The road to a lifetime of health and fitness is littered on all sides with the stinking carcasses of failed diets and unused gym memberships.
Depressing image, right? Especially when you look back at your own carcasses and count the number of failures you’ve experienced over the course of your life. Don’t worry though. You are not alone. The vast majority of people who embark on a new diet or fitness regime will fail within the first few weeks. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
Having the motivation to start a new fitness regime or diet is an amazing thing. We live in a sick, SICK, World full of health related diseases. Obesity is going through the roof, diabetes is on the rise and the number of people being diagnosed with heart disease is off the chart. In short, the human race is fucked. So if you can become a shining beacon of health in the dark sky of un-health, then you deserve a big pat on the back. 10 out of 10 for trying your best. Keep it up. But, you won’t. At least, most of you won’t.
Why do we fail so often and so quickly?
Did your plan fail because you failed to plan? Did you go all in on a regime, buy the trainers, drink the Cool Aid, take the selfie and now you’re just fatigued and bored and you never want to hear the word gym ever again. Did you have one cheat meal too many? Did you miss one training session and figure that you’d failed now so whats the point? There are countless shitty reasons why we fail to achieve our health goals. All of them seem like valid reasons at the time.
Setting unrealistic goals.
What is an unrealistic goal? Here’s a fairly common one. Wannabe gym rat says to trainer that he wants to train 5 times a week and go fully paleo, starting Monday. If you haven’t followed a fitness program before or eaten a well balanced diet, or you’ve been out of the game for years, the chances of you succeeding in a total lifestyle change like this are at best small, and in all probability impossible. Pick something you can guarantee will be a success. Cut out sugar. Make time for one or two training sessions per week and ring fence this – at all costs. Only a life or death emergency should separate you from your plan. Going out for a beer with a mate (that isn’t scheduled), or taking that lunch meeting or 6pm client call are all examples of you failing to meet your goals. And saying that you don’t have enough time to train is utter, utter bullshit. Unless you are actually the center of the universe, chances are that you have time. You just lack a bit of grit and determination.
Making a big change is about layering – winning battles.
Don’t get hung up on the end goal, if the end goal is so far away from where you are now that it is a mere dot on the horizon. To win the war you have to win the battles. This means layering success on success until you have a big collection of successes. This doesn’t come with a timescale either. If it takes a year to make 5 sustainable changes then that is how long it takes. Play the long game and learn to enjoy the journey.
Treat yourself with compassion.
The psychological pressure to succeed is enormous. You need to recognize this. Laugh at yourself when things aren’t going well. Be compassionate. If you fail, and fail you will (Statistically), don’t beat yourself up and reach for the nearest box of cookies. Be sympathetic with yourself. Remember, every minute that goes by is another chance to start over. If things go wrong. Hit the refresh button and get back into the game.
Don’t be a whiny little bitch – coaches hate a crybaby, and we see crybabies everywhere!
The Butchers Dog