big rocks vs. little rocks

Big Rocks versus Little Rocks

More often than not, we spend too much time focusing on the little rocks…


When I start working with a new client, one of the first things I ask them to do is to write a list of what they are doing right now to work toward their goals. So if their goal is fat loss, what are they doing right now to work toward the goal of losing fat?


99% of the time, this list is filled with what I refer to as “little rocks” – actions and behaviours that are easily controlled, but ultimately don’t make much of a difference. Why? Because there is not attention being paid to the “big rocks.”


When I use this analogy with clients, I often refer to filling up a tank with rocks. If you put just little rocks in first, you will not have room for the big ones and they’ll just sit on top and let water through. But if you get the big rocks in place first and then fill in the smaller spaces with little rocks, then you’ll be able to retain more water in the tank. Make sense?

Really, what this boils down to is the need to take care of the big rocks first before focusing in on the little rocks.


Great…but what ARE the big rocks?


That depends on what your goals are, but ultimately they are usually the things that take more work, so we tend to not want to focus on them. The little rocks are easier.


For example, focusing on the number of grams of fat a client is consuming in a day is more than likely a little rock if they don’t first have a solid idea of what a proper portion size is.


For me, the big rocks I am focusing on are:

  • Consistency with my workouts – making sure I get myself to the gym
  • Protein intake – given that I am following a primarily plant-based diet now, I need to ensure that I am still meeting my protein needs
  • Sleep – adequate sleep (at least 8hrs) is going to ensure that I am able to recover from my workouts


Everything else is taking the back burner in the sense that it’s not my primary focus. I am not worrying too much about my carb intake right now, I am not worried about how many glasses of wine I have in a week, and I am not focused on whether or not I am fitting into a certain pant size.


This is where making a list of your main priorities becomes important – the main priorities are your big rocks, and they are the ones that deserve the most focus.


How to establish your big rocks:

1) Write down your top 3 goals when it comes to health and fitness

2) Based on those goals, write out no more than 3-4 priorities

3) Within those priorities, establish what specific steps and actions you can do to ensure you are meeting those priorities

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