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Don’t toss the gummy worms: Reaching your goals, one at a time

By Brian Kotoka

So, you’re ready to tackle your health and fitness goals, right?

Great, let’s go!

Throw out all your junk food in the cupboard, empty the pantry of the gummy worms you bought last Sunday, head to the local fitness store and buy some new workout gear and the latest protein powder. On your way back, make sure you take a photo on Instagram to let all your friends and family members realize how serious you are. Then, to top off the day, spend three hours in the gym.


This isn’t a recipe for success. It’s a formula for FAILURE. And yet this is what we all tend to do when we decide to embark on a new goal.

Whatever happened to sensible goals? Realistic goals?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of clients over my career, and most of them have managed to accomplish their goals with relative ease.

What’s the secret? Having a single focus: one, simple goal. As famed author Leo Babauta said in his book The Power of Less, “Identify the essential and eliminate the rest.” So, figure out the one thing that will make the biggest impact and the greatest amount of change and then dial in on it. Haven’t exercised in a month? Or maybe nutrition is your weakness? Perhaps you’re not getting enough time to be mindful?

Here’s a goal-setting exercise I often use with clients:

1. Fix in your mind the exact goal you wish to accomplish (only one goal at a time!)

2. Determine what you intend to give in return for your goal (for example, abstaining from alcohol)

3. Establish a date by which you intend to hit your goal

4. Create a plan for carrying out your goal – and then start right away (don’t wait until “Monday” or next week)

5. Write out clearly and concisely what steps one through four will require of you

6. Read your statement aloud twice daily (when you wake up and before you go to bed), and as you read it, visualize yourself achieving your goal (following this step keeps your goal top of mind and makes it easier to make the necessary sacrifices to attain your goal on a daily basis)

Still looking for suggestions? 

EXERCISE: If exercise is where you are looking to improve, try doing five push-ups and 10 squats every day for 30 days.

NUTRITION: If nutrition is your weakness, plan to start your day right with a nutritious breakfast every single day. Try this vanilla protein oatmeal:

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats, cooked
  • ½ cup organic unsweetened almond milk
  • 20g Genuine Health Vanilla Vegan Proteins+/Whey Proteins+
  • 1 sliced banana
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut

Preparation: Cook oats to desired consistency; whisk almond milk and protein powder until thoroughly blended; pour over oatmeal and top with banana, cinnamon, and shredded coconut.

Total time: 10 minutes

MINDFULNESS: If mindfulness is where you’d like to improve, plan to meditate daily for one minute, adding 30 seconds every third day.

Go ahead, give it a shot.

Brian has worked and studied along all parts of the performance continuum, from clinical courses to working with elite athletes. He has also experienced this same continuum first-hand, from rehabbing serious injuries to competing as a powerlifter.

Brian is a self-proclaimed education junkie and – year after year – invests hundreds of hours into honing his craft. His passion comes through on the training floor and in his enthusiasm for getting the most out of everyone he works with. His career has evolved from personal training, membership services, management and consulting. After such a diverse range of experiences, he is now the proud owner of Thrive Fit, a boutique fitness studio in the Toronto Beaches. Brian understands what kind of training will bridge the gap between where people are and where they want to be. He also appreciates what it’s like to begin that process (and how nerve-wracking it can be for some). At Thrive Fit, Brian focuses his efforts into streamlining entry and removing any barriers to people reaching their true potential.

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