I’ve been training consistently for close to ten years now, and since lack of consistency is a common downfall for would-be fit people, I put together a list of some simple tricks that have helped me over the years. Hope they help!
1. Know your priorities.
This means that if I were to ask you what your top 5 priorities are in your life right now, they should be on the tip of your tongue. So let’s say your priorities are family, living a life you’re proud of, health, experiencing beauty and financial advancement; obviously all these things are interrelated and complex, but just knowing that these things are the most important things in your life should make the decision between exercise and Netflix easier.
2. Be brutally honest with yourself.
Now that you have your priorities in order, you might find yourself making up lame excuses not to focus on one thing for the sake of another. For example, it might be Thanksgiving, which is generally a time spent with family, so you tell yourself that because family is a priority you’re not going to work out today. Ten seconds of honest introspection should be all it takes to figure out that you’re making an excuse and in reality, you have plenty of time for both. Additionally, if your family cares about your well-being, they should be very happy for you to take one hour out of the day to take care this thing that is important to you.
3. Budget your time.
If you’ve been brutally honest with yourself and time still seems to be getting in the way, make yourself time budget. Make a list of everything you want to do with your day and how much time you need for each thing. Be realistic and include things like social media time, playing with your dog etc. This should only take ten to fifteen minutes, and you’ll most likely find that even after including a whole bunch of things that aren’t on your top five list of priorities, you have plenty of time left over for working out.
4. Know how to identify and overcome familiar excuses.
Most of the time the excuses we make start with some kind of discomfort like anxiety or tiredness, and then we follow that up with a justification of some kind, like “I worked out this week already”, “it’s my birthday” or some other non-sense. Remember though, that this justification came after that initial discomfort, and therefore the real reason you’re not doing your workout is because of that initial discomfort, like anxiety or tiredness. It’s harder to accept anxiety and tiredness as legitimate reasons not to do something important, which is why you started coming up with justifications in the first place. Going forward, recognize justifications as a cover-up for fear and tiredness, and make a commitment to yourself to never accept those things as legitimate reasons not to do something you’ve determined is important.
5. Visualize success.
Don’t forget about what made you fall in love with this goal in the first place. Even in the short term, studies have shown that just thinking about yourself succeeding at a certain action, like a bench press for example, literally primes your muscles to complete the task at hand. Conversely, thinking about failure literally primes you for failure. In more general terms though, it’s helpful to me to have a concept in my mind of the type of person I would like to be. I want to be someone who carries his burdens with grace. I want to be someone who attacks challenges that confront me, not someone who is dragged through them kicking and screaming.
6. Stop saying “I can’t”
“I can’t” is a cop out. We say it because it absolves us of responsibility. We can forgive ourselves for not doing something that we “can’t” do, but we have to take responsibility for things we’ve decided we won’t do. I can already hear you stubborn ones out there saying “but sometimes I really, really can’t!” Technically, occasionally, that’s true, but
7. Ask yourself this: If your life depended on it, could you do it?
I bet 99 times out of 100 the answer would be yes. That means you nay-sayers are 99% full of shit. So ask yourself, if your life depended on it, could you lose weight? If your life depended on it, could you stay 100% consistent with your diet? Could you train every day, quit being late, read every day, ask somebody out, learn to play the tuba, whatever?? Of course you could! That means that all of those things are well within your potential to achieve. Stop squandering your potential for the sake of Netflix, soggy french-fries and 20 minutes of extra sleep in the morning.
8. Do things now.
Action trumps pondering. Be a juggernaut. Yes, you’ll make a few more mistakes, but you’ll also get a lot more done. Plus, that grand scheme you just spent half your day/month/life cooking up probably isn’t going to go according to plan anyway. Things don’t get easier when you wait longer to do them. Just start!