I always wanted a six pack.
Each new year would bring about this new goal with a fresh state of mind. Being fit, feeling fit, and most importantly, looking fit. These would now be the focus…. but mostly looking fit. And it felt good. It feels good making these promises and feeling like you’ve got so much to look forward to, and in 12 months time you’d be sitting here taking selfies of your chiselled mid section. These thoughts are comforting but dangerously unproductive.
Over the years I’ve seen many people like me fail, and many others succeed. Being fascinated with human behaviour and drive, I’ve come to realise some common habits with those who are successful when it comes to their fitness ‘goals.’
Here are my tips about setting your new years health resolutions:
1. Forget about your goal, for now.
The people who’ve had success in their health and fitness don’t need to have set goals. They don’t operate on a ‘losing 10kg in 10 weeks’ mantra. Why? They probably don’t know. I think they’re caught up with the flow of things to get so fixated by such superficial goals. They train because it feels good, and if they happen to achieve their goal then cool, but it won’t let it define them. So, before you find your goal, find what makes you feel good.
2. Do it because you want to.
Following on from point one, if you actually enjoy what you’re doing, then motivation won’t be an issue. You will do it because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to – this is very powerful.
3. Make it a habit.
Motivation is overrated. Habit is underrated. We’re all motivated, but we often fall short of our goals because we don’t have deeply rooted habits to rely on. Habits are like strong trees and they will stay strong even when we feel a rush of wind and don’t want to go to the gym.
4. Join a club/team/group:
If you’re serious about getting fit and healthy, then you need to be hanging around fit and healthy humans. We’ve all heard the “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with” line and this couldn’t be more relevant than with fitness. In joining a group, you’re lifting yourself to a higher level, and sponging off the energy created by your crew.
5. Prioritise Health over abs.
Over anything else, prioritising your health over looking better naked. Don’t just buy a gym membership and a bucket of creatine, but commit to living a healthier life; better eating, a meditation practice, more time in nature, more fulfilling relationships. These will all complement each other, lead to better habits everywhere, and may just get you those abs.
What to do now:
The Taoist philosophy of Wu Wei promotes “non – doing.” That is, they believe in “natural action” without being forced or pushed against will. Does this mean not sweating during a workout? No, but it does mean choosing activities that align with your nature. Things that feel right, and things that you look forward to each time you encounter them.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu.