By Shana Daniels, 2002 Ms. Fitness California, B.S. Sports Science

A couple of years ago I had the good fortune of meeting two members of our U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team.  I asked them if they could give people one key bit of advice on how to reach their fitness goals and stick with them for the long haul, what would that advice be. 

Both of these accomplished athletes said to set realistic short term goals as a foundation and build from there.  For example, if you haven’t worked out in months, setting a goal of a daily workout may not be realistic.  In fact, you may be setting yourself up for failure.  Instead, decide to start out by getting in 1-2 workouts the first week and ease into a new routine.  You’ll feel successful as a result of meeting your goals.  Then you’ll be ready to take it to the next level because success breeds more success.

The gymnasts also said they believe their success formula was based on the “3 D’s.”  You can apply these to any area of your life and I believe it is what sets elite athletes and other great achievers apart from the crowd.  Here are the “3 D’s.”

1.  The first “D” stands for Desire.  This is where it all begins.  It begins with a deep burning desire for a certain result…whether it is to get into the best shape of your life, be your own boss, make a difference in the world, etc.  In other words, like I always say, “How bad do you want it?”

2.  The second “D” stands for Dedication.  Come up with a plan of action.  Then take the necessary action steps to work that plan until you attain your specific goal.  That’s dedication.       Let’s say it’s your desire to make your health and fitness a top priority but you don’t feel you have enough time in the day to fit it into your already tight schedule.  You’ll need to honestly review that schedule.  We can always find some things that we do regularly that are time wasters such as idle chatting with co-workers or spending extra time on the computer.  Once you identify these things, you can change them to fit your new goal.  Perhaps you can catch up with your co-workers while taking a brisk walk together at lunch.  You could also hire a personal fitness trainer to set you up on a routine that will help you reach your goals in the most efficient way possible, thus saving you precious time.

The second part of this equation would include fueling your body properly with healthy food so that it will be able to perform optimally.  When you treat your body with love and respect, it will honor you back with greater health, more energy and a better overall shape.  This is the law of cause and effect in action.

3.  The third “D” stands for Determination.  This means that NO MATTER WHAT, you will not be derailed from following through with your commitment to yourself.

Let’s face it, stuff happens.  Expect it.  Kids get sick, cars break down, etc., but if you are truly determined, you’ll find a creative way to carry through and persevere.  Remember, “A will can always find a way.”

The victory is even sweeter when you overcome obstacles along the way.  Sometimes they make you a stronger person in the process.  It’s your attitude that will make the difference.  You can choose to look at obstacles as roadblocks and make excuses for yourself, or you can view them as stepping stones to further your success.  The choice is yours.

Ian Adamson, three-time Adventure Racing Champion states, “Sticking with the program is all about attitude.  See challenges, not problems; lessons not mistakes.  Use those lessons and they’ll take you to the next level.”

The “3 D’s” can be your formula for success.  This is your life we’re talking about.  You do have the power to create it anyway you want, so why not make it the best it can be.  Live a life to be proud of.  Live a life that inspires you to get up in the morning.  Dream big dreams and work hard and smart to make those dreams come true!  I always say, “You’ve got to scale the mountain to enjoy the view!”



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