast.com/545.
I hope you enjoyed this. It's a new way that I'm checking in with my clients, and I'm really enjoying it because it's starting really good dialogues about why we feel the way we feel about our journey and what we can do to improve with a solid plan for the upcoming week. So I hope that works out for you. Let me know. You can comment on this, or you can join us in the Facebook group at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/group. I'd love to see how you're using this and what results you're getting. Thank you.
[00:24:00.870] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:24:02.260] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. I love your new measurement about taking a temperature check and checking in with yourself. I think this is a really great tool for people to use.
[00:24:12.750] – Allan
Yeah, it's funny. Little bits and pieces of this came to me over time, like the interview with Tony and having something visual in front of you all the time so you can kind of see the things that you're doing. Right.
[00:24:26.670] – Allan
And then talking to Alan Aragon and getting into the way he was going about this, people checking in and doing it, and I was thinking, okay, well, one, I want to cover the core things because you can overmeasure. Right. You waste a lot of time doing this and thinking through it and numbers and all that.
[00:24:48.730] – Allan
And then I also went and said, okay, well and I know that we did stoplights. I have one group. I'm still part of their mastermind, and they do stop lights every week. And I'm like, I'm puke yellow. Okay. A little bit of green in there.
[00:25:05.310] – Rachel
[00:25:05.310] – Allan
But no, so I want a little bit more granularity there so that someone can do that. And then the practice of the words and knowing that okay. The words we use are really important. In fact, I think the next solo episode I do, which I'm not absolutely certain, but might actually be next week, will be about that, about what are the words we're using when we're talking about ourselves.
[00:25:33.760] – Allan
We're talking about health and fitness and what you might find over time. And I'll see how this plays out, but you might actually start looking up new words to say hot. You might spell it a little differently, like H-A-W-T when you're really feeling hot.
[00:25:53.590] – Allan
So this can be fun. And the other side of it is to realize that self-reflection, self-assessment is not meant to be a punishment. It's meant to be a learning opportunity. And if you can make it fun and exciting for yourself to say, okay, I want to come up with a new word for what I'm doing here.
[00:26:11.310] – Allan
And you mentioned something earlier on the call when we're talking about this being a learning experience, is that you're not just learning from your failures.
[00:26:19.950] – Rachel
[00:26:20.570] – Allan
You're learning from your successes.
[00:26:22.460] – Rachel
Absolutely, yeah. When I work with my clients, I have a really detailed training log. I give them. And when they do a workout, hill repeats or speed drills or something, I want them to write details on there. How was that workout? Was it hard? Do your legs feel heavy? How did you feel afterwards?
[00:26:39.730] – Rachel
Because most of the time, even though hill repats are super hard, you feel really strong after that. And then after a couple of weeks of training, after doing that repeatedly, you're advancing from maybe four or five times up a hill to six or eight times up a hill, and you're still feeling really hard. And it's a challenge, but you're feeling even stronger.
[00:26:59.540] – Rachel
And as you look back over your entire training log, you can see the progress you made a lot easier. And maybe not day to day or week to week, but you do see it, and you feel so much stronger for having accomplished all these things. And then that propels you even forward. It gives you a lot of confidence to tackle the next big challenge.
[00:27:17.790] – Allan
Yeah. And I think that's really important for people to recognize that self-awareness is a key component to change. And when you start recognizing that things are working, then you can double down on those. And when things are not working, then you can drop them, and you can try something else. Come up with a different strategy. Use a different tactic.
[00:27:40.090] – Allan
If you're doing a certain exercise and I'll tell you you're doing a certain exercise and it hurts, stop. Okay. Yeah, you're supposed to feel the muscle working, but you're not supposed to injure yourself doing exercise. And so we stop. So that's feedback. Okay. When I do upright rows, my shoulder hurts. Guess what I don't do anymore.
[00:28:01.810] – Rachel
[00:28:02.340] – Allan
And I actually cringe every time I see somebody in the gym doing it because I'm like, that's how you tear a rotator cuff. Just recognize that we have all this information from everything we do and journaling or like I said, putting it on a calendar is Tony recommended with the Xs. And I recommend doing this because you can literally look across the month and say, wow, I had an awesome June. Look at that June.
[00:28:29.366] – Rachel
[00:28:29.870] – Allan
All those hots and warms. And I compare that to May, and May was lukewarm and cold, and now I'm getting a lot more hots, and I'm getting a lot stronger, and my body weight is going down. And then I notice if I start recording a few lower ranges, that, okay, something's changed. I've got to diagnose that, and I've got to do something different.
[00:28:56.530] – Rachel
Yeah, well, like, you even mentioned the self-care aspect of it. If you're not getting a lot of sleep or if you're on vacation and not eating your right foods, then you may not perform quite as well. But all of this works together. And if you can pay attention to all these little details together, then it would make sense. If you're not hitting the marks that used to hit anything, and you have to give yourself some grace there.
[00:29:19.070] – Rachel
If you're on vacation and you're not sleeping well and not eating well, you know what you're having vacation. That's important for self-care. That's a hot spot right there. That's hot. Even though your movement may not be.
[00:29:31.150] – Allan
Yeah. And that's kind of the key. I did put the Slip to Success as a part of this discussion because I really want to put forward that this is your opportunity to use this for learning. So you can go I did an episode. You can go to the podcast page, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/podcast, and you can look up Slip to Success and probably find that episode. But I do have the guide, so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/slip and get the Slip to Success Guide. It's not a huge thing. It's a one-page PDF to walk you through the process.
[00:30:05.060] – Allan
And then as you're working through your temperature check, I have a Worksheet 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/mns, and you can just download that worksheet and use that for your starter to understand how the process works for you, get comfortable with it, and then you probably won't need that worksheet. After that, I'd encourage you to consider doing it on a calendar. Or you can just print out a bunch of worksheets and just put them in a binder and do your weekly check-ins or however frequently makes the most sense for you. Every four days, once a week, whatever you feel is a good reminder for you to sit down and tweak things on your go forward.
[00:30:43.520] – Allan
So take the lessons learned and move forward with that is really important.
[00:30:48.640] – Rachel
Yes, download. That would be great.
[00:30:50.990] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.
[00:30:53.540] – Rachel
Awesome. Take care.
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