What a chubby middle school basketball player can teach you about your fat loss goals


I'm not trying to alarm you, but the kid in this picture is me. Yes, awkward smile and all... 

Note those matching Reebok shoes and socks pulled up so you can actually see how proud I was of the fact that they matched.

This was my first year playing basketball and ironically probably the last time I was (one of) the tallest on any basketball team.

Why do I show you this?

Am I doing penance for some bad deed? Did I lose a bet?

No, I actually wanted to share this with you to remind you that the first step in accomplishing a goal is to take the first step.

You see up until that time I had never played organized basketball. I liked to watch the UNC Tar Heels on TV and knew all the rules of the game. I had played HORSE and one on one with friends and an uncle, but playing the game as a member of a team was something that had escaped me.

First was tryouts though there were 4 skills we had to demonstrate:

  1. Shoot a free throw and get the rebound
  2. Dribble to the other end of the court through some cones in an S shape
  3. Shoot a jump shot and get the rebound
  4. Dribble back to the other end of the court and shoot a layup. Basically a 1-man fast break

All in under 1 minute.

In my case they shouldn't have even given me a ball.


You know that famous quote "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take", I think it's Wayne Gretsky or Michael Jordan?

Well, I missed all the shots I did take!

But I got selected to a team nonetheless and began to practice. I think this must have been the beginning of the trophy kid phenomena.

One of the first things I learned in practice I had failed to grasp in simply watching UNC on television or in a one on one matchup was that it wasn't just organized chaos. There were moves that the players were doing in concert with the others. It was like a 5 man ballet when it was done well. The coach of my favorite team, Dean Smith, was like a chess master to me, seemingly anticipating the other coach's next move before he would make it.

That's what I wanted to learn. I wanted to learn to play basketball as a member of a team.

That was my goal!

I would never go to the NBA because of that pesky height gene. Thanks mom and dad, I've forgiven you.

I wouldn't get a scholarship to college for my basketball skills.

And it was pretty clear by my 3rd year in organized basketball that I wasn't even going to play in high school even though we did win the championship that year.

But I wanted to learn how anyway and not just through television, but through trying, failing, learning, and (most important) doing and ultimately succeeding. 

What's your goal?

Did you know that less than 5% of adults have written down specific, measurable, time-bound goals? As a matter of fact Brian Tracy, a well known motivational speaker, puts that number at 3%. Think about that for a minute, right now it's possible that 97% of you reading this email don't have a goal that is, what in management speak is known as a SMART goal. 

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time bound

I'm guessing that most of you have some pretty specific goals when it comes to inches and pounds, or business and technology. Some of you have even written in saying as much. Things like "I'd like to add a few more pounds of muscle" or "I'd like to kick my nighttime sugar cravings" or "I'd like to find a strategy to help me avoid the drive thrus for lunch". 

All of those are awesome goals, but notice there are parts missing in each of those and probably why they haven't been successful in achieving them thus far. So...

I'd like to issue a challenge to you. Write down a SMART goal as it pertains to your body change efforts and see if you begin to make progress towards it. If you want to share it with me, please respond with that goal. I'd love to hear about it.

If you don't feel that you know how to refine your goal that's ok, I will follow up in a couple of days and we will address the individual parts of goal setting.

Gary Leake