Goal setting: understanding what your body could look like and how you could feel

My stream of consciousness flows from workout plans, to the girl I’m chasing, to fast food, to images of the ripped bodies of men I want to look like, to the desire to work hard, to doubt I could pull off their look, to laziness, to whether I have the time to cook and workout, to food, to fatigue, to whether or not I actually want to work out, to anger with myself, to my revamped workout plans.

Brad Pitt filmed Snatch months after he trained for Fight Club. He said he didn't really train for this role, yet look at him. His body holds this form naturally; yours and mine don't. We need to understand that when we set goals. That doesn't mean we can shoot for BP's physique if it's within our realm of possibility.

This stream of consciousness is my curse. It’s Wheel of Fortune. Everyday, hundreds of times a day, it spins through the options. It accelerates past Mach 1, to where no external sound can catch up to the speed my mind is changing. Nothing can affect or alter this spin until it involuntarily stops on one of those options. Wherever it lands won’t typically be my future’s result, but it will dictate how likely I am to work out, and how hard I’ll push myself if I do commit. I started the day pumped to conquer my tough swim workout, but my Wheel of Fortune has spun, and now I’m only willing to commit to going to the gym to see what happens.

Why?

Because my will power can be easily broken and my goal is hard enough I find excuses to not give it my all.

The next phase of my athletic life won’t just be achieving a new physical peak, but also conquering my mental weaknesses. I will understand what my body is capable of, and I’ll commit to what it takes to achieve it. Then I’ll be able to truly work at achieving the body and health I want.

I’ve only found one way I can really stop my mind from spinning, and this is where anyone looking to change their lifestyle should start. I lean back in my chair, feel my collar barely push into my neck, tilt my head up and look at the ceiling. I only need to do this for a few seconds.

My mind is calm. Now, I can give an honest of assessment of where I stand today, and what I need to do to achieve my reasonable goal. My Wheel of Fortune won’t decide for me.

There are three paramount things you need to know when you decide you’re ready to change the way you look and feel. You need to understand the body that you want may be impossible. That’s just genetics. The second thing is that’s okay–just because you can’t gain a Mr. Olympia body doesn’t mean you won’t feel better than you ever have and can live a life where your health doesn’t limit your abilities to do what you want. And finally, it won’t be easy, but it can be fun. You’re going to eat differently than you ever have. You’re going to have less time in the day to do things like watch TV or lounge. You’re going to sleep harder than you ever have. And you’re not going to miss any of that once you feel the freedom that comes with reaching your body’s potential.

Start with a goal that isn’t easy, but in your realm of physical possibility. From a health standpoint, say you want to be able to run a 5K at a moment’s notice without thinking about your weight being too high or your lung capacity too low. From a physical standpoint, start with your body type.

There are three basic types of bodies. Ectomorphs, Mesomorphs, and Endomorphs. I’m an Ectomorph, and I’m fortunate to be one. The genetic lottery gave me a body that is naturally lean, but one that doesn’t let muscle stick easily. But to say there are only three types of bodies is like believing there are only four food groups. There are variances.

I’m an Ectomorph, and so are the two people I want my physique to resemble: Brad Pitt and Ryan Kwanten. Low fat, tight muscles, could run a half-marathon with a month’s notice. We might be in the same body category, but we sure as hell don’t look the same.

But could we?

That depends on if I’m willing to commit. Commit to have my diet become strict and routine, and have my workouts mirror that. My honest opinion is “yes.” Yes I could achieve that. But I must must must commit to eating better. It will be tougher for me than for Pitt and Kwanten to keep that physique. They work out and diet, but don’t need to work out and diet at the intensity I do. That’s because of those variances within the body types. Their’s naturally holds that form easier. But they are my goal, and they are in reach. And in achieving those goals, that means I will have conquered my will power and excuses.

Learn your body type, know what you are capable of achieving, then go get it. Don’t overshoot, because once you do you can easily derail when after a month you’re not doing laundry on your abs. Jared from Subway should not try to look like Alex Rodriguez.

Jared once said he used to be a tank. He isn't an Ectomorph, so he shouldn't set goals that an Ectomorph would. However, the goals he does set will have him look better than when he wore his massive jeans.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t set high goals, just know it won’t be easy and some goals could physically be impossible.

Once you know your body type, and have set your goal, now all you have to do execute. Tell yourself you will eat healthy. Tell yourself you will work out. Go buy healthy food. Go buy an outfit you want to wear when you’re thinner, or sign up for a triathlon or athletic event. Stay motivated. Tell yourself not that you can do it, but you will do it. Once you’ve told yourself this enough, you just might start to believe it. And once you believe it, then you can finally trek toward the fitness, health and physique you’ve always desired.

Along the way, you might just strengthen your mind and resolve, too.

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