Motivation, while useful, is fleeting in nature. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look fit in a bathing suit, beautiful in your wedding dress, or impress past classmates at your high-school reunion. But what do you think will happen after your wedding, reunion, or vacation? You’ll probably find yourself complaining about how hard it is to “stay motivated” (and end up right back where you started). If you want to remove yourself from the vicious cycle of Yo-Yo weight-gain, then you need to address your mindset and social environment. Below are five reasons why your fitness success depends on it.
1. Fitness success requires you to exercise when there’s not an urgent reason to do it.
It is a lot easier to motivate yourself to exercise when you have a big event to look forward to. If you’re taking a cruise to a tropical destination next month, then you’ll probably feel compelled to exercise. Nothing awakens our vanity like the thought of being scantily clad in front of other people. But it is silly to worry about one week out of the year when a more consistent fitness plan would help you feel confident every day! It’s okay to use your vain feelings as a springboard that launches you into an exercise routine, but please remember that there’s a lot more to exercise than weight-loss.
2. Fitness success requires you to perform a brutally honest assessment of your social situation.
You might be emotionally attached to toxic people who make you feel helpless and trapped. That could be a friend who encourages you to have another drink, even though they know you shouldn’t; a co-worker who makes you feel guilty for not eating a slice of pie, even though they know you’re trying to make healthier decisions; or an abusive partner who says you’ll always be fat, no matter what you do. Consider the people you call friends and ask yourself, “Are they positive influences who inspire me to be better, or are they negative influences who damage my esteem?” As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If a person doesn’t value you enough to help you succeed, don’t be afraid to let them go.
3. Fitness success requires you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Not many people like to push themselves so hard that they leave the gym feeling sweaty, stinky, and sore. This isn’t to say exercise can’t be fun, but training with the insanity of a small child won’t make you strong and powerful. Riddle me this: how much progress do you think we would have made as a society if people only did things that made them feel comfortable? I doubt the moon landing or equal rights movement would have ever happened; and you probably wouldn’t be reading this article, since no one would have been crazy enough to invent the Internet. The next time you find yourself slacking, remind yourself that pursuing comfort can quickly lead to complacency.
4. Fitness success requires you to plow forward despite stress and set-backs.
If you eat something you shouldn’t, don’t get upset about it. Calling yourself a “failure” or “fatty” for making a bad decision isn’t a good way to increase compliance. It would be like screaming at a baby for having an accident and expecting it to magically potty-train itself. Excuses can’t be cut away with harsh words or judgment. See them as clues that might point you in the direction of issues you need to address. The common excuse of “I’m too busy,” for example, might indicate that you’ve accepted too many commitments and need to reconsider your priorities. Saying “yes” to every request you receive could make you feel overwhelmed in a hurry. Say “no” more often.
5. Fitness success requires you to be patient with the process.
No one can make any promises about how quickly you might lose weight. Your rate of weight loss will be just as unique as your genetic makeup. Things like your diet, activity level, sleep quality, medical conditions, prescriptions, and amount of stress all influence your metabolic rate. If you find yourself stuck at a certain weight, don’t get frustrated. You might have to work through a lot of variables before you identify your limiting factor. Stop looking at the pursuit of fitness as if it is a short-term “phase” of your life. Instead, see it as a life-long ambition that has no time-limit.
About the Author
Daniel Wallen is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of the Wallen Way. He is a personal trainer, Lifehack contributor, and author of, “The Busy Woman’s Guide to Getting Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous.”