Finish Strong, Take 7

It’s almost time to step beyond the FIT for SUCCESS Challenge to discover how to stay strong—for the next 12 months and for life. Next Monday I’ll share with you Seasons of Strength, a beyond-the-Challenge secret to creating an annual plan that will have you reaching new levels of fitness year after year, keeping you motivated, inspired and going strong. But for now, let’s finish our 90-day Challenge strong.

Day 91: Building Your Muscle of Appreciation

At the outset of the FIT for SUCCESS Challenge you set forth a compelling vision and set of goals. Regardless of how accurately you aimed and hit, once you’ve reached the close of the 90 days, this Friday, August 28, the buzzer sounds. Time is up. It’s now time to recharge, reflect and recognize your successes.If you choose to measure your success only by the scale, the tape or even your eye, as many do, you’re missing more than half the picture. Your true measure of success resides much deeper. The full magnitude of your results can be found and felt inside—in your energy, confidence and strength. The following brief exercise will help you to reflect and gain perspective on all that you’ve learned, the skills you’ve gained, the obstacles you’ve overcome and the strength you’ve embodied through this 90-Day Challenge. This three-step exercise takes less than 10 minutes. Here’s what I’d like you to do on Saturday, August 29:

Step 1. Grab a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Then set a timer for five minutes (a watch, clock, cell phone, anything that can track time will work).

Step 2. Start your timer and begin writing down all the positives, the many successes you have experienced during the last 90 days. Let them flow to your mind unedited—if it comes up, big or small, write it down. Ready, set, go! Do this now. You can return to read the final step when you’re done filling the page with positives.

Step 3. Now read each item you wrote on that paper, aloud. Read them as if you’re telling someone you care deeply about. As you complete each item, feel the gratitude for your accomplishments. I have found this exercise to be a vital step in redirecting the natural tendency to focus on the slips or miscues. By focusing on everything you’ve done right you further fuel your success and motivation. As always, success begets success. Giving yourself totally to a goal for a set period of time is literally molding, shaping and forging your will. You should be proud of your achievement. If you created an incentive in advance of your transformation—a reward for your completion—terrific. This is the time to deliver on your self-promise. It may be a vacation, a special dinner, a round of golf. Whatever it is, go now and enjoy. If you didn’t plan an incentive for yourself you can still come up with something special now. No need to go overboard, but go ahead and give yourself a tangible reward. What’s most important is that you stop, recognize and honor your effort and commitment.

Take 7: In recognition of your hard-earned accomplishments, and serving your best interests, the only thing I want you to do starting this Saturday is nothing! No strength training, no cardio training. Respect yourself, your recovery and the wisdom I’m offering—give yourself a break. Take 7 days off. As for eating, my guess is you won’t veer too far off course, as once you re-experience what lousy food does to your body and how it tanks your energy, especially in excess, you’ll go with the good feeling and come right back to eating well.

If this full week free causes you unrest, relax. They’re only seven short days, and you need and deserve them. You will not lose your hard-earned gains; rather you’ll return revived, rested and ready to embrace a sustainable annual plan for your strength, fitness and freedom. For now, kick back, relax and enjoy.


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