McDermott: You cannot steer a parked car

Scott McDermott’s weekly column

Remember being a kid, sitting in your parent’s car and pretending to drive? Although the actions were fun to make, it was obviously impossible to go anywhere (lucky thing).

A goal without action is the same, like trying to steer a parked car. You can sit in that car all day long and fantasize about all the cool places you could go, things you could do and what you would see, but nothing will change until you start that engine and move.

Starting is the most important element to any goal, and one of the biggest stopping points for so many people. The thing that stops us from starting is almost always tracked back to one thing: Fear. My favourite definition of Fear is: Anticipation of pain or struggle. It isn’t real, it is in the future, and it is imagined.

When it comes to getting in shape and dropping weight there are many, many fears that can come into play: What if we fail, what if people laugh, what if it doesn’t work? For people new to working out, it could be things like: What if it hurts. What if it’s really hard, what if I am not able, and stuff like that.

One of the things we can do to combat all of that, is to write out our fears for all of these things on a piece of paper, with a series of 4 columns. Column one is a list of all the fears we have around whatever goal we have. In the next column we can list how likely that fear is to happen on a scale of 1-10. Then we can add a column where we list what we could do to prevent or reduce the chances of that fear from becoming real. In the final column, we write out what we would do if the worst version of the fear happened, and what we would do to move forward.

Let’s take a common fear around losing 25lbs. Fear: I will fail, and not drop any weight. Likelihood: 4/10. Of course results vary and effort and the effectiveness of the plan you choose determines results. Prevention: Work with a coach or trainer that is experienced in this area to reduce the chance of error and improve the odds of success. Worst Case: If after trying for a period of time, the weight is still there, the best bet moving forward is to try a different approach. A different eating plan, a different fitness plan, more cardio, more strength, more recovery, more water – all of those can make a difference.

After laying all of that out, how does that fear seem now? I am willing to bet it does not seem so powerful or possible.

This could be your first step in moving forward, a simple piece of paper with 4 columns listing your fears and what could happen. Once you have that written out, it is so much easier to then tackle the Action question: What is the delay? If you can identify that, the next step is to list what will happen if you continue to not move on this goal. What will happen in the next 6 months if you do not change. The next year? 3 years from now? Finally, write out a few steps that you could take to move you forward. They don’t even have to be earth shaking or monumental, just a simple step that you could take right away, that would move you closer.

In a nutshell, Identify your fear, make a plan of action, start doing something, and correct as you go. It really can be that simple.

Happy Training!