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Easier to Stop than Start, taking it to the next level in 2012!

By Natalie Brown, MS, CSCS
Director of Todd Durkin Enterprises and Personal Trainer at Fitness Quest 10

2012 can be your best year ever! The first month of the New Year is almost at a close and we are all making game changing moves to propel us to the next level. I suspect individually we want to be even better than we were last year. We are working hard to create our best year yet and in order to do so there are some behaviors that we want and need to change. The first thing that most of us did when creating our vision for the upcoming year is to write down a list of all of the things that we need to start doing to become better!

In a world where each day is busier than the last, we need a way to simplify reaching our goals. Here is my solution; do not create a ‘to-start’ list, or add to your current action list; create a ‘to-stop’ list. What are the behaviors or actions that are getting in the way of you reaching your goals? This idea stems from the teachings of Marshall Goldsmith, a world renowned behavioral coach who references Peter Drucker’s famous quote: “We spend a lot of time helping Leaders learn what to do. We don’t spend enough time helping them learn what to stop.” This quote led Marshall to write a bestselling book on things that leaders should not do (What Got You Here Won’t Get You There). From this leadership book, a ‘what to stop’ book for Sales People emerged with co-authors Don Brown and Bill Hawkins (What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, In Sales). This is a simple solution that also applies to our personal lives as well.

Instead of creating a list of all of the new ways that you can live a healthier lifestyle, start with the behaviors that you can STOP today that are impeding your success. Are you looking to eat healthier? STOP having that extra treat or soda. STOP eating fast food or too many ‘cheat meals’. Looking to get into better shape by working out? STOP skipping workouts to watch your favorite TV show. Looking to become a better friend, spouse or family member? STOP multitasking during conversations with them and STOP breaking dates or plans. Is financial independence essential for 2012? STOP buying things that you do not need.

What are the important changes you have identified for 2012? Write down those changes. Now, what are 1-3 things that you are currently doing that are preventing you from reaching your goals? Write them down and STOP engaging in those behaviors. It will be easier to stop than start. Implementing new behaviors can take time. Jettisoning behaviors that sabotage our success is a quick, simple way to start reaching our 2012 goals. Stopping your negative behaviors naturally opens yourself up to positive behaviors. Attack those 1-3 behaviors until they are no longer issues and then move on to 1-3 new things that you need to stop doing.

As you create your, ‘to stop list’ what you will be left with is a list of things that you can cross off your to-do’ list. This is a way to reach your goals by simply doing nothing. I have some friends that have recently lost 10-15 pounds each! The way they were able to reach this goal is by simply eliminating the behaviors from their life that were preventing their success. Their top 3 behaviors were: (1) turning on the TV when they arrived home from work…the TV immediately put the plan to workout on the back burner, (2) allowing themselves too many ‘cheat meals’ throughout the week, and (3) drinking too many energy drinks. By simply letting go of just three behaviors they are now working out more, eating better and watching the pounds disappear.

So create your ‘to-stop’ list today! I promise you will quickly gain momentum on accomplishing your big goals for the year!

Natalie Brown has joined our staff as Director of Todd Durkin Enterprises and personal trainer at Fitness Quest 10 from Ann Arbor Michigan where she recently completed a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology at Eastern Michigan University. She holds a bachelors degree from the University of Michigan and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA). Natalie participated in both volleyball and basketball in high school and went on to coach volleyball at the high school level and it is there she rediscovered her passion for helping others achieve a fit, healthy and active lifestyle. Before deciding to make a career change to the health and fitness world Natalie worked in the field of behavioral sciences with an emphasis on coaching and behavior change. Natalie loves lifting weights, volleyball, running, hiking, playing the guitar and cooking.

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