Michelle Johnson is an Team BeautyFit® Athlete, IFBB Bikini Pro, ISSA Specialist in Performance Nutrition, and Fitness Trainer who is recognized as a national level fitness authority, figure model, speaker and writer.
Her innovative workout programs have been implemented into some of the nation's leading health and fitness organizations. Her articles have been published by many leading industry magazines. She is an industry speaker on topics including weight management, wellness and group fitness.
All of her online services are available worldwide and some are managed in person.
New Realities: The Art Science of Reaching Your Goals
It is the New Year and in order for you to achieve your goals this year, you must have a sound game plan. The problem is that for most us, we live the legacy of broken promises to ourselves. We swear that this year, we are going to do it. We start off strong and begin to slowly phase out and loose our focus. So what does it take to effectively achieve a goal and follow through? Just like a painter, if you want to be good at something, you have to understand basic principles related to what you want to achieve. Just because you understand the basics, does not mean you are going to be the world's next best artist. However, it will make it likely that you will become better and better at what you do if you do continue to practice and develop your skills.
In order for you to create an experience a few things need to be in order:
- 1) You must have energy to perform and accomplish what you set out to do.
- 2) You have to be able to separate yourself from the masses and believe you can do it and do it well. You have the power to accomplish it. You must believe in your ability to do it. If there is even a seed of doubt in the subconscious, it will manifest a failure.
- 3) You have to have an idea and the thought right? It starts there with, "hey I have this great idea and I am going to achieve it!". Our life is a canvas, and our thoughts take form and navigate us through out life to help us reach our goals.
Just because you have a thought that pops into your head does not mean you will manifest it and the outcome will be and look like you originally planned. As thoughts come in and out of your mind everyday, they are continually changing. You can imagine how this can change and shift a lot along the way. The point is you need to be mindful of your thoughts and what you really want to create with them. At the same time you need to be mindful that you don't expect your idea to manifest in the exact way you hope. It's best to keep an open mind. Ultimately, you may manifest the very thing you desire, but it may come out in a different shape or form and not always the way you planned or expected.
When you invest your own energy and consciousness into your thoughts is when they have the potential to become real. This sounds possibly like a lot of hocus pocus, but you are the divine Orchestrator. You are running your own show and what is going on with your thought process matters. I suggest you get organized and learn the art of good planning by whipping out a pen and paper or your smart phone notes area and begin here and now.
This is your first strategy. Begin by "MIND STORMING". Here is an example of how you can do this exercise:
Write down your goals and write down five ways you can reach your goal, then add on five more ways and possibly five more ways until you run out of strategies. Erase the top 5 ways. The reason you are erasing the top 5 ways is because, those top five often is the easy way out and the "comfortable way". In order to really succeed at reaching a goal that requires effort on our part and changing a habit, you must get out of your comfort zone. The way the mind processes, it will go to the top five most comfortable ways you will most likely follow through on, but it's the middle and bottom of your goal list where the real foundation lies. Where the work needs to be done and the effort applied. The discomfort zone. You must work from the bottom up so you get through the things that challenge you and keep you stuck in the comfort zone. You are most likely to succeed meeting your goals this way versus the more obvious ways. The more obvious ways are also how you have likely attempted to achieve the goal in the past. In bodybuilding, it is important that athletes work on their weak spots versus their favorite body parts to prevent imbalances. They have to go to the places they least like first in order to ensure they come in balanced and strong across the board. This philosophy applies to any goals!
Once you are out of your comfort zone and ready to get a little uncomfortable while applying yourself you will find acceptance is key. Just accepting that this is what I must do to get there is the least obvious step for most people. Most prefer the one foot in and one foot out approach, eventually leading to two feet out before you know it. You must whole-heartedly commit to your goal. You must let go of resistance and recognize the resistance you may get from others around you. Finding a way to work with this is empowering. When you own your goal and stop caving at the first signs of resistance. You build your confidence and your become stronger in an area that may be weak and sabotaging you. Recognize when you are dropping the excuses. When you stop excusing yourself and are serious about business suddenly your goals are a reality in sight.
Most importantly, set up your goals with shorter milestones. Try to hold yourself accountable to someone. Dieting never is easy alone and when you have a coach you have someone who should be helping you come up with strategies to help you meet the obstacles. Obstacles are always going to be there. There is never an ideal time in life to achieve something. You have to not make tomorrow your ambition, since tomorrow may not look any different than today, and make TODAY the day. Extreme goals fail when you don't start in the present moment, working from here and now and taking steps each and every day towards your goals.
You also have to have compassion for yourself knowing that you will fail at times. Falling off the wagon is not the issue. It's how you get back up and tackle things the next time. Eventually, you may get tired of falling and barrel through your obstacles, but not until you recognize that you need a strategy in place. You must have strategies to face the obstacles. Writing down all the obstacles you can think of related to your goals is a wise place to go next. What will you do if? There is a great opportunity in writing down your actual game plan. If you are serious about achieving a goal, you learn all you can about it or higher someone who can get you there. For the reality you want to create, it’s best you give yourself a realistic deadline.
Without deadlines, it's too easy to do things when we FEEL like it. If you are a person with a lot of energy and anxiousness, will you ever FEEL up for taking yoga and basking in stillness? Of course not! So you may miss out on valuable gifts because you fear that being still will cause you to jump out of your own skin. And so what if you do? Some welcome the challenge that discomfort brings while others run from it. It’s when we face our discomfort that we actually have the opportunity to receive the gift of our own personal evolution. This is PSYCHOLOGY 101. Looking at yourself, as an outsider looking in, you have to be honest about where your weaknesses lie and go there to accomplish your goal first. If you don’t you will only get half way in most cases, especially the goals that require your entire body, mind and soul. We have to not let our "feelings" get the best of us and be our compass. Who really feels like getting up at 7:30am to hit the gym? Maybe if you are “naturally a morning person”. But if this is out of your norm this will be miserable and if your goal is determined by having to get up at 7:30am and one day you oversleep, your mind that’s a failure. What if you could accomplish the same goal because you mapped it out so you are not having to get the gym at 7:30am, but you are going to go when you have the most likely chance of succeeding. We have to look at what we must do as mandatory and not optional. It must get done and you must find a way.
Many people have a fear of failure and that alone stops them from trying. If you are not amazing at something, maybe you don't see the value in doing it. Feeling inadequate or ignorant doing something is hard for many. The ego does not like it at all! The ego likes to be where it is glorified and not challenged. You must invest in what you want to succeed in and give it a level of respect. The investment may seem daunting, but it is psychological. It requires you determining the value. We have to feel we have worked to achieve it to really appreciate it in most cases. We of course, do appreciate gifts and things in our life, but it’s when we achieved something we took ownership of, set out to do and it turns out great that we put it in the TROPHY case.
Our fears, our ego and our perspective of things can be irrational at times. This in itself can be a real obstacle. The mind is our biggest challenge and overrides your true ability. You may not know your skill level unless you attempt your goal. By trying you get to know your own strength. If you can adapt to the idea that there is no failing, there is only quitting and not trying, never really knowing if you could or the real outcome, you miss the great gifts. This is how you make your attempt at every goal all good. You also give yourself a deadline to experience it without quitting. This way you can rationally determine if you want to carry on or take your poker chips and run.
Always approach your efforts in life doing your personal best. This is only measurable by you. You know when you do it and you know when you don’t. Even if you don’t just accept it and figure out what was in the way. What needs to shift and change within you or around you to beat what beat you down. Goal setting is a chance to learn more about your level of discipline and ability in a specific area. We can’t be good at everything, but if something is in our way in life and stopping us, it’s a positive no matter what to start to chip away at that rock. The goals we set, we need to understand why we are choosing it, what it represents and how it will improve the quality of our life. Maybe running a marathon is not for you, but maybe if you just lost that 20 extra pounds you could stop beating yourself up about your body and feel more comfortable in your skin. Maybe by doing this you achieve that. That’s the kind of thinking that makes sense to goal setting.
You always have to begin, by working truthfully and honestly from where you are at vs. being warrior women who jumps in the water in her first triathlon without learning the technique it takes to swim long distance. If worst comes to worst you are a step closer to your goal no matter what happens just because you tried. If you drop out early every time, make it your goal to not let yourself drop out for a given amount of time. Even if it is only a week longer than the usual, even if you don’t do well. You still finish what you start.
When we invest, we commit. Even if our investment is simply writing it down with the intention of manifesting it. When we commit we follow through and when we approach things not fearing the obstacle, but working with it. It’s through the very things that challenge us that we ignite a fire within that helps us churn through the challenges. When we do measure up, we look back and can see it was less about skill or logic and more about creativity!
For 2016, run your own show in life and create your goals. Make them your own by determining your next steps, strategize to get there and a plan of action ahead about how you will beat the obstacles. Know your weaknesses and strengths well proceeding from here. Eventually, with repetition you will become more skilled at your approach. You then can create the outcomes in life you desire on your terms. Goals are more easily achieved when you master the art science of creative thinking.