I often get questions about what the best things are to do, or what the “short cut” is, or how to make changes by doing as little as possible. My normal response is this: “There is no magic.”
In our search for magic, we often miss out on the process. We have to remember that what we learn as we go through the journey is what really enhances us the most. How often have you gotten the so-called “quick fix,” just to be disappointed in the outcome, or have the results be short-lived, putting you right back where you started or worse off? If nothing else, you’re out your hard-earned money. Even after all of this, we are somehow still drawn to the promise of instant gratification.
I don’t say any of this to discourage you, but to say that finding a system to work in will always be more productive than the hype of the quick fix.
In our quest for the next shiny thing, I think we often miss the fact that we didn’t get where we are overnight, so the thought that there is a short cut may not be accurate. Most of the time, it’s making better decisions on a daily basis that ultimately gives us success—things that we can do forever.
The decisions can’t be random, though. They need to be goal-driven. Let’s say you want to lose twenty pounds. What kind of decisions would you have to make about food, drinks, sleep, and exercise to get to your goal and be able to keep those twenty pounds off forever? You will quickly recognize that it’s your lifestyle that you will need to make changes to. Lasting change happens with incremental changes, like drinking your body weight in ounces of water daily, and having protein and something green in every meal. It’s your consistency that really makes change happen, just as our consistency in our current lifestyle and choices have gotten us where we currently are.
So with your goals in mind, ask yourself why you want to achieve them—maybe it’s “I want to be here to see my kid or grandkid grow up,” or “I want to be able to do work in the yard and around the house,” or “I want to be able to live independently as long as possible. Having your own compelling reason why is the key. Often, the “ought to’s” and the “I should’s” don’t really happen. But we almost always make our “must’s” happen. Make sure you know WHY you’ve set your goals. Your “why” has to be a strong driver for you to succeed so that whenever you feel like you don’t want to do a workout, or you don’t want to eat correctly, or when you don’t feel like limiting your drinks, it reinforces your resolve to make good decisions.
Don’t substitute short-term gratification for long-term results. If you have made good goals—short-term goals that incrementally build towards your long-term goals—then you can enjoy “instant gratification” each time that you achieve one of your short-term goals. The investment you make in your fitness happens one day at a time and it compounds as you go. Don’t cheat yourself by choosing the hype of instant gratification, but instead choose a systematic approach that will give you long-term gratification and let you live life on your own terms.
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