We all want to be healthy. Our definitions of what healthy looks like may differ but in some way we all want to feel good about the body we have and be able to enjoy life at the same time.
Read Personal Journal Entry: #1 for ideas on what I’m working on.
We were all given a different shape, size, height, color, etc… None of us should want to be like anyone else. We’re all unique and as I often say, the only person you should compare yourself to is your future self. Will future you be thanking you for who you are now?
So, in order to get the body you want, here’s what you have to do.
The first thing you want to do in order to get the body you want is to actually define and decide exactly what healthy looks like to you. Have you been trying to work out with only a vague picture in your head of what “fit” looks like? What are you working towards?
Sit down and brainstorm some ideas of what being healthy looks like. Do you just want to lose some weight? How much? Do you want to be able to run a marathon or compete in some other sport? What kind of body/lifestyle would it take for you to win or complete it? Do you want to ward off disease or a condition? What kind of foods and exercises does it take to do that?
We often just get a generic idea of “healthy” in our head and then either head to the gym without focus or direction causing us to burn out quickly, or we start comparing our current condition to that vague idea of healthy and decide we could never accomplish it and give up before we even start. Without purpose or direction, you will fail. Every workout is different and is meant for different goals. Diets are also tailored to different body goals. You can’t expect to just “go get fit” or “be healthy” without first, a definition.
Once you have a clear idea of what it is you are wanting to accomplish, you need to write out a plan. You may have an amazing brain that can store and process a lot of information, but actually writing down what’s in your head and then seeing it on paper has a way of causing you to see that this is reality actually has a chance at success. You’re more likely to accomplish this goal if you plan it out and write it down.
At the top of a piece of paper, write your name and describe your current situation. How much do you weigh? What size of clothes do you wear? What are your exercise habits? Write whatever you want, just as long as you have a clear “picture” of where you are now. At the bottom of the page, do the same thing except you’ll be describing the desired goal or definition of healthy for you. Write what weight you want to be. Describe what winning looks like. And make sure you put the date it will be accomplished.
In between these two descriptions, you fill with the steps needed to get from now to the finish line. Be specific and description. Be detailed. How much money will it cost? What things do you need to clear from your schedule? Who can you ask to help you out? Etc… This will give you a clear picture of what you need to do, how you need to do it, and when to do it.
A plan is vital but it’s still easy to become discouraged and lose focus sometimes. The next step is to make sure you help yourself achieve this goal by only doing the things that support your plan. Cut out foods and activities that get in the way. Find accountability partners. Do some research and only do exercises and diets that get you towards your specific goal. Be nice to yourself. Forgive yourself when you mess up by eating something you weren’t supposed to. Reward yourself for the small wins. Put encouraging and motivational quotes and pictures up on your wall. Tell the world that you are committing to this goal.
These are all great ways to give yourself the best possible chance at reaching your goal. I like to call this process “Overwhelming Force”. You are doing as much work before hand so that there is no way you cannot succeed. It’s easy to lose steam day after day of struggling and you’ll want to do as much work before you start so that it’s easier to keep going. Put your energy into the preparation, not into the actual day-to-day grind. Give yourself the plan and the support it needs to succeed.
When thinking about a plan and how to support yourself during this process, one key phrase has never been more applicable. “K.I.S.S.” – Keep It Simple Stupid! Seriously… The simpler the goal, the further you’ll go. The plan should be very detailed, but start with a simple goal. Don’t try to win a gold medal at the Olympics your first time out. Start with a goal that will challenge you a little but with enough perseverance, you KNOW you can do it. When looking at a diet to follow, don’t look for anything that is going to take a lot of prep work and shopping and planning, and etc… to do. This will only discourage you later on and you’ll get tired of all the energy you’re expending. If you’re looking at buying exercise equipment, don’t be fooled into buying the latest and greatest gadget or fat-burning machine for only $99.99! It might really work but you most likely can get the same results just by doing normal cardio workouts in your living room and buying a cheap set of barbells!
These are just examples, but the whole process and plan needs to be simplified in order to give yourself the best chance to succeed. I tend to over complicate everything. I love spreadsheets and can get carried away if I’m not careful. You don’t want to rue the day you had this great idea to become healthy and fit! If you find yourself getting carried away, just take a breath and go back to basics. Ask yourself, “what do I really need to do this?”.
This is maybe the most important step of all. You have a clearly defined goal. You have measures in place to support that goal, and you are keeping it simple. But still it can seem daunting and you may even be a little scared. It’s well known that if you enjoy something, your chances of finishing it skyrocket. It makes sense though. If you love doing it, why would you stop? The plan may seem awful right now and you may be having second thoughts, but it’s okay to let yourself enjoy this time. Don’t fear failure, look forward to the change process. Look forward to the end results and what you’ll be able to do. Look forward to the rewards that you have set up for yourself. This is a good thing to do. You are being good. Enjoy that! Find fun and creative ways to implement the plan. If you like running, explore some new part of your neighborhood each time you go out! If you’re not looking forward to getting up early, go find a place that allows you to enjoy the beautiful sunrise as it comes up! Go to the gym with a friend and go get a tasty smoothie afterwards. Give yourself permission to enjoy this process. If you stick to these steps, you cannot fail.
Don’t forget that movement creates momentum, so if you don’t feel like doing anything, just one small action can get the ball rolling.