In our previous article on How the Fitness Industry Has Taught Us to be Helpless, we talked about the Paradox of choice. Basically, when we have too many choices, we pick none of them. And when we do pick one, we are less happy because we wonder how happy we would be if we had picked something else.
But with all of these choices there has to be something available to us to allow us to get results, right? There has to be some form of exercise that allows us to get the results we want now and sustain them for the long-run.
Luckily enough for you, there is an answer to this question. And the answer is, everything works. Sorry, I wish I could be more straight forward and precise, but that’s part of problem. Everyone who has a product or service and everyone you know who has achieved results through some form of exercise is certain that their product or service will work. And they should be certain. If they weren’t certain that what they sold worked, they would be out of business. I, for instance, am certain that our services at Thrive can get you the results you want because of the number of people we have already helped to achieve beyond their goals.
But it doesn’t matter what I think. And it doesn’t matter what the guy on TV selling you the next best ab shredder thinks. And it doesn’t matter what your next-door neighbor thinks. What matters, first and foremost, is what YOU think.
To help you narrow down all of your fitness options to a handful of choices that will help you achieve long-term success, there are three things that you can do. These things should be written down and figured out before you start your fitness journey. Writing things makes them concrete. It puts them right in front of you so that you can look at them and assess them. So make sure to write down the answers to these questions as you move forward:
This one seems obvious, but it’s always worth repeating. Knowing your goals is essential for success in fitness and nutrition. There are 2 types of goals you should write down during this process: BHAG Goals and SMART Goals.
BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious and Grand. These are the goals that, if you said them to someone, they would laugh and tell you that’s impossible. Maybe that’s losing 50lbs. Maybe that’s running a marathon. Maybe that’s putting on 10lbs of muscle. Make it big.
SMART stands for Specific Measurable Achievable Reasonable and Time-sensitive. This is something that you can see happening in a certain amount of time, preferably sooner than later. If your BHAG Goal is to lose 50lbs, a SMART Goal might be to lose 5lbs in 2 weeks. The idea is to start collecting wins. The more wins you have, the more confidence you have, the more likely you will be to making this sustainable.
A lot of people get in trouble because they don’t know where to begin. Actually, I’m pretty positive that this is why most people decide to just sit around and do nothing instead of take action on their health. I can write a whole book about this (maybe that’s a BHAG Goal for me).
Once you have your goals down, you need to do an assessment of where you are physically and mentally right now. Mentally, are you ready, willing and able to get started on your fitness journey? Do you have the internal motivation to get started? Do you believe that you can achieve the things you’ve written down? Physically, how often have you exercised over the last 6 months? How vigorous has that exercise been? These are things that you need to know before you start.
Once you have done an assessment of yourself, figure out the easiest step you can take NOW to move you towards your goal. If your definition of exercise over the last 5 years has been getting off the couch to grab another beer, you probably shouldn’t start by joining a crossfit facility. Take a 20-minute walk 3-5 days a week or do 5 pushups 3-5 times a week or simply drive to the gym, walk in and walk out every day for a couple of weeks. Do something to move you closer and do it often.
This last one is often overlooked and a lot of the reason why many people start working out and quit working out all in the same month. You have to enjoy what you’re doing. Once you have your goals and have done a thorough assessment of where you are, start looking for options that will help you achieve your goals. And as you find them, rate them on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 meaning “No Fun at All” and 10 meaning “Fun Out of My Mind”. The items that are closer to “Fun Out of My Mind” will be the things that are more sustainable for you.
Maybe you don’t know what will be fun. Maybe you think something will be fun but you’re just now sure if you’re willing to commit. Fine, go try it. If you think Zumba looks like fun, give it a try. Set a time, say 2 weeks, and try it for that amount of time. Once your 2 weeks is up, either you decide to stick with it or you decide to move on.
No matter what happens, remember you have to enjoy what you are doing to have sustainable, long-lasting results. Don’t let this be the down fall of health and wellness.
Fitness doesn’t have to be as complicated as it is made to seem. Decide what you want out of an exercise regimen and make a choice to do it. Once you’ve made a choice, do it often. A smarter man than myself once said “If it’s important, do it every day”. If you want to make fitness part of your life, do it often enough to make it a habit.