No not abdominal crunches, I am talking about setting fitness deadlines. One of the most powerful and motivating things you can possibly do to see fitness results is to give yourself a deadline. I have never been much of a procrastinator, I don’t make to-do lists I make to-done lists. But when it comes to working out and eating right I found that I really thrive when I have a deadline.
A deadline is any set point in time that you have determined to be the end of a particular phase of your fitness plan. This deadline can be just about anything, but the most common ones I hear of are weddings, beach trip, or the change of the sessions. My personal deadlines usually involve some form of competition where I sign my life away with a waiver. No matter the reason, the point is that it’s a personal line in the sand that is going to arrive whether you are ready or not.
This impending day has two great effects on your routine. The first thing deadlines do is force you to make big changes. If you have all kinds of time to work toward a result you don’t need to make a big life changing push, you can ride the slow and steady wave. The problem with the gradual approach is it makes it easy for bad habits to sidetrack you. If, on the other hand, you give yourself only three months to reach a specific goal, it’s easier to step out of your comfort zone because you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The second thing a deadline will do is force you to have a very clearly defined goal and road map to reaching it. As a trainer I hear, “I want to get in shape” all the time. However what I really want my clients to be thinking is by x date I want to have lost 15% body fat, gained 10 pound of muscle, and be the first person on Mars! Whatever your goal is, setting a deadline will force you to make the most efficient steps possible to reach it.
I hope you consider trying the deadline approach to your fitness regimen. It doesn't need to be anything extreme, in fact, I suggest doing short one week deadlines while you develop the habit and then work toward long-term bigger goals. When setting your goals, consider these two quotes “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” and “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.