Want to Make Progress? Write it Down!


Question: My New Year’s resolution was to lose weight. I joined a gym and began to workout 3 days a week and do cardio another 2 days as well. So far, all I have to show for my efforts is a sore shoulder and only a couple of pounds of weight loss. I need help!
Answer: You made a good choice to improve your health this year by losing weight. However, you set yourself up for failure. You didn’t write down concrete, long-term goals nor do you have stepping stone, short-term goals which are designed to get you to your ultimate goal. Write it down before you go back to the gym.
Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How much do you want to lose ultimately?
  2. How much do you want to lose each month, each week?
  3. How will you reach that weekly goal?

What will you do to get there?

  • Will you cut out fast food and eating in restaurants more than once a week?
  • Will you cook food in advance and eat regularly during the day to keep you from craving the high calorie foods and snacks available in the office?
  • Will you train with a purpose keeping that long term goal in your sights and using your success in reaching those short-term goals as a catalyst to go further?

If you don’t think the writing process is important, Harvard did a long-term study with a class of its graduating MBA students. 13% of those students wrote down their long-term goals prior to graduating and the steps they needed to take to reach those goals. Ten years later, those individuals who wrote down their goals and steps to reach them, on average, made twice the money of the rest of the class. Write it down.
Part of your plan is to know exactly what you are to accomplish each day you are in the gym. Go into the gym with your workout written out, a complete list of exercises and cardio. Follow the plan to its fullest. Enthusiasm is a necessary part of your success. Get a small training partner IPod or MP3, and keep it in your ear playing music you like, music that is motivating to you. This also isolates you from getting caught up in what’s going on around you. Visualize exactly what you will look like without the excess weight and hold that picture in your mind. Take a minute each day to sharpen your mental picture until your mental picture becomes your reality.
To take care of your sore shoulder, stop bench pressing or doing any other exercise that hurts. Ice your sore shoulder in ten minute intervals several times a day to reduce the inflammation and if necessary use NSAID like Advil or Aleve for a few days. Experiment with dumbbells using various positions to determine those that don’t bother your shoulder. Work those exercises into your training. If your shoulder problems persist, seek medical attention to determine if you have more damage than simple inflammation in your tendons and ligaments in your rotator cuff. If you enjoy good health consider it a blessing and do all you can to maintain it.
God bless and keep training,