Chew on it: Steps to success

Steps to success

It’s that time of the year again when many people reassess their lives and make goals for the future. I’ve realised that one of the main factors that hinders success in achieving our goals, is fear.

I have learned to not allow fear to stop my progress. If I had let it dictate my path, I wouldn’t have started Elixr. To paraphrase a quote by W. Edwards Deming, I believe that one of the fundamental factors of success is knowing what to do and then doing your best.

When I was competing in the Karate arena, I was quite successful and gained a reputation for being fearless. I can now confess that fighting scared me. I hated getting hurt and I was afraid of losing my teeth or breaking bones – but I loved the challenge of competing.

At 19 years old, I competed in the State Championships. In the finals, I came up against a tough Croatian in his late twenties. I was leading in the last 30 seconds of the bout, and my posture and every fibre of my being screamed that if he came near me, I’d deck him. The fact was, I was scared but I did not allow my fear to stop me from doing what I had to do, and I went on to win.

Walking the plank
I often use the following analogy when I coach:

If there was a plank on the ground that was 6m long and 30cm wide, you wouldn’t think twice about walking from one end to the other.
If you raised the plank by 2m, you might have some reservations about walking across it.
And if you raised it by 10m, you (and most other people) probably wouldn’t consider walking it at all.

At 10m up, you’re probably thinking only about falling off.

However, there are many people who work on high-rise building sites, who walk across beams in far more precarious positions every day. The difference is that they are focused on their steps, instead of worrying about falling.

So, when it comes to challenges or tasks, first ensure that you know what to do and then focus on the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.

Resolutions for life

As the new year begins, I know for many of us, making improvements to our health and wellness feature highly on the list of resolutions.

People often assume that because I’ve been in the fitness industry for almost 40 years, I must love to exercise and that I always eat healthily. Well, that’s not exactly the case.

Whilst I used to exercise because I wanted to excel in sport (mainly karate and basketball), I now train for health and longevity. I can’t say I thoroughly enjoy it but my desire to live a long and healthy life ensures that I stick to my regular routine.

It’s easy to lose motivation when exercise feels like a chore. To counteract that, I’ve designed a program that’s efficient, effective and safe. It’s a 45-minute, mid-intensity routine that I do three times a week, and that’s very doable for me.

To those who are in the same boat, I recommend that you set yourself a similarly achievable program. Remember that exercising for good health doesn’t have to be overly challenging and it doesn’t have to hurt. “No pain, no gain,” is a good phrase when you’re striving to excel in sport, but it is not when you are exercising to keep your body in good working order.

Remember that when it comes to health and fitness goals or New Year’s resolutions, it’s a good idea to make them sensible, reasonable and achievable. Then be disciplined about implementing these positive changes even though you will probably fall along the way – just keep going until they become habits.