What’s the last thing you do once you’ve finished getting ready?
What do you do after a bathroom break at work?
Before going out on a date?
After you eat something that’s less than simple to eat?
CHECK THE MIRROR.
You take a look at your reflection to make sure you look okay and to find out if things are “working.”
We look in the mirror to make sure there’s nothing in our teeth, our hair doesn’t stick out in all directions, and there isn’t food all over our shirt. When we see something is wrong with our appearance, we correct it.
Do you know what’s funny?
So many of us downright REFUSE to do this while on a fat loss or muscle building journey!
You look in the mirror and like your hair, you try to repeat it again.
You see you’ve spilled your chili on your shirt before your big meeting, so you vow to
never eat chili before an important meeting again.
When it comes to body composition change, we feel things are working and we look at it as a pass to loosen the reigns and live a little.
Or the opposite happens, we feel things aren’t working after a few days so we hop from plan to plan hoping something will work.
Checking your reflection for your day is important – you want to look good! But truthfully, reflecting on your body composition journey is more important for long-term success.
My body composition journey is long and ongoing, and if I’m being honest, I used to hate reflection. I believed reflecting was a negative process because when I reflected, I only ever saw faults and weaknesses.
At some point, I’m not even sure when, I realized my avoidance of reflection was really holding me back.
Now, I’ve reflected on my entire journey and pulled the top 8 things I’ve learned to encourage you to reflect throughout your journey.
Discipline is Difficult
You decided this was the time – you’re going to hit the gym 3 to 4 times per week, eat cleaner, and finally lose the weight.
That all sounds great until family pizza night, your friends ask to meet up for drinks, or the office decides to head out for happy hour.
Discipline is hard to find, but even harder to keep.
Personal reflection can help.
When you take a look at your journey and point out the things that DO work, you’re more likely to stick to them.
But what’s even more effective is reflecting back on all the times you fell off your health journey and gave in to pizza, drinks, and appetizers.
Those reflections strike some emotional chords.
You reflect on what works and you get a boost of dopamine, the pleasure hormone, so you’re more inclined to repeat the behavior
You reflect on what has not worked and you’re struck with feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction, and naturally your body wants nothing more than to move away from that
Reflect daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly to check in on your journey and maintain your discipline.
Goals Can Be Heart-Breaking
I look for any reason to set a new goal because I love opportunities for personal growth.
I’ve set thousands of goals for myself many of which have led me to this point in my life, but goal setting has also taught me something else…
Goals can be heart-breaking.
SMART goals have become the thing, but that Time-based T can really lead to some heartbreak.
Deadlines are great because they help us to stay focused, but they can also be a real killer.
Unfortunately, we’re not always realistic in our time frame. As a coach, I see 1 of 2 things from clients:
Giving too much time. When you set too loose of a time frame, you view it as an opportunity to cheat or slack off.
Giving too little time. This shifts the focus to results and away from the process and most often causes people to be too rigid in a plan unsustainable long-term.
What we forget about in the goal-setting process is the ‘R’ for Realistic.
Set a goal that’s attainable in a realistic time frame, so you are able to focus on the journey. Goals are not just about reaching a point one time, it’s about long-term sustainability.
Allow yourself to learn along the journey and understand that the time frame can change, the process might change, and that you may experience some disappointment and heart break in the pursuit of your goal.
Find What You Love
I’ve done a lot of dumb things in an attempt to reach my goals….
Super Low Calorie
The list goes on.
The truth is that we are so desperate to reach our goals that we will do WHATEVER IT TAKES.
We see things that work for others or we test something out and see a little bit of
success and we settle on it as the solution. No matter how miserable it makes us or how much we hate it, we can rationalize sticking with it because we’re so desperate for results.
Do you know what happens once you reach your goal? Or what happens when you wake up and realize how much you hate what you’re doing?
You quit, throw away all of your results, and go backwards in your progress.
What’s the point in doing something you hate if it’s not going to result in any progress?
What do you think would happen if you did something you actually enjoyed…?
What if you found something you were passionate about that also brought results? Do you think you would stick longer?
I’ve played sports, tested different workout styles, and tried plenty of diets to find what I’m passionate about. I’m not only seeing results, but maintaining and actually feeling happy!
The first thing you try doesn’t mean it’s the right thing.
The thing that brings immediate results doesn’t mean it’s the right thing.
Try something else.
Find what motivates and satisfies you, and makes you feel happy.
Progress Comes from What Is Tracked
I’ve heard it all…
“I don’t have time.”
“I just can’t do it.”
“Tracking just isn’t for me.”
Here’s the truth:
You do have time.
You CAN do it.
There is a tracking strategy for you.
Honestly, you’re just CHOOSING not to track anything.
If you’re serious about results, then you need to track.
You need to know if you’re going forwards, backwards, or staying exactly where you are.
If we’re being honest with each other, tracking is a form of reflection. It’s taking a look at the effectiveness of your current strategy.
If you want to better understand tracking and find the best strategy for you, check out the [Guide] Finding the Best Tracking Guide for YOU.
Diet Must Be #1
We all have that one friend who lost weight and got shredded and ate GARBAGE during the entire process.
Those people ruin it for everyone.
Sure they hit it hard in the gym and live an active lifestyle, but the combination of working out and eating crap only works for a small percentage of the population who have the genes and metabolism for it.
Hate to break it to you, but if you’re reading this, you’re not one of them.
For us mere mortals, diet must be #1.
We cannot outrun a poor diet.
If you carefully choose what and how much you eat, there’s a pretty good chance you see body composition changes whether you work out or not.
Working out can help you reach a caloric deficit and build lean tissue, but a diet of 85+% clean and whole foods can help:
- Place in an appropriate caloric deficit
- Reduce inflammation and bloating
- Hydrate muscles and lean tissues
- Provide amino acids for muscle building
- Provide hormones to stabilize hunger, satiety, and muscle-building hormones
- Fight harmful bacteria and disease
- Strengthen bones and ligaments
The list goes on.
Exercise is great and definitely necessary if you’re interested in creating your best possible physique, but that only comes AFTER you’ve mastered your diet.
Ignore the Noise
Never once have I set out on a journey to change my body composition or headed into a training cycle without at least one objection.
There will ALWAYS be haters.
But reflecting on my own journey, do you know what I’ve learned?
These people who question or object my quest are often jealous. They see that I’ve found the motivation to get up and get started, and they envy that they have not yet found that for themselves.
Weight loss is a sensitive thing, and I would be lying if I said the objections and comments never hurt me. Family, friends, coaches, and clients (all people who love and care for me) have questioned my goals and journey. It’s frustrated and upset me to the point where I question whether or not I stick to it.
Don’t let the objections confuse you.
Ignore the noise.
Reflect and check in with your heart regularly to be reminded that this is the journey YOU want. Remind yourself that this is the goal YOU want to achieve.
Go about your journey one step at a time. Head into the next workout, focus on the next meal, and keep your eyes forward on reaching the end goal whenever you feel questioned.
Routine Creates Consistency (The Key to Success)
In my experience as a coach, I believe the fast-paced society we live in has led us to believe life controls us. I feel we’re blinded from the truth that we control our lives.
When external factors control your life, it becomes difficult to create routine because you’re constantly at the service of others.
Without routine there is no consistency, and without consistency there are no results.
YOU plan YOUR day.
Use time blocks or periods of unavailability for your workout and mealtime.
The rest of the world WILL be okay.
Expect the kickback.
Expect that you yourself will do whatever you can to fall out of routine and go back to your old ways.
Be strict with yourself and commit to building a routine so you can become consistent and see results!
Bring Others Along
One of the best parts about being a fitness and nutrition coach is that I ALWAYS feel I have people going along in this journey with me. It seriously lights a fire in me when clients push through challenges and reach new milestones.
Find or build yourself a group that motivates you to stay the course, pushes you through challenges, and supports you when you do not have the strength.
Building friendships and community makes this a much easier process to stick to than doing this alone.
My journey has been long and tough, just like yours, but I’m so grateful for what I have learned. Now it’s your turn, take these 8 reflections of my own journey and apply them to your own. Make time for your own reflection, learn from it, and build the life of your dreams.
About The Author
Jordan Davies is the Co-Owner of Complete Performance. Jordan has her B.S. in Exercise Science and Psychology, and her M.A. in Holistic Health Studies. She is a CSCS certified strength and conditioning coach, and a PN-1 and NCI-1 certified nutrition coach. She loves to study how the human body needs to be moved and nourished and making that fit to your unique lifestyle. Click Here Now to Apply for Coaching with Jordan.