I often times see someone want to work out, make a decision to make a change, and then fizzle out. Their old habits come back with a vengeance and the person is terribly unhappy. This is how you fix it.
Utilize That Moment of Decision
I love meeting with people when they are at that point that they will do anything to change their situation.
Those discussions are some of the most amazing things to me. At that point, there is no barrier that is too great to overcome. The amount of energy they bring to the table is overwhelming. Whether or not they stick with the program is mostly a result of how this energy is directed.
From my experience, this state doesn’t last long. It is temporary. The lazy person inside who likes the old habits will come back. If things have changed enough, then it won’t be the same scene.
I always like to get a crisp and clear idea of where the person is trying to go. Lay out your exact ideal scene. If the goal is to lose the first 50 pounds, then plan out everything to lose 50 pounds.
Make sure that this end goal is specific and every step of every program is oriented towards achieving it.
Usually this point is glanced over. I’ve seen a woman tell me (unrealistically) that she wants to look like Cindy Crawford. She knows that she’s never going to look like that. We have to change the terms to something real. We get her to lose 50 pounds. We get a guy able to run a 5K race. We get her so she can finally fit into those pants.
These are tangible, reachable goals that can be measured and when we get there, we can say with certainty that it is done.
So set a timer for 30 minutes and don’t think about taking any less time than that on working out your ideal scene. You might find yourself working out more than just a simple fitness goal. I’ve seen people take this step and incorporate their family, job, house and everything else.
It is a good and healthy step to just build a solid image in your mind that describes exactly how you want your life to be.
After the Goal Is Set
Once you set the clear targets, it is easy to work back from that.
You simply measure where the person is now – whether it is how much they weigh, how far they can run or how much their bench press is. Then you plot a line on a graph to where they want to be over a period of time.
If you’re trying to lose ten pounds per week, that is too fast. One pound a week is too slow. Figure out from a fitness professional what a good rate of loss is for you.
If you’re trying to build up your bench press, find out what a healthy rate of improvement would be.
Get the line plotted and then start working on rearranging your life.
To create something, you’ve sometimes got to destroy something.
If you’re always eating snacks and drinking during poker night with your buddies and you’re trying to lose 50 pounds. You’ve got to destroy your poker night. It might take a few phone calls and you’ll hear them whine, but tell the boys that you’re doing this for _____ reasons and that you need their support.
If they want to stay in touch, tell them to hop on your plan and meet you at the gym. Tell them that you want to come back after and that the only thing you want to hear from them is a call making sure you’re on track to reach your goals.
If they are your friends, they will support you. And if you are a really good friend and a leader, you’ll get the whole gang exercising. There went poker night.
So disestablish those things that trip you up. An ice cream snack in the freezer is like a landmine in a field. You’ve got to carefully disarm it and dispose of it so it does not do what it was intended to do – get you fatter.
For most people, they claim they “have no time.” But I have looked in on these people and I found that each one could have loads of time if they had no TV. It seems almost like self-mutilation, but please get rid of your TV.
Your establishment actions are just as important:
- Get your exercise clothes.
- Look at new, healthy recipes.
- Get new shoes.
- Find a gym that you want to go to.
- Get a list of workouts that you would do at the house if you can’t leave.
- Work out your schedule – before or after work.
- See if your company has something set up to reimburse you for your gym membership.
- Get your spouse, kids, friends and siblings involved.
- Watch several YouTube videos about people who have lost 100 pounds
- Read a book about someone who decided to change their ways and lost a bunch of weight
- Take over more physical chores at the house to burn calories
- Rebuild your backyard fence or some other work instead of sitting down
There are thousands of different actions that can restructure your life to get you going in the right direction.
Utilize that boost of energy at the beginning to set these up and once they are going, it is much easier to maintain.
Make Obligations That You Can’t Back Out Of
I like to make promises I can’t break.
When you need to go to the gym, tell Johnny you’ll be there to show him around. Then you have to go because you’re going to help someone else, not just yourself.
Tell everyone what you’re doing and post your daily workouts where your friends and loved ones can see. Sometimes it is too embarrassing to post that you were tired. That one has always kept me going. My little BS excuses may work in my own mind, but when I put them down where others can write them, the scales don’t work the same way.
Where personal willpower may fail, your instinctive preservation of reputation may save you. That is part of the reason that a personal trainer works. It is because you have an appointment. If you don’t show, you pay a penalty (your training fees) and you let someone else down.
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Trip Yourself Up
Just like you carefully disarmed landmines that threatened to take you off track, you’ve got to set some that will hurt when you step off course.
Let’s make it clear here: You are trying to walk along a path and this path is laid out and defined before you. We did that when we worked out a program for you.
Now you’re just going to set some landmines along the side so that if you decide to stray, it hurts you. However much is up to you.
If you always go to a nice dinner with your co-workers on Thursdays with tie and jacket where you overeat and drink, screw it up for yourself. Leave your jacket and tie at home.
If someone puts a doughnut on your desk, immediately throw it in your trash. You won’t want to go touching it and you won’t have to tell the person not to do that. He’ll never waste a doughnut on you again.
If a fellow employee buys junk food to “eat in” for lunch on a Friday, walk out of the room and go get a smoothie. If they left you something, throw it directly in the trash.
These are decisions that you can’t unmake once you’ve made them. Give your wife the car and have her pick you up from work. Tell her to hide the junk food or you’ll trash it if you see it. She wants you to be skinny, too. So do your co-workers.
There is a book that I recently read that puts this concept, and many others, in very clear terms. After I read it, I thought “This should have been required reading for my clients from day 1.”
But I just didn’t know about the book. It is called Atomic Habits and it is by James Clear. If you are trying to change your habits, have a look at it. I read a lot of books and this is one of the few that I would broadly recommend:
We are capable of big changes in our lives. Some people attribute it to themselves, others the Lord, and others just let things happen.
I have learned that there is no one reason why we do well or do bad. But when things are planned out and you’re around the right people, goals are achieved 100% of the time.
There is no X-factor that no one knows about. If you get discouraged it may be because someone said something to you that made you feel weak. The only mystery here is finding out where your drive ran out. There’s usually a naysayer around there.
As a fitness trainer, people have paid me to help them reach their goals.
I have encountered a lot of barriers and excuses. I’ve called in husbands and wives to have a chat with them and get them involved. We’ve worked through barriers and I’ve helped make things happen that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.
Please don’t think that your health, your weight or things like this are attributed to whether or not Mars is in retrograde.
Mountains can be moved. Most people just don’t even try.