Effectively Creating Change

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

As we approach the second month of 2014, it’s a great time to reflect on those promises you made to yourself at the beginning of the year (I hate the word “resolutions”).  Are you on track with your goals or do you notice that the steps needed to be taken just aren’t getting done? Don’t worry!  Don’t beat yourself up!  Let’s figure out a way to make sure that you achieve the results from any goal you set, no matter if it’s a new year’s goal or one you made yesterday.

For the sake of this discussion, we’ll talk about exercise and diet goals–since that’s my specialty.  When you set goals, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. The “S” stands for Specific, for example: “I want to lose 15 pounds and 2 inches from my hips,” or “I want to do Larry’s bootcamp class 3 times a week.”  The goals also need to be Measurable:  you can measure 15 pounds or going to a class 3 times a week.  Are the goals Attainable?  If you travel for business and are out of town part of the week, you won’t be able to make my class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  With that scenario, a better goal would be to take my class when in town and visit a gym to take a class when away on business.  You also want your goals to be Realistic. Setting a goal to lose 20 pounds in one week is not only unrealistic, but it’s also unhealthy.  And finally, you want to be on a Timetable.   “I will lose 15 pounds in 7 weeks–by March 14, 2014.”

Now that you have set S.M.A.R.T. goals, how do people change habits and routines into healthier and more beneficial ones?  There are three basic principals in creating change:

  1. Thoughts – What are your thoughts about exercise?  Are your thoughts negative?  Do you spend your time dreading it?  Or while exercising, do you just think about getting through it? On the other hand, are your thoughts about physical fitness positive?  Do you think about the amazing outcomes and how you will feel if you start exercising regularly and improving your nutrition?  Do you think about how you will feel more energized and how well your clothes will fit or how your chances of being a candidate for cardiovascular disease will be greatly reduced? You see your thoughts shape your focus and shape your motivation.  Your thoughts direct your energy and maintain focus.  Staying positive and staying focused on how you’re going to feel is key to succeeding not only in fitness, but in everything we do.
  2. Intentions – Let me introduce Lisa, a busy lawyer for a local hospital who had her second child four months ago.  Lisa’s story brings me to the next part of making change and that’s your intentions.  What do you think Lisa’s intentions and motivations are where healthy living is concerned?  Her intentions are greater than losing weight–it’s about creating an easier life, having more energy and being there for her children.  Her intentions and motivations are what keep her going even when she’s tired or busy.  What are your motivations or intentions?  What are your drivers?  For example, for me, due to psoriatic arthritis, exercise and stretching are so vital because they actually make me feel better and reduce the amount of pain I usually experience.
  3. Actions - The final component of making lasting change is ACTION.  Let’s face it, we’ve all been there–we have great thoughts and intentions, but without action, nothing happens, nothing changes.  ACTION is at the core of making change, making it happen.  In Lisa’s case, she had the right mindset (thoughts), identified her motivations (intentions) and knew that she needed help.  Lisa reached out to Ascension Fitness to help her make the change because she knew she needed professional direction and most importantly, accountability. Decide who will help you stay accountable so that you can keep moving, keep acting and keep striving to achieve those goals.  Will that person be me, as your trainer, your partner or a friend?  Pick a person who is reliable and whom you can trust.

If you are well on your way to achieving your goals, then you probably didn’t even finish reading this article.  If you need a little help–you aren’t alone.  Set S.M.A.R.T. goals.  Analyze your thoughts regarding your goal.  Dig deep for your intentions and motivations.  And, find that person who can keep you accountable so that you can take action!!  Happy New You!!!


larrygruber-headshot2Physical fitness used to be just a pastime for me, until more and more friends began asking for my opinion concerning their fitness regimen.  In 1999, after a successful restaurant management career in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, I became a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I’m also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

As a personal trainer, I strongly feel that exercise should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  I structure the workouts so they are fun, combining traditional weight training with functional training, cardio-respiratory training and flexibility training, all aimed at helping you look, feel and move better.  In order for the sessions to be successful, the personal trainer/client relationship must be a very interactive one, requiring constant feedback from both parties.  I want and need your opinions and suggestions.

After training for 13 years in Chicago, I made the move south in search of warmer weather.  I’m so excited to be part of such a vibrant city, and I can’t wait to try its world famous restaurants.  Thanks so much for welcoming me to New Orleans!!

One thought on “Effectively Creating Change

  1. Thanks for the tips. i like the SMART method. I am so far doing great with my goal of working out 5 days a week with at least one day of pure cardio. Like the stairclimber as you recommended.

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