Break the Big Rocks First: Prioritizing Your Actions to Reach Your Goals- Part I (Getting "In S
A 4 minute read
Your car is falling apart. The bumper is rusted, the engine smokes, the door handles broke off during the Clinton administration (which is the last time it passed an emissions test).
You have a few choices:
1) Dump it and buy a new one
2) "Fix it up" (you don't know how to fix it up)
3) Put some spinners on the rims
There is one obvious best answer, one potentially plausible, albeit worse, answer, and one distraction.
So, being rational, you decide to cut ties and pick up a nice like-new Toyota Camry. Why do we choose this option? Three main reasons:
a) It solves the problem most quickly
b) It solves the problem most easily
c) It's the only guarantee to get the job done
Good work. You know the other options, while they may be tempting, will not get you where you want to go. Let me show you the new car solution to your fitness goals and how to avoid the spinners.
Breaking the Big Rocks First
This is the first in a series of articles aimed at helping you prioritize your actions toward specific goals. The details will be clean, simple, and to the point, without going too deep into why. The basic premise is this:
You want "x" fitness goal: Here are the areas where you should first and foremost dedicate your time and effort
Today's "x": Getting [back] "in shape"
What's the best way to prepare for a test?
To spend time studying, reviewing, and practicing the material? Or to spend time sharpening your pencils and practicing your handwriting? The former are your big rocks. The latter are the distractions.
This concept is routinely lost on people from all walks of life. Intelligence doesn't seem to be the determining factor, because plenty of smart people are working on the small rocks at the expense of the big ones every day, and still wonder why they aren't getting anywhere.
Let's not overcomplicate things:
Spend all of your time actively working on taking care of the highest-priority items so you can get the biggest bang for your buck.
Simple. When I fully grasped this concept and started implementing it in all areas of my life, things changed.
What follows is the low-hanging fruit. If you can only do ONE thing, start at the top. Then add each subsequent rock as the next important once you've fully incorporated the first.
Your Goal: Getting "Back in Shape"
You might not know exactly what you want, but you know you want to feel and/or look better. Better yet, you know you could be doing more for your health. This is the master default list of where to start when you want to shake off the rust. You probably have some pounds to lose, but also could do with adding some strength and muscle mass. "Skinny-Fat" and "Dad Bod" would likely fall under this category. Your first priority needs to be to correct your eating habits. Because if you were taking care of your nutrition, you wouldn't fall into this category.
Your Big Rocks:
3) Lift heavy weights through a full ROM to get strong and capable with your body
And that's it. If you can't reverse or even slightly turn around your eating habits (and, yes, drinking falls into this category as well), nothing else will stick well enough in the long run. If you are eating way too much or are living on fast food, Diet Coke and cases of Bud Heavy, this is the first and only place to start. Even if you say that you "eat well" compared to most people, be honest with yourself. You likely don't really eat that well. You wouldn't be in this position if you did, would you? Remember that most people eat like morons and have a willful ignorance about what a healthy diet looks like.
Eat more vegetables, eat and drink less empty calories, and control your macros. Stop going on quite as many booze cruises and happy hour wine + app binges after work. Once you've taken this seriously, make sure you're simply moving enough. What's enough? That doesn't matter right now. Just start with more. Start with things you like- maybe yoga, a coed sport, or just walking every day. The specific activity is not important. We're just trying to wake your body up and create the right habits. Once you're doing both one and two consistently, find someone to help you start strength training. You don't need anything else to get your life back on track. Stop intimidating yourself and just start the process, you'll be happy you did.