What’s slower the week between Christmas and New Year’s or the last few weeks of August? No, this isn’t a trick question.
I guess it depends on what you do for a living.
No doubt though: The last few weeks of August are very low key for some. If you’re in that camp…enjoy! It’s important to rest and recharge our batteries.
In fact, if you’re on vacation…stop reading.
If you’re home sweet home…this post is for you.
I want to share with you a practice I started several years ago that has helped me and countless others hit the ground running come the other ‘New Year’ — September.
September is the other January for many people as parents, students and kids settle back into another school year filled with lots of hope, promise and potential. The old, “This school year I will…”
BTW: Come this September my son is starting pre-pre school! So proud!
Anyway, in Malcolm Gladwell’s book the Tipping Point he brought to light the idea of the broken window theory (although it’s been around since the early ’80′s). The broken window theory is fascinating, and I believe it applies so much to our health and fitness.
It suggests that people on streets with lots of broken windows, graffiti, garbage, etc., are more likely to throw trash on the street, graffiti the walls, and overall have much less respect for the property on that street than if it were gleaming.
Think about it this way…
When you’re in a sparkling bathroom you’re way more likely to keep it that way, right?
When former Mayor Giuliani first become mayor of New York City, he went after the small infringements like meter skipping for subways, graffiti, and getting rid of the guys that washed car windows whether you asked them to or not.
He felt that if you attack the small nuances, the serious ones like assault, rape and murder would diminish.
He was right.
I’ve applied this concept to my life.
I find that:
When my office is messy, I’m not nearly as productive, organized and on point.
When my kitchen is messy, I tend to order in food more.
When my laundry is piling up, I’m less likely to exercise because I don’t have any clothes to wear.
When I don’t have healthy food stocked up, I’m more likely to eat unhealthy.
I try very hard to not let the small things build up.
Seems like common sense but it’s certainly not common practice, and it can make a big difference.
Like —-> spending just five minutes every night cleaning and organizing, dealing with unread and undone emails/tasks, and doing laundry every week, as opposed to letting it build up.
THE PROBLEM WITH LETTING THINGS BUILD UP…
Is that they become DAUNTING! As tempting as it is to say, “Alright, I’ll do everything once…”, it’s much more effective and way less daunting to do a little every day.
I find that when I stay on top of these small but impactful tasks, it allows me to do everything better. It makes staying consistent with my diet and exercise a little bit easier.
So, if you’re unsure of what to do the rest of the month, why not spend some time cleaning and organizing. This way, come the “New Year” we can hit the ground running.
-Are there any lingering tasks that you keep putting off?
-Is there any physical clutter (messy desk, closet, kitchen, etc.)?
-Do you have any online clutter (unread emails, invites, etc.,)?
Dealing with these small things can make a big difference. It allows us to start the school year off fresh with a clear head.
I hope you decide to try it out. And before you discount the simplicity of it …TRY IT! Then see how you feel.
This post is about what it takes to get the body you want. It’s also about why most people never do get the body they want.
The key to getting the body you want (and anything) is…persistence.
What is persistence?
Persistence is having the same goal over and over and over and over. In other words, it’s wanting the same thing over and over and over and over.
The challenge with weight loss is that it’s never about a hammer hitting plate glass.
It’s always about the accrued power of thousands of meals. Meals that accrue, morsel by morsel until our body is ready to change, starting a downward trend.
The first few pounds are very exciting, of course. Everyone lines up to cheer. (Our friends, loved ones, coworkers, Facebook friends, etc., etc., etc.,)
The pounds after that, though, are often lonely. (Everyone is great at STARTING diets…it’s the keeping on going. That’s the hard part. This is partially why we see so many people START diet after diet.)
Everyone has long left the building or the cheering section and moved on to celebrate some other first few pounds.
[This is also one of the reasons why I believe in the MBT program so much. We're with you every step of the way from start to finish - through the good and not so good - through the exciting and not so exciting.]
And so the pounds after the first few pounds, oftentimes get questioned by ourselves the most.
“Am I still working on this?” “Do I really want to lose the weight?” “Is this that important to me?” “Is this really worth it?”
These thoughts are coming straight from our short term, irrational mind.
Remember: in the battle between our short term, irrational mind VS our long term, rational mind, the job of the irrational mind is to reduce the amount of discomfort we face as much as possible. Why? Our short term/irrational mind cares about one thing and one thing only: NOW!
This is the battle we all face: Balancing living for today versus living for tomorrow.
Let’s talk about three ways to get what we want in life:
1. Actually, get what we want! (“Wow, that was so insightful Adam!”)
2. Or, and this is what most people do, change what we want. (And this is exactly why most people never get what they want!)
We change what we want because we realize that getting what we want isn’t so easy. We realize it takes a combo of consistency + patience + embracing discomfort + compromise + a willingness to be vulnerable among other things.
So we rationalize…
“Eh, I don’t care about my body. He/she should love me for who I am!”
“Screw it, I rather enjoy my life now and eat whatever I want than be a miserable fit person!”
“I’ll worry about my health and fitness later. I’m too busy!” (It’s scary how often we say this to ourselves. “Success” at the expense of our health and fitness isn’t really success, is it?)
I can go on and on. We all do this.
Obstacles and challenges are those annoying things that appear when we lose sight of our goals.
3. It turns out, the most effective way to get what we want – is to keep having the same goal over and over and over. To keep wanting the same thing over and over.
It’s key that we stay focused on all the benefits of being healthier and more fit. It’s key that we focus on the beautiful omelets we’re making rather than the broken eggs.
Our desire to be healthy and fit doesn’t go away. It either gets realized or rationalized. Rationalizing them away is “easier” but it doesn’t lead to satisfaction and fulfillment.
We all know what we really want. Knowing that our short term / irrational mind is going to chime in every now and then to try to convince us otherwise helps us to call it what it is — “Oh there’s the discomfort again!” — and laugh at it like this (video, safe for work), and keep on keeping on.
P.S. Keep on keeping on is a lot easier said than done. That’s where the MBT program comes into play. There’s a reason why we’ve been able to help so many people get the body they want since 2008. Our program works or you get your money back. It’s that simple. I’ve made it completely risk free for you to give us a shot. What are you waiting for?
One day, walking through the wilderness, a man stumbled upon a sleeping tiger. As he tried to sneak past, the tiger awoke and began to chase the man. The man took flight, running as fast as he could until finding himself at the edge of a high cliff.
Desperate to save himself, the man climbed down a vine and dangled over the jagged precipice.
As he hung there, two mice, one white and one black, appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing on the vine.
Suddenly, the man noticed on the vine a plump wild strawberry. He plucked it and popped it in his mouth. It was incredibly delicious!
What if the tiger represented an intense craving or urge?
What if the mice represented two people who offered us tempting food in the middle of a craving?
What if the strawberry represented us completely distracting ourselves from the temptations at hand?
What would your ‘strawberry’ be?
10 ideas to get you started:
-Go for a walk
-Read a fun / inspiring article
-Watch a funny / inspiring video
-Listen to something fun / enjoyable / inspiring
-Do something you’re passionate about
-Text/email your Body Tutor
-Play a game on your phone / computer
-Write a thank you card / email to someone special
-Plan something fun
Let’s create a great weekend!
In my last post, I mentioned that sometimes we just don’t feel like it. (Whatever we want “it” to mean — eating right, exercising, embracing the discomfort, etc.)
Most people act because of the way they feel…
They feel tired or lazy or unmotivated so they act that way by lounging around and watching TV. This perpetuates those feelings.
But, if we ACT energized by moving around a bit (even just walking!) we’ll wind up feeling that way.
Most people act because of the way they feel. However, we actually feel because of the way we act.
Read that again. I’ll wait…
Here’s the challenge:
When I feel energized and focused, it’s obviously much easier to, say, exercise and eat right. When it feels easy…it’s, well, easy!
Of course, it doesn’t always feel easy. (This is why having daily and personal accountability + daily support from an expert coach makes all the difference. This is why we’re able to guarantee your results.)
When it doesn’t feel easy, we want to focus on small wins. Truly.
Don’t feel like exercising? Commit to walking for just five minutes. The hardest part about exercising is starting. Once we start, momentum almost always takes over.
Feel like eating totally indulgently? Commit to eating something — anything — healthfully first. THEN see how we feel. (It works. The reason why we don’t always do this is because we’re using food as an escape. And we don’t want to give up that escape. We’ll talk more about this another time.)
The idea is baby steps, though. Baby steps lead to small wins. And the only way to create big wins is by creating lots of small wins.
A good question to ask ourselves when we’re not in the mood to do anything our ideal self would want us to do: What’s the smallest possible step I can take right now?
Here are some ideas:
1. No desire to get going in the morning? Make our bed.
2. No desire to eat breakfast? Drink a glass of water.
3. No desire to do any work? Do the smallest possible task.
4. No desire to exercise? Walk for five minutes. Heck, walk in place while watching TV.
5. No desire to eat healthfully? Eat a carrot then see how we feel.
6. No desire to submit our daily report? Submit a blank one!
7. No desire to respond to our s/o or kid(s) in the way our ideal self would want us to? Pause…take a deep breath.
8. No desire to get out of our bad mood aka we want a pity party? Watch a funny video on YouTube.
9. No desire to make a healthy meal? Order in a healthy meal.
10. No desire to focus on any of the good in our life? Focus on just one thing we’re grateful for.
You get the point, right?
Another way to look at it…
Fitness is a decision.
Here’s the kicker: It’s a decision we make every day. And sometimes, we’re not in the mood for it.
But what’s “it”?
Why do we need to be in the mood for something to do the work?
And yes, it’s work.
Existing isn’t work. But living? That’s work.
Thriving? That’s a lot of work. (But it’s sure as heck worth it!)
It’s called work because it’s difficult. Not because we need to be in the mood for it.
Very few people wake up each day in the mood to eat healthfully or in the mood to exercise. (Again, this is why having daily and personal accountability + daily support from an expert coach is key. We’re with you every single day through the ups and downs. Otherwise, it’s just too easy to say, “Ah, I’ll start again tomorrow.”)
Besides, most of the world’s work is done by people who didn’t feeling like getting out of bed in the morning…
People aren’t usually in the mood to embrace the discomfort, or in the mood to be brutally honest with themselves which can be quite uncomfortable too.
Of course, what we’re in the mood for is irrelevant to how our body performs or how we exist, look, live or thrive.
Let’s not pay so much attention to what we’re in the mood for. Let’s pay attention to the work.
Then when we’re thriving, we’ll be in the mood to continue thriving.
It’s easy to eat well when you’re feeling it. But what about all the days you’re not? Success happens when you don’t feel like being successful. That’s where MBT comes into play. This is why we get results we do. This is why we can guarantee your results, or your money back. What are you waiting for?
Tara, a client, writes me this email today:
“Adam, I’m really upset I gained two pounds this week. I know why I did but it’s still very frustrating! Sometimes, I feel like what’s the point? Ugh it’s so frustrating! Any insight? You usually give such good advice. I’m not quitting although I usually would at this point. Just so you know, this is the only program that has kept me going. (I know that’s the only way to get the results I want!)”
Let’s help Tara out…
She feels that her efforts aren’t paying off even though she wasn’t at home, wasn’t reporting, and was in an environment loaded with temptations.
Oh and she’s already lost 30 pounds.
But, the scale, for some reason, has a lot of power over us – unless we change the way we view it…
Let’s talk about chicken and eggs. Actually, ya know, I’ve always wondered, what comes first, the chicken or the egg?
It seems like we have our own chicken or the egg debate here though.
What came first, the results or the effort?
Many of us are obsessed with only the results. We work our tails off only for results. We make healthy choices only for results. We exercise for an extra five minutes only for results. Everything we do is only for the results.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m VERY results oriented.
However, when the results don’t happen when we expect or want them to occur, the very first thing most people want to change is the amount of effort they put forth.
However, the amount of effort we put forth absolutely has a direct impact on the results we’ll see and feel.
When we see results we become more motivated, and are willing to put forth more effort.
Does this mean we should follow a diet that will give us results as quickly as possible?
No, I’ve tested this many times. If the plan isn’t sustainable, eventually, we’ll just abandon it altogether. This is why people who lose weight with extreme diets almost always gain it all back (and then some). I couldn’t be less interested in helping people lose weight only to gain it all back.
The good stuff might take a little longer — but it sticks. How many people do you know who ate only grapefruits, or cookies or shakes or whatever crazy thing to lose weight, kept it off? The more rigid the plan is – the more likely we are to revert back to our old ways of eating.
It’s gotta be a way of life. I know you know this already.
Results then can either make or break the effort dial. If we see results, we’ll turn up the dial. If we don’t see results when we want to, the first thing we want to do is turn down the effort dial.
Here is what I can assure you of:
Your body and my body never lie. We can think we’re fooling ourselves. We can think we’re fooling our tutor.
But like every basket counts toward the final score in a basketball game, whether it’s scored in the first 25 seconds of the game or the last 25 – every thing we eat counts — even if no one sees it. Our body never lies.
Individually, each meal and snack we eat might not seem like they matter much but collectively they matter IMMENSELY. This is about the accrued power of thousands of meals and hundreds of workouts.
The amount of effort we put forth really does matter.
Whether it’s exercising for an extra five minutes or pushing through an intense moment of discomfort when we have a craving — every feeling of fatigue, and every period of discomfort we push through, really and truly makes a difference.
Results will happen. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.
Our body has no choice but to work its magic when we’re eating right and exercising *consistently*!
Let’s do a quick experiment.
Raise your hand in the air.
(C’mon. Just do it!)
Now raise it one inch higher.
We can always push ourselves a little more.
If we want results quicker, we have to turn up the effort dial. In 99% of the cases I’ve seen, that’s the case.
Very rarely is it about anything else.
We can’t control exactly how our body responds to certain things but we can control the amount of effort we put forth.
It’s impossible to lose weight week after week. Plateaus happen, our body adjusts, etc.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
[BTW: It's only a plateau if you're very consistent. Too often people who aren't consistent at all think they're plateauing.]
The question isn’t if we’ll have a week or two without weight loss. The real question is how are we going to respond once we do?
Are we going to turn up the effort dial or turn it down?
It’s much easier to get through these weeks, when we focus on how great we’re feeling. Let’s not let a number dictate our mood. Besides, there are other ways to measure progress…
How our clothes look on us, how we look without clothes, how we’re able to move, etc. The scale is just one measure of progress.
Besides, if someone said we could have our dream body but weigh 500 pounds, we wouldn’t care. What we’re really after is how we feel and look. What we’re really after is FAT loss…not necessarily weight loss.
What keeps me going, what keeps me believing in what we do so much, is this simple but very powerful fact:
No matter how much I enjoy eating junk food, and believe me I do! I have never felt better from eating poorly and not exercising than I have from eating well and exercising.
In other words, I feel better – heck I feel amazing – on the days that I eat well and exercise. So much better than I do on the days I don’t. That’s the REAL reward.
It’s the difference between a great day and a not so great day.
And if we truly focus on feeling as good as we can by our actions (eating right and exercising) – our body will work its magic the way we want it to, and weight loss becomes a wonderful side effect!
Just stop playing the chicken or the egg game!
But certainly feel free to eat both of them.
“In baseball, my theory is to strive for consistency, not to worry about the numbers. If you dwell on statistics you get shortsighted, if you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end.” – Tom Seaver
P.S. I understand how challenging it is to consistently put forth effort. Sometimes, we just don’t feel like it. This is exactly why most people start and stop all kinds of diets! It’s not easy. But it’s doable if we have a system of support and accountability in place. We’re here for you!
P.P.S. Effort can be disguised as doing something our “old self” wouldn’t do. Usually take the elevator? Take the stairs. Usually drink soda with dinner? Drink water. Usually get a cookie with coffee in the afternoon? Have some fruit instead and/or go for a walk. Every bit of effort we put forth adds up. Effort when it comes to our fitness never, ever, fails.