Think about the times in your life when you looked your best, when you performed - at work, at an athletic event, at an audition, etc. - to your maximum potential.
Odds are, the preparation that got you to that point was built around a single date. Maybe it was a wedding, a work presentation, a high school reunion. Whatever.
You marked a date on the calendar and decided, from now until the date: I AM ALL IN. I am focused, determined, and READY TO BRING IT.
So it was for me a few years ago when I entered a fitness competition, and so it was for me these past few weeks when I got ready for a fitness photo shoot with the awesome Tallahassee-based Kira Derryberry.
I had a date - March 26 - and I was determined to clean up my eating and stay strong in my workouts.
I already eat pretty healthy and because of my work as a fitness instructor, exercise is plentiful in my schedule. But I had gotten lazy in my eating habits (a cookie every night after dinner, a handful of chips more often than I should, too much candy from the office jar), and I know my full potential. When the big day came, I wanted to be as confident as possible that I had brought my full game face, so to speak. So out went the alcohol and sugar, in came the brown rice, chicken and veggies.
By photo shoot day, I was leaner (by 4.5 pounds) and felt healthier. More important: I felt confident and proud to have worked toward that date, with the focus and determination of a Badass.
Sometimes the reservation presents itself: A friend is getting married, you're getting married. The 10-year college reunion invitation arrives. But if it doesn't, I encourage you to make your own.
1. Schedule a photo shoot: It doesn't have to be a fitness shoot like mine. It can be a family photo with your child at their one-year birthday - with you looking as good or better as before the little one was a bun in your oven.
2. Find a race: Sign up for a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, whatever. In preparing for it, you will get stronger and more fit.
3. Make a bet: Here's what you do with that best friend or colleague who needs to lose weight or get stronger just as much as you do. You wager on who can reach a certain goal - most pounds lost, most strength gained - by a certain date. You've got a prize to work toward, and the pride of bragging rights when you smoke their Badass!
4. Enter a competition: If your gym or favorite magazine has a weight loss or body makeover competition, ENTER it. Do not fear failure. The failure is in never trying. I was terrified when I entered the competition a few years back, thinking there was no way I'd ever get close to winning. Well, whattaya know? I won the competition. But more importantly, the things I learned along the way about eating and exercise are the things I still use every day. These past few weeks, the clean eating know-how that I put into practice paid off with 4.5 pounds lost and even more energy.
5. Schedule an active vacation: A colleague recently went on a vacation that centered around mountain biking. In the months before, she focused on workouts to strengthen her legs and did lots of weekend rides to build her endurance. A friend last summer went on a biking trip through France and trained for it in the months before. Both of them had a great time - but also got stronger than ever in their preparation for the big trip. That's what you call a Badass Travel Bonus!
So what are you waiting for? If you don't make a reservation, it's too easy to say, "I'll do it soon." Soon turns into later, which turns into never. And before you know it, you have never reached your maximum you.
And THAT is Lame-Ass. So be a Badass, and mark your calendar!
Coming up: Just in time for spring, the yummy possibilities of Chick(peas)!