Gain consistency by using your data to hold yourself accountable
Welcome to the last part of a 5 part series. I’m helping ambitious people use health and fitness, to do exactly what they need to live a better life. Nothing more, less is best.
By now you should have read parts 1 and 2 the overviews, part 3– the be-do-have upgrade, and part 4 the sensory diet & brain food. If you haven’t, please have a quick look so the below words make sense. Or if you are like me and just want to jump right into this post, by all means, DO YOU!
Some people like to track most things they do. Most people hate doing that and might say, “It takes the fun out of stuff.” Like most things in life, you can make anything work for you. But there is a limit to not looking at the data. Because the data when observed objectively, rarely lies.
Seeing your data takes away the guesswork/emotional attachment (remember your feelings lie), motivates you and then creates the cycle of success (see above feedback loops of life diagram)
Below I’ll give a quick overview of the tools, tricks, and tactics I’ve learned over the years to help you come up with a proper objective. You may then work backwards from there to create milestones and goals that break down into small units. When things are granular and approachable, there is a power that feels like what you want is actually obtainable. It’s obtainable because you will see the progress via your data.
[Shameless Plug] Please note that I have a podcast called “Master of Some”. It’s the internet’s most exciting health and fitness podcast that can help you live a better life. Think – Wellness audio stories served as a metaphor for life, business and art. It’s quite meta, but we did a whole episode on objective and goal setting that is a supplement to this post. You can listen to that here.
Why, Why, Why, Why, and Why
“There is one rule in life. You can never lie to yourself”-Unknown
When someone comes up and asks me to help them get fit, or sort out their life, I immediately ask them, “What quantifiable outcome do you want?” I may then get a confused mindblown face from said person. 🤯🤨 If they are smart, they might proceed to provide an intelligent roundabout answer as to why they don’t need to quantify their objective.
It’s not that quantifying an outcome is complex, it’s actually quite easy. The reason smart people rarely quantify their goals boils down to two simple things; It is mentally and emotionally hard.
After this awkward exchange, I push through and ask them to provide either or both of the following to help capture and clarify their main objective;
- A number that will make them happy/satisfied/content/amazing, etc.
- A date that will make them [insert whatever positive feeling they are looking for]
Next, I ask them to play the five why’s game. This is literally someone asking themselves why they want, what they want, five times. You can approach this in two ways;
- Ask five unrelated why’s
- Let the answer to each “why” be the start of the next question.
Think – little kid asking why all the time.
I took this directly from the Five Why’s technique. It’s a great honesty exercise because most mentally sound, smart and ambitious people have trouble lying to themselves through this framework.
Start with the problem. Most likely you want to “get healthy and fit” (ambiguous and unclear, but where most people start). All you need to do is ask yourself why you want to “Get a beach body for summer?”
Then you go down the rabbit hole from there and ask why to the last question. By the time you get to the fifth answer, you should be at the root cause of the problem and now are able to start planning how you can execute your strategy. This is definitely the stage where a mentor, advisor, or coach can hold you accountable and keep you on track to reach your goals (see below).
Problem:/Issue You are overweight and your doctor said you will have more health complications sooner than later in life if you don’t change something.
But why did you and do you keep doing these things to make yourself unhealthy?
Let’s play the game!
- Why am I overweight?
Because I eat bad foods most days
- Why do I eat bad food?
Because I don’t know what healthy eating is
- Why don’t I know what healthy eating is?
Because even though I am smart, I have never researched it and it’s scary
- Why am I scared of it, it’s just info and data?
Because I didn’t prioritize the time and brain energy to research and plan my meals
- Why didn’t I prioritize it?
Because up until now, I didn’t see this a real issue since it’s been a slow weight gain and now I want to be the best version of myself for the future so that I live a long and healthy life. I can then love and be loved by my family and friends and provide for them.
The above might not be exactly your issue, but if you’ve read this far, you are ambitious, smart and you can pick up sh*t easily. Every person’s Five Why’s will be different, and different is amazing!
The below is from health and fitness coach and writer John Fawkes (with permission)
Successful people form daily habits
“The most successful people have a lot of things they do every single day, with total consistency. Sometimes these are directly diet and fitness related like they run every day or eat a salad every day.
Most often though, they have accountability and mindful habits. Things like weighing themselves every day, checking in with me every day, logging all their meals, etc. The more of these daily habits someone builds, the more successful they are. “
They standardize some of their meals
“The most successful dieters eat the same few things over and over for at least some of their meals. Usually, this means they eat the same 2-3 things for breakfast over and over; sometimes they do the same for lunch.”
Unsuccessful people talk about feelings more often than successful ones
“This is probably going to piss off the sensitivity brigade, but when you’ve coached a few dozen clients, this pattern becomes as clear as day. The people who do the best don’t talk about their feelings very much– they may mention being stressed out or happy sometimes, but that’s about the extent of it.”
Successful trainees modify their programs as needed, on their own initiative
“Suppose your workout calls for you to do bench presses next, but all of the benches are taken. What do you do?
The best answer here is, do the parts of your workout out of order– skip the bench and come back to it in a few minutes. If it’s still not available, do a dumbbell chest press, or a cable chest press. Or whatever, just for that day. The point is, you figure out how to #GetItDone.”
What Gets Measured Gets Managed
“They didn’t measure anything in the gym. They didn’t track their workout, reps, weight, time, speed or any other metric. Not tracking your progress is one of the six major mistakes I see from unsuccessful people.– James Clear
We all have areas of life that we say are important to us, but that we aren’t measuring.”
Based on my Discovery Process (Link) (scientific studies, talking with experts and my own experience), the best thing a person can do after setting an objective is to track their progress. The phrase “What Gets Measured Gets Managed” is all facts.
You can keep it as simple as weighing yourself, measuring your limbs, and taking a photo of your body every Saturday. Or you can go down the fun rabbit hole of data analysis and use my personal data tracking spreadsheet (link) to help track it.
I wrote a bunch and did a podcastt about using your own data to hold yourself accountable and create habits that will last a lifetime here (link). Please feel free to read or listen to get a better understanding.
What do you want to do and why do you want to do it? Comment below and let me know. Once you figure that out, hit me up (link) for a free consultation session and I’d love to use the 80.20 Experience of being more with less to help you become the best version of you.