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Get Back on the Horse – Part II

If you missed Part I of this article, click HERE.

Going for a ride!

Going for a ride!

Earlier in Part I, I described myself as a “gym rat” when I lived in North Carolina.  I lifted weights with friends almost every day.  We scheduled what body parts we would work on, and the exercises we would do every day.  We would improvise and change up the program for fun every now and then.  One of the guys in the group had been lifting for quite a while, and was quite strong.  I would challenge myself by secretly competing with him as we lifted, which is something that helped me immensely.

I was achieving my fitness goals, and was in the best shape of my life!

Then…things changed.

I picked up and moved to Arizona.  It was one of the biggest and best decisions that I have ever made, not just because I gained a wonderful partner in life…my wife Jill…I have also had some great experiences that might have never happened had I decided to stay in my hometown.

The downside to this was that I couldn’t take the gym or my friends with me.  The tools and support that I used to help achieve and maintain my fitness goals were gone.  The plan that I was using was solid as a rock, and I had no “contingency plan” to deal with changes such as this.  Yes, I did join a gym in Arizona, but it wasn’t the same, and after a couple of years of working out on-and-off, I began to falter…and eventually gave up.

I fell off the horse…in a BIG way!

Everything that I had worked so hard for disappeared, and before I knew it, my weight was the highest that it has ever been…255 pounds!  We had bought a home gym with an Olympic barbell set, plus an elliptical for cardio.  However, because I made the decision not to pick myself back up and “get back on the horse,” they just became dust collectors.

Me after falling off the horse...250+ lbs!

Me after falling off the horse…250+ lbs!


Why did this happen?

This leads us to what is probably the biggest reason that people give up on their goals:

Goals with no “Game Plan” – This happens when the individual creates the goal without really planning out the necessary steps to take in order to achieve the goal.  It’s like wanting to drive to the next town in a car without a steering wheel…you have everything but a way to guide you to your goal!

The game plan provides guidance toward goal achievement.  To effectively use a game plan, keep these points in mind:

  • The game plan needs to be flexible – Life is not perfect, and the path to achieving our goals will not be perfect either.  Sometimes what works one day stops working the next, or, we find something that works better.  A good phrase to remember is, “Keep your goals set in stone, and your plans set in sand.”
  • Remember, first things first – Be sure to prioritize what needs to be done in order to begin achieving your goal.  What is the first important step to take?  What step do I need to take after that?  And so on…  For example, if your house is a mess, what are the big things you can do to start cleaning it up?  After those tasks are done, what are the medial things?  Then, what small touches can you do to finish up?  It may help to sit down with a piece of paper and draw a “map” of the priorities that need to be taken care of on the pathway to achieving your goal.
  • Many pathways to the destination – It may help for you to sit down and have a brainstorming session to come up with as many ideas as you can that can help you achieve your goal.  Let the ideas flow without judgment.  After you have “flushed out” all of your ideas, evaluate their feasibility according to the tools and talents that are available to you.  Keep the ideas that you deem most effective.  The more pathways that you can create toward your goal, the better!  This creates a “contingency” system.

Back in the Saddle Again!

Using these points, I managed to get back on the “achieving and maintaining my goal weight ‘horse’” a couple of years ago.  I identified the priorities that I needed to focus on, which consisted of staying active and mindful eating.  The workout equipment was pulled out, cleaned up, and made ready to access easily.  My wife and I tried out other ways to get exercise other than lifting weights, and found out that we really enjoy hiking and biking.  There are several contingency plans in place so I can get physical activity in…and have the variety that wasn’t in place before!

On the eating side, I found an app on my phone that helps me keep track of what I eat via a points system.  I make it a point (pun intended) to not eat past my points, and if for some reason I am unable to exercise on a certain day, I make different choices that allow me to leave a few points on the table.

Since starting this program a couple of years ago, I have been able to get back down to a healthy weight range, and maintain it.  I feel great, and because of this healthy lifestyle, my wife and I were able to hike the Grand Canyon from the north rim to the south rim in 15 hours…and plan to do it again in October 2014 with the goal of beating our time!

So, what are your goals for the coming year?  Use these tips to help you create a map to achieving those goals.  Remember – there is no such thing as perfection, and things will not always run smoothly.  Avoid the mindsets and behaviors mentioned in Part I.  And…

Make it a SUCCESSFUL Year!                     

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