Get back on track by asking yourself these 10 questions.

Get back on track by asking yourself these 10 questions.

There is a saying ‘Success doesn’t make you and Failure doesn’t break you’. I have found that I have achieved the most when on the brink of failure or when I’m feeling at my lowest and not when I’ve kicked field goals so that saying rings out to me loud and clear. We all go through up’s and down’s in life because after all we’re only human but it’s what we do when we are down that makes us different.

I’ve had a lot going on over the last year both in business and my personal life and while I have achieved some of my greatest accomplishments I’ve been finding myself more lost lately, lost to the point I woke up at 3:18am today with my mind rushing at 1,000 miles per hour. When was the last time this happened to you?

It’s now 4:28am and I’ve had some toast and a coffee and I’m writing this article after going through the first of my personal therapy sessions which has helped me gain clarity on what is going on and what I will be doing about it and I really wanted to share the process that I have used to guide me through to my outcome. Now I have to say that I’m no NLP master so if there are some out there I would love to hear your feedback on my process but for everyone else reading I hope you can take away a process to help you through those tough times when they arise.

You will need to excuse the grammar and formatting as I have used my actual notes as the example 🙂

Step 1. The first step that I took was to ask myself ‘what’s the problem’ and this is where I basically mind dumped everything that was running through my head. This helped in two ways, firstly I finally got everything on paper so I could work with each point and secondly now that it’s on paper I can remove it from my head which has created more space for solving these problems. From here I will break down each problem into workable points, I have used my exercise and eating problem for my example.

  • What’s the problem?

    • I’m not exercising. I’ve fallen into bad habits since I completed an ultra marathon a month ago, additionally the injury I picked up has made it easier to avoid exercise.

Step 2. I made myself clear on the outcome that I would like.

  • What is the outcome that I would like?

    • I would like to be exercising regularly again and eating healthy. I want to run another ultra marathon before the year’s end and I want to complete the 100klm Annapurna Ultra in the first half of 2014.

Step 3. I chunked deeper to get more specific on my outcome, the purpose of this was so I could understand what it meant to be healthy and exercising and by doing this  I would be able to make this a SMART goal.

  • What do I classify as exercising and eating healthy?

    • working out 5 days a week and eating 5 healthy meals a day

    • Leaving my weekends for zagging

    • Able to run half marathons in 1 hour and 50 minutes

    • Running an ultra trail marathon in 6 hours and 30 minutes

    • Drinking a maximum of  twice a month

Step 4. I then asked myself what is stopping me from doing this now. This gave me the opportunity to lay out my excuses on paper.

  • What’s stopping me from doing this now?

    • I need to add structure and goals around my exercise otherwise I feel like I’m running around in circles. I’m goal oriented.

    • I feel like I’m spiralling down a circle and and it’s easy to go with it then to start my exercising again

    • My knee injury

Step 5. I asked myself if I actually want to change for me. This step was very important because the only reason you should do something is if you are 100% certain it’s what YOU want.

  • Am I prepared to do what it takes to change for the better and is this for me?

    • I want to change for the better

Step 6. I asked myself if this has been a behaviour that I’ve had for a while or if it’s something I picked up recently.

  • When did I decide to be like this?

    • After I completed my ultra. I’m usually very motivated to exercise and eat well.

Step 7. At this step I asked myself what I need to do to reach my goal, this is where I applied the S.M.A.R.T technique to my goals.

  • What do I need to do to reach  this goal?

    • I will use a new tracking sheet for my exercise and diet and I will update it daily.

    • I will report to Will, Trinity, Aaron and Ross each day on my progress.

    • I will create a diet for myself which I will stick to. This will be created today.

    • While I get rid of my injury over the next 4 weeks

    • While I’m not able to run my exercise will include at minimum 1 hour a day of either boxing, cycling or walking or cross fit.

    • I will develop a recovery training plan with my Physiotherapist on Friday the 12th of July.

    • I will complete my exercises daily.

    • Once I am able to run again I will run 50klms a week minimum

    • I will run another 50klm Ultra in October 2013

Step 7. I then asked myself what would happen if I didn’t start today. Why did I include this? Because that little voice in our head says ‘ill start tomorrow’ and guess what, tomorrow never comes! Remember the more that is on paper the clearer your mind will be.

  • What if I don’t start today?

    • Then I will be doing the same thing as I have been doing up to this day. That will mean that I haven’t changed and I have let myself down. I WILL start today.

Step 8. Are there any blockers that would stop me from reaching my goal? Of course there are but are they acceptable. S.M.A.R.T goals are designed for success not failure so really there shouldn’t be anything stopping me from succeeding.

  • What will stop me from reaching this goal?

    • Being lazy and choosing the easy way out by not following my goals.

Step 9. This is where I asked myself how I will ensure that I don’t cheat myself and make this whole exercise a waste of my own time. This was very important because in one sentence I had essentially made myself my own accountability partner.

  • How will I make sure that I don’t take the easy way out?

    • I will remind myself that the easy way out is not whom I am, I am a leader,  I set new standards and I raise the bar, I dominate my goals. As my friend Will would say ‘Do EPIC shit!’

Step 10. Going through this process with myself gave me insights into what was bothering me about my diet and exercise and it also allowed me to create some goals. However to complete the process I had to ask myself what completing my goals would do for me so I understood and was clear on the outcome and what it would do for me.

  • What will this do for me once I reach my goal?

    • I will feel more energetic, more motivated, I will have a clearer mind, I will be happier, I will be a better person for everyone around me.

It’s not 5:12am so I’m going to continue through the rest of the problems I mapped out and once complete I will be printing off my S.M.A.R.T goals and I’ll place them in my office, bedroom and I’ll have them a couple clicks away on my phone. I hope you have taken away something from this article and If can improve the steps I have created above please do let me know how because I love making things more efficient 🙂


  • Scott Johnson

    Just skip to the end and start cycling – it’s where all chronically injured runners end up anyway, and it’s a lot more social and enjoyable.