I know hundreds of people who have at some point told me they are going to get into shape but then failed. It’s a sad fact, but I’d say that there’s a relatively low chance of most people actually managing to getting into shape. Following the laws of probability then, if you are planning to get into shape then unfortunately it would seem the odds are stacked against you.
Of course every case is unique and there are certainly things you can do to increase your chances of success. So what is it that goes wrong for most of these people? Well if they came to me for training advice then it certainly wasn’t a problem with how they went about it or their knowledge. And unless they had no limbs then I’m not really willing to accept that it’s genetics either – sure it may be harder for some people, but it is always possible to get into shape.
So what’s the problem then? Well ultimately it must just come down to their attitude, their sticking power and their determination. Most of these people would have been fine if only they’d stuck at their goals – but for whatever reason they got disheartened or distracted and they gave up.
So then if you want to be the lucky 1% who actually achieves their ambitions, then this is what you need to change. You need to find a way to make sure that you STICK to your goals no matter what. Here we will look at how to do that and how to help yourself stick to your routines and your diet plans.
First of all you need to be realistic with what you hope to achieve. This is important because you can otherwise get disheartened. Say to yourself before you begin that you may not see results for a year even, but that you are going to give it that long no matter what. Meanwhile you need to accept that there WILL be set backs, and that these shouldn’t mean you completely give up. You may find that you can’t work out for a few days but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Be steadfast and expect the unexpected.
Shift Your Focus
In fact, stop focussing on your end goals at all and stop watching your weight. As they say ‘a watched pot never boils’ and constantly measuring yourself is only going to get you down as it will make any changes necessarily incremental.
And anyway, if your goal is ‘to lose one stone’ in one month, then that’s unrealistic. Anything could happen between now and then and you might break a limb or be forced to miss lots of sessions because of varied reasons. So what you need to do then is to make your focus the exercise itself, in otherwise challenge yourself to train at least four times a week for six months and make THAT the goal. This is something you have tighter control over and it means you aren’t constantly watching your weight. Instead, by focussing on the training you will find that the weight loss or muscle building take care of themselves.
Make it Fun
Another thing you need to do is to make yourself ENJOY the gym. I’ve managed to work out regularly for the last 11 years because I actually enjoy going to the gym as a way to blow off steam and as a way to feel like an action hero rather than just pushing pencils all day. It’s the only time I feel like a warrior and that ensures I stay in the gym, which in turn ensures that I stay looking strong. Even if you can’t get enthused about the gym itself, find ways you can make it more fun or more bearable by going with a friend, by listening to inspiring music or by setting yourself some kind of gym challenge.
Always Do Something
This is my real secret to success and that’s to ALWAYS DO SOMETHING. In other words, even if I am feeling ill, short on time and coming in from a night out drinking I will still do at least 20 press ups. I do this first of all because something is better than nothing, but more importantly because it stops me making wussy excuses. If I just felt tired and was making up reasons I couldn’t work out, then normally after I’ve done those twenty press ups I’ll find myself going ahead and doing the whole lot. Because you can ALWAYS fit in twenty press ups, you’ll find that you can no longer rely on the old reasons not to train.
Prime Your Mood
Feeling too tired and depressed to work out? Well then just find something that inspires you and use this to encourage you to work out. For me it’s watching an action film, but for you it might be listening to some upbeat music. Even just smiling and jumping up and down a little can get your blood flowing and get you feeling a little more energetic and a little more in the mood for working out.
Remember Why (Like the Boomtown Rats)
Another thing that can help is to focus on the reasons you are working out. For many of us that’s to look ripped and muscular, but for others it’s to lose weight. Try for instance then putting your phone background as Arnie in his prime, or as Kylie, and then when you look at it you will remember the physique you’re trying to develop and you’ll find new motivation to train. Likewise if you are motivated more by the stick rather than the carrot, simply find a roll of fat on your stomach and next time you think about snacking on cake, or about skipping a workout, just pinch it and look at yourself and you’ll probably stop.
With a Little Help From Your Friends…
Something else which can be a great help is to train with a friend and you’ll find they can motivate you a lot because you won’t want to let them down, and because you can take it in turns to gee each other up. If you are trying to lose weight then I find that one of the very most effective ways to do so is to join some kind of class such as Karate or Salsa. This way you will have something fun you want to do on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and you’ll have a whole support network encouraging you to go and to have fun with when you’re there. This will all help to ensure you don’t drop out, and as the class is active you’ll find yourself burning calories almost by accident.