How many times have you set out to achieve the right result and ended up achieving something less, or worse, something completely different?
If that has happened to you, you are not alone.
No one I have met has started a journey with the belief they will never reach the destination they want. You simply don’t start a journey if you think it is a pointless task.
We all start off with good intentions and believe that we will get what we want. Sure, some of us will believe that the journey is going to be fun and easy, where some believe the road ahead will be tough going and not enjoyable. But both believe the goal is possible.
So why is it only a few of us eventually end up where we want to be?
Is it because the destination (no matter how strong we believe it is) is just not physically or mentally achievable? Or is it that the process/plan we follow isn’t the right one?
We can’t do much about the destination being unattainable, but we can make sure the process we follow to achieve it, is the right one.
In the world of health and fitness, there isso many different competing plans on how to get healthier, fitter, slimmer and stronger. And there are new ones every year. All promising the best results for you and millions of others.
And there lays the problem. How do these so calledexperts know what is the right process for you?
Let me answer that for you. They don’t and they never will.
How do I know this? After conducting over 20,000 one to one client coaching sessions, I have discovered (and this might shock you) that every single one of us is different. And what works for someone, will only work for them and no one else.
Yes, you might follow a nutrition plan and for a period of time it will help you feel more energised and lose a few pounds. But the only way that nutrition plan will work for you long-term is for you to start adapting it to what works for you and to fits in with the life you live.
One of the things I enjoy the most is solving puzzles. From doing a jigsaw to finding Wally (that's Waldo to our Amercian friends), to more challenging crosswords, Mahjong and the best of all, Chess. Give me a puzzle and I will enjoy trying to solve it.
And that is how I view someone's health.
I see every client is like a jigsaw puzzle. We have all the pieces we need, but at the start, we don’t know how all the pieces fit together. And the jigsaw puzzle has never been seen before, let alone solved before.
And that is how it should be. So many health and medical experts think they know the answers without ever seeing the jigsaw puzzle. It is like being blindfolded and then trying to fit pieces where you think they should go. This is the problem when someone tries to suggest a solution without seeing all the pieces.
A puzzle is best achieved when you can see all the pieces and there aren’t any that have dropped on the floor. This is how someone’s health should be approached. Find out as much as you can about the person (puzzle) and then make a better informedrecommendation of what is right for them.
Of course, this process is not quick, and in most cases not easy. Most people want quick results and cross their fingers the results will stay and not go away when they stop doing the habits and behaviour that got them the results.
But trust me, that just doesn’t happen. As a coach who relies solely on clients achieving results, it is imperative that whatever I recommend works, and works long-term. If not clients stop hiring me as a coach and I stop doing what I am passionate about, helping people live healthier lives.
So I have found that finding out as much about each client (puzzle) I can from the start, the more effective any recommendations I provide are.
Let’s look at how this approach works on the four main areas of health, mindset, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle.
It has been proven countless times, what the mind thinks the body will follow. When I started out in the health industry as a personal trainer, I simply told people what to do. They either did it or not. If they did it, I was an amazing trainer who got clients great results. If they didn’t do it, then it was their fault.
Little did I know back then, that everyone can achieve what they want if they first have the right mindset. The right mindset is one that believes something can be achieved and will help you overcome challenges and barriers that come up along the way.
So what helps create the right mindset?
First the knowledge of what to do, how to do it, and most importantly, why you should do it.
Second, having the right support to make the changes needed. Change is difficult for anyone and having the right people to help you, makes the journey easier and more achievable.
Thirdly, being held accountable for what you have decided to do helps maintain focus and motivation. Share your goals and actions with people who you respect and know will encourage you to stay the course.
I want to make it very clear, without the right mindset from the start, any nutrition, exercise and lifestyle plan that is given to you has a greater chance of failing then succeeding.
Only you can create the right mindset. Because only you truly know you.
When it comes to nutrition for general health, simple is best. Nutrition generally is overcomplicated for the average person. We get told it’s about calories in and calories out or consuming the right ratio of micronutrients for weight loss, and certain foods are ‘superfoods’ (whatever that means).
Here is all you need to know at first about nutrition for good health. Only consume food that you enjoy, that our ancestors hunted, grown naturally and consists of one ingredient. It is that simple.
When you have mastered that habit over a period of time, then (if you wish, but it is not needed) start looking at more specific nutritional requirements like macro and micronutrients, fasting and cutting out whole food groups (not the best thing to do for long-term health, but great for short-term weight loss and rapid weight gain).
Exercise is the same. Unless you are training for a specific sport or event, the only exercise you need to do is one that you enjoy the most. But here is the secret, do what you enjoy the most over and over again. Every day if possible.
Don’t worry about celebrity workouts, HIT training sessions or using fancy named exercise equipment )unless you enjoy all that stuff). The long-term success of any exercise is your ability to perform it day after day, week after week and month after month. So you better enjoy it.
Only you know what you enjoy doing. Only you know the thing that makes you feel better physically and mentally.
For lifestyle, it is all about achieving a balance between stress and recovery. This can be through getting enough sleep at the right times, to being around people who care for you and working towards a life goal that you are passionate about.
Without purpose, we see no need to work hard and change what we have. That direction only leads to stress and dissatisfaction.
To start living a healthier lifestyle, choosing a positive habit you know you can do without fail every day (e.g. I will always eat a piece of fruit with every meal, or, I will take the stairs at work instead of the lift).
Success only comes from doing something (no matter how small in the scheme of things) correctly over and over again until it becomes a part of who you are.