If you follow me in all the various places online, you know that a) I hurt my back awhile ago b) I have been going to physical therapy to get better and c) the injury woke me up to the need to get in shape and follow a plan to do so.
The good news is that all I’m doing is working — really working. And even though it is sometimes painful or I don’t feel like it, the exercises, eating right and getting increasingly more active are going to have the results I desire.
I was propped up after a grueling session, with a heating pad on my knee and the issue of Time with Zuckerberg on the cover, thinking about physical therapy and social media.
There are many similarities between following a strategic digital communications plan and a self-improvement plan.
- You enter with your goals in mind. With my healthy-living plan I’m losing weight and strengthening my core so I get pressure off my arthritic knees and avoid injuring my back again. With social media, you should begin knowing that you want the work to result in establishing you as a thought leader in your industry, or in increased sales that help you make your business goals. It doesn’t matter what the goals are, as long as they’ve been defined.
- In social media as in exercise, you can’t just do it once here and there and expect results. You can’t binge exercise then sit on the couch for a month. It takes consistent effort and renewed challenges. My physical therapist will ask me how I feel and if I’m not groaning too much, will make me do another set of exercises. Challenge yourself — if you get used to doing one blog post a week, challenge yourself to crank out two.
- You can’t cheat. I know that if I eat that donut and don’t enter the points using my Weight Watchers tools, I still ate the donut, and if I do that too often, I’m not only not going to lose the weight, I’m going to gain weight. Since I really, really want to slim down, not just for summer, or my son’s upcoming wedding, but for life, then cheating becomes less attractive. You can’t cheat social media either — people try to hire someone else to do it for them, or sacrifice authenticity and engagement by relying too much on automated actions. To create lasting relationships, you’ve got to be there, and you’ve got to stick it out.
I’m paying attention to the techniques the physical therapists use to keep me motivated so I can apply them to clients struggling to stick with a social media plan. And as I stick to both my healthy living plan and my own social media pursuits, I will keep picturing myself (a fit and thin me) on a future cover of Time.