Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes, but no plans.Peter Drucker
Today marks the end of my first week in the Precision Nutrition Level 2 (Pn2) Coaching Program and it was a comfortably familiar process.
As an Assistant Professor at North Dakota State University, the first class of every section I taught began the same way: with general housekeeping issues. I’d review the course syllabus, lay out the course goals and objectives; explain expectations, evaluations and performance standards.
This past week of Pn2 was no different; daily lessons addressed navigating through my online student portal, understanding the big picture of how the remaining 51 weeks will progress, all while maintaining my present focus on Habit #1 – ‘Finding Time’.
As a student however, I was feeling slight twinges of impatience, I mean after all…I have GOALS to achieve!
What’s Your BAG?
Become an Awesome Pn2 Elite Coach
Determining my BAG (Big Awesome Goal) was actually pretty easy, I want to become the best nutrition coach I can be. My journey there is one of completing simple daily action steps and mastering one new habit at a time; it’s a year long process that will require discipline and trust. Discipline to keep my impatience under control and not keep asking “are we there yet?” and trust that the process works.
Today my commitment to this BAG is rock solid. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being ‘I’m totally on board‘, I’m starting out this process as a 10. I do realize that over the next year; the lessons will become more difficult, external forces will pull at my attention and I may doubt my progress. There will be times when ‘Becoming a Super Coach’ will seem daunting, my commitment will be challenged and I’ll need tools to strengthen my commitment.
Staying the Course
Contrary to what most people might wish, change does not happen overnight, it’s a gradual process that doesn’t always follow a straight line. It has become very clear to me over the past several years that maintaining your focus is one of the greatest challenges to reaching your goals; and accountability is one best tools for staying on track.
Inner Circle Accountability
Having an Accountability Partner, whether a significant other, mentor or peer, can have a dramatic impact on your success. They know and support your efforts, they are there to encourage you and help you stay focused. Sometimes it’s simply viewed as ‘moral support’, a hug and a kind word when you’re feeling particularly challenged. It can also be a bit of ‘tough love’ reminding you of your focus and asking probing questions: “what action step did you complete today?”, “how will __(fill in the blank)___ help you achieve your goal?” As you work together and your bond strengthens, your accountability partner will have a better sense of what approach is appropriate to elicit or re-engage your commitment.
Don’t stress out! it’s okay to have multiple accountability partners.
Even though we don’t have a formal agreement per se, my wife and kids will be a key source of support to me as I work through this program. I’ve shared my goals with them and there’s powerful motivation for me as a spouse and father to demonstrate that I can achieve what I’ve set out to do.
In a more formal sense, when I started the Pn2 program I was assigned a mentor, Coach Adam, who will be my ‘go-to‘ accountability partner throughout this program. While we’re just getting to know each other, he has incredible knowledge about the program and what it takes to succeed.
Finally, I am part of a private Facebook group dedicated to the October 2016 Pn2 class – these are my peers, we will stay accountable to each other through our interactions in that group.
Public accountability can be a very powerful tool and with all the social media platforms at your disposal, it’s not so much a question of should you use them, but more of which one(s) will work best for you. When you state your goals publicly, you put yourself out there and people will follow your progress – whether they tell you or not! These posts on my blog are a huge part of my public accountability and of course there’s the double whammy of sharing my blog posts to other social media platforms. If you’ve followed me for any period of time, you’ll know that I use my Facebook Timeline as a primary tool for public accountability regarding my own fitness and Coaching Personal Development progress. I post a lot of workout pictures, snippets from PD books I’m reading as well as the occasional food picture; the point of these accountability posts is not so much that I’m nailing the crane pose in my yoga practice (although, it is pretty awesome when I do!) but that I’m consistent in doing the daily activities I need to to achieve my goals.
Personal accountability is really where the rubber meets the road, self-monitoring is a very powerful tool in staying focused. When you are intentional about tracking what you’re doing and how your behavior, decisions and thoughts contribute to reaching your goal, you will find it much easier to stay committed. You have to find the tools that work best for you, maybe you’re all about the apps and technology or perhaps you prefer to go ‘old school’ and put pen to paper in a journal. Whatever tools you choose, use them!
I take a hybrid approach, blending the best of both worlds. I carry my day planner because it gives me space to write things down and journal, and I believe that physically writing something down is important in the learning process. I supplement online tracking of my daily workouts by printing the full calendar for my current fitness program and placing an “X” through each completed workout to show progress. I’ve used a variety of synchronized calendar apps across my Apple devices and most recently I’ve started playing with Google® calendar for scheduling. As a Pn2 Coach Candidate, I have my student portal that provides a wealth of information including lessons, progress through the program and my student archives.
This image from the ‘My Progress’ tab gives me a quick visual on my week 1 progress. One habit, practiced consistently each day, 7 daily lessons completed. If you asked me today how I was doing on my BAG of becoming a ‘Super Coach’, I can confidently say that I’ve nailed the daily activities required in week 1 and I’m ready for week 2.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.Aristotle
Give your Commitment A shot in the arm
Reinforce your commitment with a strong personal and social network; take on an accountability partner to keep you on task. Publicly announce your goals and share your progress as an additional tool to stay focused. To get the most out of these external sources of support, actively monitor your own progress and complete your daily action steps.