This term means different things to different people. If you’re in the gym and notice that a particular body part needs a little more strength or emphasis, you start with and focus most of your weekly workouts on that body part. If you get simultaneous phone calls, one from work, one from your child’s school, and one from your spouse, you have to prioritize. If you’re seven days into the new year and wondering how in the heck you’re going to deal with that pesky, recurring resolution, “Get in shape,” you need to implement and practice the Priority Principle.
The number one complaint I hear from people is that they just don’t have enough time to exercise. The gym is too far away. I work long hours. The kids have after-school athletics . . . Fair enough. All of these are valid issues. Not valid enough to neglect what should be your number one priority– YOU, but valid enough to consider. Of course, considering alone won’t get us very far. We must also conquer. Not like Alexander the Great . . . but, well, yeah, maybe something exactly like that.
If you don’t take care of yourself, of your needs, you can’t take care of others. Very simple. It has nothing to do with vanity (unless you let it) and it has nothing to do with being selfish (again, unless you let it by pushing it too far). Once you decide that you are worth taking care of, admitting that you deserve the good treatment and health exercise provides, then it’s just a matter of determining how to go about it.
Alexander, or any other successful military ruler in history, didn’t just throw a tantrum and decide that occupying an adjacent country by force was going to help him and his fellow countrymen and women. He planned. Strategy. Little steps. You don’t just tweet or status update to 100,000 of your closest friends that you’re ready to conquer foreign lands and have them waiting at your door step full of enthusiasm and armed with the right weapons.
Okay, let’s redirect here. Weapons aren’t exactly a popular topic at the moment, or not a well-liked one anyway. When I say weapons, in reference to you, me, us, I mean what is it that we have at our disposal to help us towards our goals? What exactly are our goals?
I can’t decide your goals for you, but I can help you be more successful in attaining your goals with one little snippet of advice: Tailor your goal to your needs. The goal, get in better shape, is not an immediately productive goal. It is a distant end-point that you can not measure. If you can not measure it, you’ll never know if you achieved it. Instead, work on something small, measurable and attainable, but in-line with getting in better shape.
What is it you believe about getting in better shape? Is it nutrition? Is it exercise? Is it a little of both? Okay, start there. This week, I’m going to skip any restaurant that has a drive-thru attached. This week I’m having oatmeal for breakfast. This week I’m going to the gym 3 times and taking the stairs instead of the elevator every day. Small goals, manageable goals, measurable goals that add up to the sum of your needs.
Whatever small, manageable, measurable goals you choose, you need to make them a priority. We’re all familiar with priorities, they’re imposed on us at work all the time, right? Well, the first step in becoming your own person, becoming the person you want to be in 2013, or any year, is to take charge of your priorities and learn to adapt them in and around your other obligations.
Lots of people work 60, 80, 100 weeks and have family lives and obligations with school aged children, but still manage to stay fit. How do they do it? The Priority Principle. And it’s so simple, even I learned how to implement and practice it.
- Use what you were born with— Need. Desire. Want. Some people make these out to be bad traits to have, but you don’t get anywhere without them. First thing you have to admit and recognize is that you want to change, need to change, will change.
- Divide & Conquer— Okay, enough with the Alexander the Great analogy. This is about YOU. It always has been, since the day you were born. Or, it should have been. Determine what your obligations are (work, family, swim practice for the kiddos, sleep, eat, etc) then make a list of small steps towards your big goal: skip fast food, cut out sugar this week, no sodas, join a gym, go to gym, etc. Whatever they are, they are part of you now. They NEED to be part of you, part of what makes you tick, part of what you think about on your long drive to or from work, part of your plan, part of your day, part of your life, part of YOU. Where do they fit? Where can they fit? Are you worth the effort?
- Realize your limitations and constraints— This one might not be what you think. You are capable of great things. Up until now, you’ve probably settled for mediocre things, short term remedies to stress. But, you are capable of great things, you just have to work towards great things. If you want to work out early in the morning, before work, staying up all night with a 12-pack of beer is not helping you towards the person you want to be. Make your early morning workout a higher priority and the late night drinking should weed itself out. If it doesn’t, stop drinking. Not easy, but simple.
Determine your priorities and let them dictate your actions. Those foreign lands referenced above represent places you’ve never been, and do get places you’ve never been, you have to do things you’ve never done. The journey isn’t easy, but you’re worth it.
Be fit, live strong. CraseFit.