I’ve been a personal trainer in London for twenty years, and most clients who come to me say they are determined to lose weight, improve their eating and lifestyle, get stronger and fitter. However, in some cases this determination is short-lived. Why? What is the difference between those clients who reach their goals and those who fall by the wayside? I think it’s the client’s level of ambition, and that’s something I can coach too.
Everyone has fitness goals to varying degrees, but some people are more ambitious to achieve them than others. This is because people have different levels of desire (Arnold Schwarzenegger called this ‘want power’), knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and support. And it’s also because some people use the techniques of goal-setting and visualization more effectively than others. I can help with all these things.
I will take weight-loss as an example, although it could equally be a goal for muscle-growth, or improving your performance in your favourite sport.
When you read the three statements below, I want you to make an honest assessment of which statement sounds most like you.
Ambition Level 1:
“I’m determined to lose weight, and I’m trying hard to eat less and exercise more, but the weight won’t budge. I’m not sure exactly how much weight I want to lose, and to be honest I can’t really imagine myself as slim, but I’ll keep on trying. I’ve only told a couple of people that I’m trying to lose weight, because I don’t want to be regarded as a failure if the weight doesn’t come off, and I don’t want to offend people by refusing food at dinner parties. If I don’t manage to lose weight, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Ambition Level 2:
“Although I’m keen to lose a stone (around 7 kg) in weight, I don’t want to put myself under the pressure of setting a date. After all, there are lots of social events coming up ( my best friend’s wedding, followed by my birthday party), and I’m very busy at work, so there’s no point setting a deadline. I’ve taken some advice from a personal trainer at my gym, he’s given me a workout routine and eating-plan to follow, and so far I’m sticking to it whenever I can (about half the time hehe). I’ve told everyone to encourage me to lose the weight, which is helping a lot. I’ll get there eventually (I hope!).”
Ambition Level 3:
“At last I have a definite plan to lose a stone (6.4kg) in weight in 14 weeks from today, so that means I’ll lose an average of 1lb a week, and I’ll reach my target weight by Wednesday 30th November. I’ve got a burning desire to reach my goal this time, and I’ve got a workout and eating plan mapped out. Everyone knows I want to lose this excess fat, and if anyone tries to knock me off course they’ll get an earful from me. My fitness regime includes lots of thing I like doing, such as playing tennis at my local tennis club, so I won’t get bored. And my eating plan is varied and full of tasty meals and snacks so I won’t feel deprived. Every night before I go to sleep I visualise my new body, and I go through all the reasons why I want to lose this weight (I’ve got 8 reasons, written on a sheet of paper and pinned up on the fridge). I can see myself in my mind’s eye, one stone lighter, and this spurs me on. Once a week I’ll weigh myself and keep track of my progress. No more excuses, I’m going to do it this time, and if I fall behind schedule, I will get back on track until I’ve achieved my goal. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s about becoming healthier, living longer and getting more out of life.”
See the difference? Ambition Level 3 is so much more specific and measurable, with a definite plan tailored to your individual situation and personal preferences, and crucially with a deadline to add that sense of urgency.