SWOT Yourself

Don’t worry; I’m pretty sure it’s legal in most jurisdictions.

What is this SWOT of which I write? SWOT is an acronym for a planning tool used in business and project management. I’ve used it before at work, but it also has a place in our fitness world.

Simply put, the idea is to take an objective (lose weight? work out regularly? drink X amount of water? eat more fruits and veggies?) and analyze the factors that will impact your chances for success using these categories:
– Strengths: internal traits that could prove helpful in achieving the objective
– Weaknesses: internal traits that prevent you from achieving the objective
– Opportunities: external helpful factors in achieving the objective
– Threats: external and potentially harmful factors in achieving the objective

For example, one of my objectives is to do “core work” every day. Let’s SWOT that:
Strengths – an established workout habit, can make workouts “fun”
Weaknesses – borderline laziness, inhibited at gym
Opportunities – gym membership, access to online core workouts, support through blogging
Threats – too many beefies at gym, bikini magazine covers

A short (and little thought-out) SWOT, but we’re talking theory here.

Okay, what do I do with this information? (Hint: this is the fun part!)

The trick now is to analyze and strategize. How do I make the best of the best and overcome the worst?
-How do I capitalize on each strength?
-How do I improve my weaknesses?
-How can I make use of each opportunity?
-How can I mitigate each threat?

A few things that come to mind are to:
* dedicate part of my current workout to core work
* scout the fitness websites to find good core exercises
* create a game or “contest” to challenge myself
* find out when the beefies aren’t at the gym and go then (until comfort factor is improved), OR do core work at home (I have all the equipment I need)

You get the idea. It’s all about identifying what works well and doing as much of it as possible and finding “work arounds” for the things that get in the way. I hadn’t realized it until today that I basically SWOT-ted my way through 100 pounds.

But what if the weaknesses and threats are too overwhelming, or the strengths and opportunities don’t exist? Well, maybe that particular objective isn’t worth pursuing.

I hear you: So, you’re saying I shouldn’t keep training for this marathon?

Not me. I’d never say that. What I’m suggesting is that if your objective is to run a marathon but your SWOT looks like this:
strengths: desire to run marathon
weaknesses: have never run a 5k
opportunities: a good pair of running shoes, lots of books on running marathons
threats: working two jobs, going to school

…that maybe–and I do mean MAYBE–you re-think that particular objective. Temporarily, anyway. Maybe your objective changes to “Run a 5k” with an eye on the marathon objective for later.

I realize that this may only make complete and total sense to me. And that’s okay. It wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last.

But if you’ve a mind to take a good hard look at your fitness objectives, I toss out the idea of the SWOT to help you sort things out. If you’d like to share here, that’s great, but if you want to keep things to yourself, that works too. The intent is to get your mind in gear so that the hiney might follow. :)

Happy mid-Week!