At 54 I know myself pretty well. I’ve gone from having been obese and unfit and eating a standard American diet to turning my lifestyle completely around. I did it mainly over two years, then tweaked it for the next eight.
Additionally, as a personal trainer for the past seven years, I have seen what works and what doesn’t work for many people. I’ve seen the gung ho, the big spenders, and the desperate all fail to meet their goals because success comes through the persistence of little steps. It took you years to get unfit, so don’t expect to get fit any sooner, no matter how much you want it this morning at 8am or how much money you’re willing to part with.
For fitness, as with many pursuits, it is paramount that you just show up.
Walk through that gym door as many days and as consistently as possible and your goals will be within reach. Why? Because the toughest part of getting through your day is all the decision points that make you stop, consider, and choose. Decision points are emotionally taxing, time-consuming,and where you fail to meet your expectations. That’s what habits are for; they remove decision points, conserving mental energy and temptations that often demoralize us.
Reducing decision points (creating habits) leads to success.
For me, removing decision points means thinking in black and white: “I just don’t drink any soda”, not “I can have some sometimes” because that leads to the stress of a decision point every time there is an opportunity (which can be many times in one day!). Same with work outs. “I just work out every weekday at 4:30” not “I’ll see how I feel or how busy I am each day before I commit.” When my decision to work out is a habit, then NOT making it on a planned day becomes the exception. Then MISSING my work out becomes the decision point that makes me choose, stresses me, and I try avoid.
That said, my simple goal for 2019 is 200 sessions (I’m going to walk through my crossfit box’s door 4/week). If I just get there, a lot of good things will happen. Maybe I’ll get that muscle up this year. Maybe I’ll get the lats I’ve always dreamed of. Maybe I’ll just get a habit that will make my life better and better.