Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Biggest Steps Aren't Taken with the Feet

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Biggest Steps Aren't Taken with the Feet

Article excerpt

Byline: Laurie Cason, Times-Union sports writer

Achieving your health and fitness goals without a plan is a lot like trying to drive across country without a map -- the odds of reaching your desired destination aren't very good. A well thought-out approach, however, will not only map out a plan to accomplish those goals, but also help to identify goals worth pursuing.

To be successful at setting and achieving your goals first requires additional training for a very powerful, but underutilized resource: your brain.

"We know how to operate our microwaves better than we know how to work our brains," said Anthony Trupiano, an expert at the art of goal setting. "We can control how our brain works, but we don't."

That is the first challenge Trupiano issues to his clients, who range from business executives to high-profile sports figures.

The roots of goal setting and achievement are based in asking yourself the right questions, said Trupiano, master trainer for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and for Anthony Robbins' program and former owner of Mental Edge Consulting.

First, you have to know what you want to accomplish -- whether your aim is to lose 10 pounds, run longer distance races or shave minutes from your personal best times -- and why that goal is important.

"You have to have some purpose, some burning desire to do it," Trupiano said. "It has to be something powerful; otherwise, [the goal] is meaningless."

Once you have identified a goal, you must break it down into steps. Each step -- in essence, a goal within a goal -- must be precise, measurable and achievable.

Now, put it in writing -- literally. Get paper and pen and write down each of your goals and the steps you will take to achieve them. It's tempting to think this is unnecessary, but studies have shown that the people who are most successful at goal attainment are those who keep a written log of their goals and the actions they take to get there.

Again, Trupiano points out, the right questions can help you identify strategies and mentors who can help you in this process. Ask yourself: Why do I want to achieve this goal? How can I make this happen? Who can I get to help me?

Using what Trupiano calls his "Popcorn" approach, write down the first answers to these questions that come to mind for 21 consecutive days. Don't edit your thoughts; the idea is to brainstorm for as many different ideas as possible.

"At the end of 21 days, you will have 63 ideas," Trupiano said. "Of those, 55 of them, on average, will be ridiculous, five of them will be very good and three will be outstanding."

The biggest mistake people make with goal-setting, Trupiano says, is not finding a mentor and asking for help.

"People will share knowledge until the cows come home; they hate to give out money and jobs," Trupiano says. "Identify a mentor and find out how he thinks and what habits he's formed and then you can duplicate them. …

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