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How to Finish What You Start

February 13, 2010

I’ve always fancied myself a bit of a poet or philosopher. I tend to look at life as a metaphor when I’m in search of answers that may elude me at the present. Today was no different.

I was at lunch with a friend earlier this week and he asked me what my current workout goals were. I sat there for a bit before answering. I realized that when I was doing P90X I had some goals that included basically FINISHING the program, but I wanted to drop 15 lbs., lose bodyfat, etc. My current 90 day program is a hodge podge of eating Primal/Paleo, dropping bodyfat, gaining definition, etc. But I realized when he asked the question I had forgotten one simple thing. I had never written those goals on paper.

Today I was in the midst of cleaning up my To Do list that I have at home. I knew I needed to get some goals put together but incidentally I came across a great e-book I had downloaded and never even started reading. It’s called Burn Fat Feed Muscle by Tom Venuto. Venuto has been a reliable, honest source for nutrition and bodybuilding quite some time and this 350 page e-book appears to be chock full of great info. Even better for me: Chapter 1 is all about setting goals.

Quoting the likes of Zig Ziglar and Denis Waitley, Venuto quickly establishes himself as more than your typical musclehead (and he’s not that for sure). I’m impessed with his research and his choice of material. The chapter fully discusses setting goals; specific goals that is. I’ve talked about having a strong WHY before.  Venuto takes it a step further by talking about how powerful your sub-conscious is in realizing your goals.
Truly this is where so many people fail in their endeavors. Negative programming we’ve allowed to enter our thoughts sabotages us more than we know. We often never attempt many things because our mind tells us, “What’s the use?” But we have the power within us to change that.

Putting your goals on paper is a great start. Setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time based goals (SMART) is the way to kick it all off. But to take it one step further, you need to train your mental prowess along with your physical prowess.  Venuto cites a few studies that show how visualization and mental training can have more of a positive impact than just physical training by itself.

When you have your goals written out, the next step involves making statements of affirmation in the PRESENT tense. This piece may sound corny, but according to Venuto the sub-conscious responds best to things expressed in present and not future tense. In addition make them personal. For example, “I am so happy I am lean and can see my abs.” Reading your affirmation statements daily puts the finishing touch on your masterpiece.  Knowing what to do versus doing what you know is the difference in attaining goals. Setting goals, affirming those goals and visualizing them are the keys. And that is where the poet in me came out today.

OK, back to the poet/philosopher part:  I went for a walk this afternoon. The walk had me trudging through snowdrifts and recently fallen snow. It was peaceful and gave me time to pause and relax. As I went down the partially obstructed sidewalks, the initial path I made was my own and so it was a little challenging to trek through. But when I turned around and came back, I was more familiar with the path and my own footprints gave me comfort that I had made it on the way out and that I could make it back home. The efforts weren’t as hard on the way home and then it hit me.

My path through the snow became a metaphoric parallel to my workout goals and visualization. The more I walk the path, the more comfortable I would continue to become with the path. Over time I’ll know the path, the harder parts to traverse and I can anticipate how to overcome difficulties. And so it is with visualization. Having a goal and rehearsing it’s completion in your head can provide positive comfort and help you finish what you’ve started. The more often I let that occur the more affirmed I’ll be in having a great workout.

If you want more info, check out Venuto and his work over at In the meantime, map out your next goal, affirm yourself of it’s completion, and then make it happen.

What goal have you accomplished you’re most proud of? Would this method have made it easier?

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