Way back in my martial arts training days, if my coach saw something that we weren’t doing right, we’d have to do some sort of repetitious drill to perfect the technique.

In competitions, if we were having problems with a particular fighter, he’d analyze the fight, come up with a strategy, and drill it until we were ready to use it.  Whenever there was any kind of problem or deficiency, you can bet we were doing drills until an arm or a leg fell off.  All of that repetition seemed cruel and unusual at the time, but when it came time to use what we were practicing, we were thankful for all the drill work.

Back in my martial arts training days, if my coach saw something that we weren%u2019t doing right, we%u2019d have to do some sort of repetitious drill to perfect the technique. The same concept carries over well into fitness and health programs.

The same concept carries through to school work.

How many times did you have to practice your multiplication tables?  But it’s worth it when you have to quickly calculate 8 x 3 4.  Spelling, reading, historical facts … they were all drilled into our head.

So how can this concept carry through to fitness and health?  I’m glad you asked.

I just happen to have a plan for working on those pesky details that always seem to throw a wrench into even the most thought out programs.

Step 1 - Identify a single problem.

It’s easiest to manage the process if you isolate a single problem, work on it, and then move on to the next one.  After you’ve gone through the process a few times, you may decide you can take on multiple issues at once, but for now let’s just pick one thing to work on at a time.

Now this problem could be a particular issue with eating, like snacking after 8:00 PM.  It could involve your exercise routine, like perhaps you always wear out in the first couple of minutes.  It could even be  that your back hurts when you exercise.  Whatever “it” is, identify it.

Step 2 - Analyze the issue.

Why is it an issue?  When is it an issue?  Are there certain people around whom this becomes an issue?  Could there be a particular location where the issue is a problem?  Analysis now equals preparation later.

Step 3 - Devise a strategy.

Once you’ve come up with the why’s and how’s of the issue, it’s time to create a strategy to overcome it.  A strategy, by the way, is more than just saying, “Next time I’ll …”  It is a multifaceted plan of attack.  That is why the analysis step is so important.  If you only understand part of the problem, you can’t fully solve it.

NOTE: It is okay to seek out help for any of the steps, but especially 2 & 3.  You could use a trainer, coach, life coach, nutritionist, doctor, or any number of other professionals.  The objective of using a professional is to shorten the process and to avoid having to repeat it.  The nice thing about getting help within the scope of this process is that it provides direction.  Rather than just showing up and saying, in a very general way, “Help me,” you’re being much more proactive and saying, “Help me with this issue.”  Appointments become much more productive, and you get what you need out of the relationship.

Step 4 - Drill it into your brain.

Once you have a plan, go out of your way to try it out.  If your problem is eating at a restaurant, and you’ve worked with a nutritionist on how to special order, take a month or so and eat out a few times for the specific purpose of special ordering.  Your drill is designed to practice a new skill … so practice, practice, practice!

Step 5 - Re-analyze.

Now that you’ve practiced the skill, take a step back and look at the effectiveness.  On a short-term basis, you could analyze each opportunity to practice.  How did you do?  How did it feel?  What could be improved?  This way you will be even more prepared for the next opportunity.

We also need to fix our gaze down the road a bit and analyze the process as a whole.  Does it seem to be working?  Is the new behavior becoming automatic?  Do you need to adjust the strategy?

Step 6 - Check in periodically.

Every so often, take an inventory of all your new skills.  Are they still in place?  Do they need additional strengthening?  If they do, you always have your drills to fall back on.  Unused muscles become flabby and weak, and so do under-practiced skills!
Try this approach to any of the issues you may be facing with your health and fitness.  You may be astonished with the results.