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      The kind of effort that gets results.

      effort that gets results | kourtney thomas fitness life coach

      Two months ago, mid-November, I started a new habit: I get up at 6:36 every morning and take either a cycling or yoga class for 30 minutes. If I spin, I also do a ten-minute stretch. Then I shower and get dressed in real people clothes and head to my home office to start work at 8:00am.

      Honestly, I can’t believe it’s already been two months! I actually had to go back through my workouts and see when I started, because I thought it had only been a month. I’m just reeeeeeally not a morning person, so it’s hard for even me to believe it about myself that I would keep up this kind of routine so easily for so long. But, I mean, yay, me! And yay, feeling waaaayyy better through quarantine days.

      If you haven’t guessed, Peloton is helping me out with this. My instructors are inspiring and motivating, the community is encouraging, the convenience of both bike and app in my house takes away most barriers for me.

      And yet, I still wouldn’t ever for a moment begin to say any of this makes the effort easy.

      Take, for instance, my ten-minute stretch. It is, of course, the thing that most people skip all together because they can hardly fathom wasting another minute of the day before tackling that email or making that phone call or whatever other pressing task is on their to-do list. And it’s easy to neglect because it seems like extra. It is, indeed, the thing that I also almost neglected when I started this whole morning routine situation.

      Which is weird, because back when I was running nearly every day, I was religious about my post-run stretching. I had a little routine I’d go through after every single run, and I never skipped it. It probably took me at least fifteen minutes to get through, but if I didn’t do it, my body was a wreck and I could feel it. That, then, affected my recovery, my performance, and my mindset and confidence.

      Important tangent point here: ya gotta stretch if you’re working out regularly!

      Somewhere along the way, I got away from the stretching routine. I stopped running so much, so I stopped stretching, and I never created another routine around lifting or walking or anything else. Even though my body felt it and I knew it was affecting me, there was no guide, so there was no effort.

      When I got my Peloton bike, I started doing a five-minute post-ride stretch after about half my rides. I noticed how much better I was feeling even from that little increase in effort, so I started to do the five-minute stretch after every ride. It wasn’t perfect (what really is?!?), but it was better than nothing. When I committed to this new regular schedule and increased my riding volume, I decided to increase my stretch time. What’s another five minutes, if I’m already here? A little extra effort, but the benefits made it worthwhile.

      Alas, I don’t always love the stretch sequences or format. Sometimes, the instructors don’t hit a muscle group I really need to get into. Sometimes, they do more dynamic mobilization vs. the passive stretching I want after a hard workout. So, sometimes, that leaves me to do some extra stretching without their guidance.

      Now here’s the funny thing – I have an extremely difficult time putting in that unguided effort on my own.

      Like, way, way harder than I would have expected, especially since I used to spend at least fifteen minutes doing it myself without even thinking. I mean, I can hold a stretch if someone’s talking me through it for anywhere from twenty seconds to two whole minutes, but I can’t even count to fifteen on my own, let alone thirty seconds? Seriously?

      The first time I added on a stretch after a class had finished, I noticed how it felt like a freaking superhuman effort to count to twenty in my head, even when I knew the desirable result that came from putting in the effort. Honestly, I almost just went into the class catalog to pick another stretch I knew would incorporate the ones I wanted to do. I didn’t, but I did learn this:

      I was willing to put in the effort, but only with a little guidance.

      So, I committed to that, and it’s how I’ve been able to completely change my morning routine and keep up with it for two months, which have gone by quickly and somewhat easily. Guided effort has positively affected my energy, my attitude, my body, my business, and my life. That’s a pretty kickass result if you ask me.

      I couldn’t help but think about how this is relevant to coaching, and especially to coaching.

      I refer to my work and as guided self-discovery, and that very much parallels a guided workout with an instructor or personal trainer. You’re putting in the effort, but there’s someone there to facilitate. They’re not telling you exactly what to do or how to do it, but they’re giving you a framework. And it’s not that you’re not thinking about what you’re doing, because you’re usually thinking about it quite a lot, but having a partner to rely on or check in with takes a little bit of the pressure, the burden, off, and frees you up for the actual effort.

      Guidance greases the groove.

      It doesn’t make the effort itself easy, but it’s easier to put the effort in when you’re being guided. Encouraged. Supported, even through a screen and a virtual high five. 

      Guidance is easy to neglect because it seems like extra, but guidance is one of the biggest factors in creating lasting change. 

      And through the , it’s the bulk of the positive feedback from participants too. Like:

      “The most valuable part was that you (Kourtney) would guide us through the various topics and things, so it didn’t feel so intimidating.”

      “The Reflections worksheets were helpful because you could read them, process the questions and come back to them. It was also a guided thinking process that allowed you to structure your thoughts instead of getting lost in them.”

      “You are most likely not being completely honest with yourself and are buried in your own black hole of repetitive actions and thinking. This program allows you to step outside your hurdles with guided thinking and writing and provides you a path to follow where you can work through your thoughts and issues without pressure. You may take a divergent path with some of the topics because you find things you didn’t know were actually bothering you and you are allowed to explore them openly and without criticism. Completion of the program leaves you with a different perspective on your issues and thought patterns than you had when you went in and provides you with the tools to continue a more structured process without self-criticism getting in your way.”

      There are lots of things we want to do in life, changes we want to make, habits we want to build – many surrounding our health and well-being. And we’re usually more willing to put in the effort than we might realize.

      The missing piece that leads to the result we’re after is the guidance.

      Our culture has convinced us that we need to be able to do absolutely everything on our own. That we can just be more disciplined, do it ourselves after reading a book or article, become more personally responsible, basically grit our teeth and force ourselves to just be better. Because asking for help is weak. Delegating is for people who can’t handle it. And seeking support is a personal failure.

      I call bullshit.

      And I call you in to consider where you might benefit from a guided effort.

      Set aside, just for a moment, the idea that you should be able to do this on your own. Focus, instead, on what you actually want to do or feel or change, and what the best way to get there really is.

      If that’s in the department of changing your mindset, cultivating a more positive body image, feeling confident in your skin, and finally figuring out fitness, . It won’t be wholly easy, but the effort you put in with supportive guidance will feel a whole lot easier than doing it on your own.

      And even better – it’ll get results.

      is only open for another week, until January 24. If you’re ready to put in this effort, now’s the time. If you’re still thinking about it, let’s set up a call and talk about how guidance can benefit you. 

      the kind of effort that gets results | kourtney thomas fitness life coach

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