I love that you are at the gym. But it makes me sad that you won’t be around for long. Most “Resolutioners” last about a month. You remind me of the people who go to church twice a year at Christmas and Easter because they feel like it’s something they should do. But it’s different – I know you want this to work. But it gets hard and most of you will quit. There will be obstacles and interruptions. Maybe you don’t think you are making excuses when you tell me why you can’t stick with it – but you’re wrong. They are excuses. Don’t bullshit a bullshitter. I was one of you not so long ago and I made the resolution, I made the effort, and I predictably quit when it got hard to manage with everything else going on in my life. I didn’t have the resolve to keep the resolution until I knew that I had to live differently if I didn’t want to die too young. It doesn’t really matter what calendar date you choose. It will happen when you are tired of the bullshit story you tell yourself about why you can’t do it.
If you are serious about making this a real lifestyle change, here are some tips from me about what to expect. You can find all kinds of tips online about nutrition and exercises. I’m more interested in why you will want to quit and how you can push beyond that.
- The motivation of the new year won’t last long. Habits do. Do something 21 times and it’s a habit. Expect your motivation to fade, but keep going anyway. Be consistent. Be your own parent about this. Maybe make doing it consistently a goal.
- You will get tired. You will get sore. You will be uncomfortable. You may feel awkward or stupid. Do it anyway. The uncomfortable, awkward, and stupid parts fade. Sorry, but if you do it correctly, the tired and sore won’t go away. You will just learn how to gauge the effectiveness of your workout by how tired and sore you are. You will welcome it.
- Sometimes your brain is tired, but your muscles aren’t. So do it anyway. You may not be in a great mood. So what? Your muscles don’t have moods.
- You will get hungry. But you are always in control of what you put in your mouth, chew, and swallow. No, really. You are. Stay in control.
- If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it – don’t argue with me on this – you know what I’m talking about. Even if you are socializing and the food and drink are free, it’s highly unlikely that you are being ‘waterboarded’ with cookies or beer.
- There is always a solution to the “I don’t have time” issue. You might have to give up something – like TV so you can workout or go to bed earlier so you can workout in the morning before you go to work. Honestly – your house doesn’t need to be cleaned everyday. Pack the gym bag the night before. Make new habits and MAKE THE TIME.
- It will be hard for a while. Maybe a long while. It wasn’t fun for me for the first YEAR. But after that, I was stronger and was capable of doing the fun stuff I love now. Had I quit during that first year, I wouldn’t be doing this now.
- Thousands of people have transformed themselves. And they will all tell you that they were changed positively in ways beyond how they looked. I believe most people aren’t vain about their appearance, so ‘looking better’ isn’t a good goal to sustain you when it’s hard. You need something important to you that will get you out of bed when it’s dark and cold. So pick another goal. Feeling better is an excellent goal. Pay attention to the little clues you are being sent from your body about how it’s not functioning at it’s best. Don’t wait for a major health crisis and a big medical bill.
- You will screw up. So what? Tomorrow is another day. You don’t need a “Jan 1” or a “Monday” to start anything. Your body doesn’t know about calendars. If you own a pet, you know your they don’t care if it’s your day off when it’s time to get up.
I’ve made several blog posts about the practical stuff I’ve done to make this all work over the last two years. But the most important thing is to not let yourself quit. Get control of those thoughts! There are mornings when I try to talk myself out of working out while I’m getting dressed, loading the car, and driving to the gym. My body follows the routine while my mind chatters away about some lame reason why I shouldn’t do it.
I do it anyway.