The last post offered real-life examples that suggest the way you do anything is apparently not the way you do everything — in contrast to the common saying to the contrary.

I”™ve saved the worst for last.

When I ran a weight-loss program in Silicon Valley, many of the participants were engineers, all very smart. Over the years, we had some excellent groups who followed instructions and achieved their goals, and also clueless groups.

The clueless groups couldn”™t seem to manage anything pertaining to the training program.

They never showed up on time and were often up to 45 minutes late in a 90-minute program. They would forget to bring their workout equipment with them — heart rate monitors, cycling shoes, water bottles, towels, and more. They were undisciplined about making time for training on their own, between the scheduled studio sessions. They frequently failed to log their food as required. Some even had difficulty focusing on the training.

I asked one particularly scattered group to please start showing up as if they were doing it on purpose.

Clearly, people who performed their jobs with the same haphazard incompetence would be promptly fired. But these guys all had jobs and seemed to be good at them.

So the way you do anything is not necessarily the way you do everything.

How Can This Help Your Participants?

What have they done with great success? It may be any victory, small or large.

Are they great at planning the day? At making the most of in-between moments — spare blocks of 5 to 15 minutes, for example? They can find some stretching or strength exercises to do standing or seated, in office attire. (They do exist!) They an find a short but intense cardio workout to fit in first thing in the morning, or in the evening on days they can”™t make it to your classes.

Are they good “just in case” people? Suggest that they pre-pack a gym bag and leave it in the car, even on days that seem too crowded for a trip to the gym. You never know. And if it”™s packed and ready, they”™ll never forget a key item.

Are they disciplined enough to get up an extra 15 minutes early? Suggest they wake up and immediately head to the kitchen and eat real food. It”™s far better than waiting and grabbing something convenient but junky, like a granola bar, as you run out the door.

Bonus tip: Tell them to stop buying granola bars.

Are they adventurous enough to get away from standard breakfast meals? They can try healthful dinner leftovers for breakfast (something other than pizza and beer, right?). Seriously, if they start the day with protein and vegetables, they will probably notice a big difference in energy and mental focus.

Are they good at planning and pre-planning meals? Why not suggest they prepare lunches and snacks on the weekend, enough for a couple of days? Repeat midweek.

Many examples can be found in virtually anything they”™ve done well. The obvious, but overlooked, trick is simply to assess their wins for the skills that made them possible. Apply those skills to fitness and wholesome food.

Then it”™s easy to make them part of their lives — in a way that”™s already comfortable for them. Maybe the way they do anything will, in fact, become the way they do everything.

Joan Kent

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