“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever been stopped by the start? Excited about starting a new diet and workout regimen only to stall out immediately?

It happens. Every year a new crop of transfers and freshmen come to me with their excitement about lifting. They speak about their love of lifting, how they have certain goals, and things of that nature. Coming to realize after a few years is not to get caught up in the initial meeting, rather to monitor them 3 months from then when the training is difficult.

It’s easy to be excited at the start. For others without a coach, it’s easy to get stopped by the start. Finishing up the book Willpower, a few things are becoming apparent.

First, pre-commit to staying on task. Make working out an automatic process. It can be set by a certain time in the day like first thing in the morning, noon hour, or 30 minutes after work. Whatever it is, pre-commit to it, write the time down, and have a back up plan.

Second, monitor yourself or employ friends to help. In the book Willpower, a study was referenced about checking one’s weight each day. They found the group monitoring their weight each day (hopping on a scale) proved better than once a week. For this articles purpose, having a large, visible poster board/white board where you spend most of your time gives you this monitoring effect. Jerry Seinfeld uses it for writing. I’ve employed it for my rituals and routines. The satisfaction from making a red X in the box for completing the task is amazing. It’s extrinsically motivating as well. Even for us intrinsically motivated people, a little motivation outside ourselves is important to take advantage of.

Third, now this isn’t from the book necessarily – simply DO IT. I have a challenge for you. Simply record how many times an excuse pops into your head and/or you speak an excuse to someone else. Now, after the day tally up your total excuses. You may be amazed at how many you ended the day with. I challenge you to severely limit your excuses and change your language. Changing your language – how you talk to yourself and other – may be one of the most important things you can do. I started limiting myself with the word can’t after reading an article. I’ve replaced it with “not able to” or “not willing to” because those are the only appropriate responses. I CAN do it given the time. Some things are not feasible at the current time, however.

Lastly, write down your WHY. Why do you want this? Why do you want to change? Without a why, there is no how. Without a why, our ventures fizzle out. We don’t stick to things when we don’t have a why. Think about when your boss, parent, or anyone else told you to do something that you didn’t understand without a WHY. Not very convincing to do that thing without a why is it? Develop your why. Write it down. Put it next to your poster board/white board to re-focus you on the days you feel like giving up and “taking a day off.” And if you do take a day off (I’ve done it), get RIGHT back on the horse. Don’t let it slip into two and three days because eventually it will be two weeks and you’ll be wondering how in the hell you got there.

We are all meant to shine. But we must start from the bottom and work our way up. Because it’s not about where you start, it’s where you finish. The journey is more beautiful than the result. Becoming the best you starts with the first step. It’s within ALL of us.

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