I’m sure you’ve seen those people on social media time and time again. You know the ones. Yup! Those. The ones that have lost the ton of fat, the ones that have aesthetics up the ying yang and seem to have an undying iron will. You might even envy them a little bit and wonder how they did it and how they continue to do it.
What makes you different than them? You’ve been at this game for a while now. You begin working out, prepping your meals and somewhere along the line you miss one workout, then another, you eat a slice of pizza that turns into a few slices, with garlic knots and (ahem!) dessert—because it was part of the promotion and who are you to turn down dessert, right?!
If you think this post is about how many sets/reps, programming they do or what they eat… I’m really sorry to disappoint you. It’s not. That’s NOT how they’ve built their best body, and most importantly, their best self. Those are only added “ingredients” to the stellar main dish if you will.
So what really makes these select few unstoppable? Their secret is not visible. It is in their day to day, in the character they’ve built and that’s most definitely not apparent by just looking at a picture on Instagram. The good news is these are all qualities you, yes, YOU, can CULTIVATE too. However, this is NOT a one-time deal. Meaning, once you cultivate these qualities, you don’t own copyright to them forever.
They’re more like a flower you set out in the sun and water daily. So where do YOU begin?
1 – Start with “Why?”
Yup! You’ve heard that one before, haven’t you? “What is your why?” It sounds cliché and maybe it is to an extent, but that is really what will keep you trudging when you feel like throwing in the towel. So is it your declining health? Your kids? Your grandkids? How would being in shape, being fitter, being healthier on the inside change your life for the better?
2 – Compete with yourself.
These people you see that put in the work day in and day out make sure they compete with themselves. Why? Because it’s very easy to get discouraged when you compare yourself with the efforts of others. They may have more advantages than you but no one has advantages without disadvantages as well. Don’t forget that.
3 – Let go of your perfectionist tendencies.
I’m thinking way too much. I mean, ummmmm, YOU, you’re thinking way too much. If you’re a perfectionist like me, you’ll do a lot of thinking, analyzing and even research before you get started. The truth is there is no better way to get started than to get started with what you have, what you know at the moment and act. You can learn anything else you need to know along the way. I speak from experience when I say that the moment you start thinking too much and get in your head, the doubts start creeping in and you start to fight what you “think” is a losing battle. Stop thinking about how to perfect the process and just GO.
4 – Prepare.
One of the things people who have shed the pounds understand is that they need to be prepared. This means they’ve prepared their gym bag and routine the night before. They know exactly what they will be working on when they step thru the gym doors. They’ve also prepared their meals and planned what they’ll eat throughout the day. They’ve basically mapped out a success plan. It’s super easy to fall off the wagon when you don’t have a plan. So before you go to bed… tonight, take a few moments to plan your tomorrow. When you wake up, go down that list. Life doesn’t always work out as planned, but with a plan, you can adjust without losing your pace.
5 – Roll with the punches.
Let’s face it, even when you prepare and plan there will be certain circumstances in which your plan will not go… well, as you planned it. Remember those perfectionist tendencies we talked about earlier? Those tend to creep back when the control freak in you rears its ugly head, doesn’t it? The people that have been successful in their fitness journey realize they’ll have to make do with the present circumstances. If you’d planned to have Greek yogurt and berries and your boss decided s/he’d buy everyone lunch, try and choose the best choices there. Please do this especially if you’re at a party but remember food is also celebration. You’ve been at the place where you’ve restricted, restricted and restricted and then BAM! Binge festival. That’s not what you want.
6 – Make way for balance.
See what I did there? Made this a bullet point right after talking about an unexpected lunch? What if pizza was what the boss ordered? When/if you’re not preparing for a physique competition, you’re going to have to learn to have your cake (or pizza) and eat it too. I say go for it. No one ever ruined all of their efforts by eating a slice and you like pizza. Who doesn’t like pizza!?
7 – Do NOT Isolate Yourself in Lieu of Your Weight Loss Goals.
This brings me to my next point. You cannot go into hibernation mode when you’re trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Your family, friends or co-workers may not understand why you’re doing it, and that’s okay. It’s not their journey to make sense of. So man-up or put your big girl panties on and order that baked salmon, with an extra side of naked-veggies and a sweet potato while they eat whatever they want. It’s imperative to be able to spend time with the people we love and live in the real world.
8 – Celebrate EACH of your successes.
People that are in this for the long run, do not dwell on “losing just one pound”, those small successes count and should be celebrated. If a puzzle is losing just ONE piece, it will not allow you to appreciate the entire puzzle picture because that one piece counts.
9 – Do not be motivated solely by aesthetics.
Is it great to have a great looking physique? Sure. It is important to remember, however, that aesthetics is a byproduct of you treating yourself and your body with the dignity it deserves. Concentrate on your health first and aesthetics will follow.
10 – Be your best friend. I can’t stress how important this is.
No one’s transformation ever began from a place of self-hate and self-reproach. This goes back to treating yourself with dignity with self-respect. Speak to yourself the way you would to your best friend. While there are some circumstances where you’d show tough love to your friend telling him/her that they need to get their rear in gear, you wouldn’t tell them they’re worthless, a failure, you wouldn’t say, “You’re just going to fail again”, “You’re a fat ass”, etc. etc. etc. A study conducted by MIT indicated that for every negative thought we have, it takes 17 positive thoughts to override that one negative thought. This is particularly disconcerting considering that 87% of our very own negative self-talk goes undetected by the conscious mind. When you hear someone say, “You have to think positively”, believe them, because they’re right.
Start with these 10 steps but be patient with yourself and the process. Real change takes time.