The Key to Getting Anything Done

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shit done

This past week, I was fortunate enough to attend the NIRSA National Conference in my backyard of Tampa, FL. I attended a session essentially about getting stuff done. I thought the topic applied to fitness so here we go.

Let’s face it, we get lazy every so often. For some, it’s more often than others. Either you get caught watching 34 episodes in a row of the Twilight Zone when you should be studying or you just can’t seem to put down the controller long enough to fold laundry. Whatever it is, we’ve all procrastinated at some time or another. And then something happens that forces us into action. For studying it might be: “Whoops that test is tomorrow.” Unfortunately with fitness, there isn’t really an “aha” moment that spur us into action until you’re 600lbs and on a TV show. No one will stop talking to you if you balloon up 20 lbs or your bench press drops. There are no deadlines for the average gym folk other than the ones they set. So staying motivated may be a little harder. Skipping one day at the gym turns into skipping a week. One cheat meal turns into a binge week. The idea of getting back on track is simply overwhelming so we’re scared into inactivity. Well, I’ve learned the key:

Stop getting stuff done, and start getting stuff started!

When I wake up on Monday morning, it feels a bit like Harry Potter trying to take down Voldemort – a bit overwhelming. But then I remember one thing, I made coffee. It’s enough to drag me downstairs. Once I get to the gym, I remember that I love my job and everyone I work with (hello high fives). My day is immediately turned around.

Exercise is just like any other task. At first glance, an hour of cardio or the weight training program you’re supposed to do may seem a bit overwhelming. Rather than focusing on how tough it will be to make it through the workout, guide your attention to getting started. Play your favorite song and start warming up. I guarantee you’ll immediately feel better. If they day seems really tough, move your favorite exercises to the front to up the mood. Once you’re in a better mindset, you’ll be more apt to tackle the hard stuff later on.

Getting in the gym is only one part of the puzzle. Diet, sleep, stretching, the list goes on of other factors that can influence your success. Here’s another key:

Don’t focus on the process, but rather direct your attention to the end product.

Writing a 30 page paper can seem just as overwhelming as preparing meals for the week. But, think of the relief you’re going to experience once it’s all done. Imagine yourself accomplishing your fitness goals. Create a mental picture – even if it looks something like a Baywatch seen. This will help keep you on track when things get rough. The process tends to be overwhelming, but the end product is almost always invigorating.

The takeaway: Focus on smaller parts of a larger goal. Start out to accomplish little things: get to the gym, get on a piece of cardio equipment, workout for one song only, etc. Achieving these little goals will feed into a much larger goal. When you get discouraged and overwhelmed, direct your attention to the end product. Imagine buying a new wardrobe once you lose the 20 lbs or how shocked everyone is going to be once you rip off your shirt during spring break. These two tips will help you get on track and most importantly stay on track.

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