Have you struggled to lose weight or stay fit?
Do you dream about being locked overnight in a delicatessen?
How do you sustain success?
What can you learn about goal setting when trying to stay in shape?
Finally In Shape
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Ken Blanchard, one of my favorite authors and speakers about his recent personal transformation, losing weight and getting in shape. Ken is one of the most influential leadership experts in the world. He is the cofounder and Chief Spiritual Officer of the Ken Blanchard Companies. He is also the author or coauthor of fifty books that have sold more than 20 million copies, including the iconic The One Minute Manager®.
Ken recently wrote about his weight loss in a new book, Fit At Last.
An Early Relationship With Food
When you were young, you describe your life as fairly centered around food. What impact did that relationship with food have on you?
Controlling my weight has always been a battle. My mother, like many other mothers, nurtured her family with food. If we were happy, we ate; if we were sad, we ate; if we were worried, we ate. When you grow up that way, it becomes second nature—that’s where “comfort food” got its name. I used to have dreams of being locked overnight inside our local Jewish delicatessen. I can smell a piece of cheesecake a mile away! And at times I’ve been my own worst enemy—I believed that if I worked hard during the day, I could eat anything I wanted at night. My wife Margie used to call that a “lousy belief.”
Everyone who has struggled with weight has experienced the ups and downs. You’ve lost weight before. What happened?
Many times when I would have some success at getting fit, there would be a point where I would get complacent—then I’d forget about my original commitment, get distracted, and shift to other priorities.
Sustainable Goal Setting
What makes a goal sustainable?
A goal is sustainable when you have a few people in your life who help you stay committed to your commitment—they hold you accountable, praise your progress, and redirect your efforts when you get off course. In my experience, most goals are hard to sustain without a support system.
What role does individual personality or behavior style have on personal fitness?
I think personality style plays a key role. For example, I tend to be a pleaser. I’m sure a lot of my overeating through the years was to please my mother and other people who worked hard to cook good meals for me. I didn’t want to let them down!
Is there one reason most diet or exercise plans go wrong?
Diet plans and exercise plans can get boring and repetitive if they aren’t personalized to your own needs and preferences. Everyone is at a different stages of development in the various areas of health and fitness. For example, when I started my fitness journey, I was a beginner in aspects of fitness such as strength training and balance—so I needed extra direction and support in those areas. However, I have always been an expert at getting enough sleep, so I could handle a delegating leadership style there!
Let’s talk about goal setting. Some business leaders have goals at work, but don’t set or commit to personal goals. Why is that?
Many business people tend to ignore personal goals because making a living is their highest priority. I think some people become human doings, not human beings. They are good at setting goals around what they’re doing at work but not if the goal concerns their own health and fitness or spending time with their families or other important people in their lives. Don’t forget the quote about how nobody on their death bed ever wished they had spent more time at the office!
What’s it like for you to be fit again?
It’s fabulous! I tell a story in my new book, Fit At Last, about when I was in Hawaii and saw a tour bus stop at our hotel. Most of the passengers who got off the bus were women—there were only about five men. I figured it was because all the rest of the men were dead! I decided then and there that I wanted to be one of those five men getting off the tour bus. I’m excited about going to Hawaii with Margie as we get older.
What are you reading?
Given what I do, I read mainly nonfiction books. I do find it interesting that Peter Drucker, the famous leadership expert and author, once said he preferred novels to nonfiction books because novels were about people instead of systems. My wife Margie loves reading novels, too. So I think I may start reading more novels.