It’s often underestimated how much effort is actually required to foster and sustain positive change. In previous posts,we’ve talked about how the keys to success include creating sustainable habits and intentionally playing the long game. Today’s topic is an add-on to these, and the message is a little harsh, but often necessary: if you want change, it’s on you.
Let me explain. There are lots of services, products, gadgets, and people out there that offer ‘fitness’. Some services will help you stay accountable and create conducive training environments, and some feel cold, impersonal and uninviting. The former will likely make it easier for you to keep coming back, and the latter may require a little more effort. However, regardless of the type of service you choose, your progress is largely on you. Sure, you can choose a service that’s fun or that provides better training, but ultimately, the reality of it is that the best program in the world won’t be able to force you to show up if you just don’t want you to. Having access to the best service won’t bring you results unless you actually use it. Similarly, nobody is going to be able to get you to start eating broccoli and spinach if you don’t want to.
Positive change like improving your health and body composition requires you to take personal responsibility for your thoughts and actions. While this might sound obvious, our experience has shown us that people often take a couple of years to really get comfortable with this thought, and I’m hoping that reading this might help accelerate the acceptance process for you. The part that most people don’t realize is that to truly take personal responsibility, you often have to to adjust how you perceive things.
For example, you might be at a point where you know to aid your performance in the gym, you should start eating better quality food or getting better quality sleep. If you view this situation as restrictive and frustrating, it’s going to be really hard to stick to the new habit, especially when you’re tired at the end of the day and just want to eat something convenient. However, if you instead choose to view the change as something you want because you know it’ll give you cleaner, more regulated energy levels throughout the day and keep you in a better mood, on top of being able to do better at the gym, the task seems much more manageable and desirable. The whole thing feels more positive and encouraging because you’re choosing to focus on the good that will come with this new change. You put yourself in a position that’s better suited to playing the long game. Instead of feeling restricted, you’re setting yourself up to feel more liberated and empowered.
The same concept applies to the exercise you do. You can look at physical activity as torture, as something you have to force yourself to get through, but that will make it a struggle for you every time you think about exercise. Instead, you can choose to connect with your body, embrace the challenge, enjoy the feeling after a good session, and find strength in the fact that you aren’t afraid to push hard. If done right, you’ll find yourself trying to fit more of it into your week because it’s something you want to do.
It often takes people a couple of years to cross that line and fully realize that if they want change, it’s on them. The real life-changing stuff comes only after you’ve taken personal responsibility for your own health. It’s at that point that you really start getting what you want out of the fitness services you’ve chosen. My hope is that by reading this post, you’ll feel inspired you to start forming your unique version of “why I want this” and “what this means to me”, so you can start to make the changes you want.
Don’t be afraid to live the life and love the vegetables. Do it for a clear mind and a healthy body, and for your own deeper reasons why. Don’t work against yourself – work for yourself.
Be brave enough to take charge.