Welcome to Day Eight!
Monday, the start of another week in which you’re going to crush it!
This challenge ends on Wednesday, so after then there won’t be any more daily content – but I will have another way for you to continue getting help from me, but in a more hands on, tailored way where I can help YOU specifically! I’ll tell you more in the coming days.
Today’s content is about motivation and discipline. How can you stay motivated when it’s hard to keep things going? Read on…
About Motivation and Discipline
At this stage, your motivation is probably still extrinsic.
That means there is some sort of external reason that is motivating you to continue working out eat well.
This could be something like a holiday, a wedding, your family telling you you need to do this, etc.
Until working out and eating well become intrinsically motivating, you are at risk of falling out of the routine of it and stopping altogether.
When something is intrinsically motivating, you are motivated to do it purely for the enjoyment of doing that thing.
Once you reach that point, doing it is the motivation itself. Not doing it makes you feel strange, like you’re not being true to yourself – so you can’t stay away.
THAT is where you need to get to.
Right now, you need to exercise willpower and discipline to stay the course. It won’t always be like that. It will get easier. By exercising discipline, you improve your willpower. Right now, it’s hard, but in future it will be easier.
What can you do to set yourself and your environment up so that it pushes you to the right decision?
Some people have to throw all junk food out of their house.
Others have to brush their teeth immediately after dinner, so the idea of eating something sweet is unappealing.
Some have to impose rules like “I only eat between 12pm and 6pm”.
Others “close” their kitchens for the night after they’ve made dinner. Wash all the dishes, clean all the surfaces, sweep the floors, turn out the lights.
Some set out their workout clothes and shoes outside their bedroom door the night before, along with their bag for the gym, so they have to step over it when they get up the next morning.
Do You Have Any Accountability?
What are the consequences if you don’t stay on track?
Does anyone care?
If the only one holding you accountable is YOU, then you’re less likely to stay the course.
Think about jobs you’ve had. Would you have actually done anywhere near as much of the work in as much of the time if your boss or clients weren’t expecting anything of you, didn’t set deadlines for actions, never checked if you’d done it and didn’t care?
You’d have taken it easy, for sure!
When someone is expecting something from you, you don’t want to let them down. This is accountability. Only being accountable to yourself requires a huge amount of discipline and there are no consequences if you let yourself down.
Simple accountability such as “my coach will be disappointed in me” or “the money I’ve invested in this process will be a waste” can be POWERFUL at keeping you on track.
BUT if you’re allowing someone else to hold you accountable they need to be the right choice. The wrong choice won’t hold you accountable and they will actually want you to fail. You might be surprised to learn that some of the people who are supposed to care about you the most will be the most negative about your new healthier lifestyle changes.
My Story With Negativity
When I first started taking my fitness more seriously, I went pretty drastic from the get-go.
I was all-in, fully sold on the paleo diet. The idea of this diet is that you shouldn’t eat anything that paleolithic hunter gatherer humans wouldn’t have been able to eat.
That’s a topic I could talk about at length, but the long story short is I don’t do that anymore, and haven’t done for about 5 years. I don’t recommend it to other people, but if they want to, that’s their choice.
It basically means you have to buy foods in, or close to, their original form. Things that have just been killed and cut up, or grown and plucked from the earth. Nothing else done to them. Not processed in any way. No sauces added, etc.
You can imagine this led to some interesting conversations with family and friends. I would turn down foods at family events, saying I’d already eaten. I’d be reluctant to go out for meals or drinks with friends/colleagues.
People would call me “boring”, say things like “oh come on, live a little!” and “oh, Rob won’t want to come, he’s probably going to the gym!”
I invited a lot of this. The paleo diet is such a drastic lifestyle change that would be alien to pretty much everybody.
But the experience is pretty much the same for anyone taking steps to improve themselves, even with a less drastic approach.
Why do people feel the need to be negative?
You need to remember that when people are negative towards you for something you’re doing that is positive, it’s not about you, it’s about them.
- They don’t like change and they feel scared.
- They’re worried that you are changing.
- They’re worried the new version of you won’t share any values with them anymore.
- They want you to stay how you are, even if that is a less healthy version. At least then they know where they stand with you and you are the same predictable person you have always been.
- They are worried your relationship with them will change. You will value different things, they won’t know how to interact with you, and you won’t want to hang out with them anymore.
So what they’ll do is try to paint your new diet, the gym and your healthier habits in a negative light, using words like “boring”. At the same time, they’ll cling to you and try to drag you back to their familiar habits and remind you how fun those things are.
It Gets Worse!
When they can SEE the results you’re getting, they’ll start saying things like:
- “I’m worried about you…”
- “You’re taking it too far”
- “You should stop now…”
Again, they’re scared for them. You’re quite literally becoming a different person.
There may also be jealousy.
They may have had their own failed attempts and on some level they don’t want to see you succeed. It only compounds their own failure.
What Can You Do?
- Don’t rise to it or respond aggressively.
- Resist the urge to thrown a negative comment back in their direction. “You know you really ought to look after yourself, too” isn’t helpful.
- Don’t succumb to the pressure and eat a load of stuff you didn’t really want to or drink a gallon of alcohol that you’ll regret.
- Remember they’re just worried you will reject them when you’ve completed your transformation to “fully fledged healthy person”. So just remember they’re acting this way because they’re scared of losing you!
- If you have to remind people that it’s your choice what you eat and drink just say something simple like “just trying to be healthier” and make sure you keep it light-hearted. You can follow it up with “Don’t worry, we can still be friends even if we don’t eat the same!”
- Another thing you can say is “I totally understand not everyone wants to do what I’m doing. It’s fine for us to have different ideals in this area, and my choice isn’t a condemnation of yours,
- If all else fails, just smile, nod and ignore (to be honest, you’ll probably have to do this with some people).
Is Your Relationship with these People Actually Based on Anything Worthwhile?
If people won’t stop, you have to question whether them wanting to spend time with you was based on you as a person, or because you validated their unhealthy habits.
Are alcohol, football and pizza, going out raving, hitting casinos, strip-clubs etc. the only things you connect over? If that’s the case, then you have to question whether you actually have a genuine relationship with them. Your relationship probably isn’t based on anything deeper than those things.
If they’re negative towards you for improving yourself too, then it’s really no loss to spend less time with these people.
Do these people like you for you? Or do they like you because you make them feel better about doing things which are unhealthy?
Set yourself up to win. Reflect on the challenge so far and note the things that sent you off track. Was it certain situations? Were there certain triggers? Did you lose motivation at certain times?
Try some of the above tips or invent your own systems and strategies to keep you on track, based on where you’ve been going wrong. Most decisions we make are actually not really decisions, they’re habits. You can avoid making the wrong decisions by controlling your environment a little more. Make it easier to choose the right option and win, and harder to choose the wrong option and lose.
Get some accountability: Tell someone about what you’re doing. Tell them you’re making a lifestyle change to eat better and work out. Get them to check in on you, or tell them you’re going to check in every Sunday with your actions, wins and struggles that week. If you really struggle, then put something on the line. Make a bet with somebody. If you don’t follow through, you’ll give them money.
This is the extra value a coach provides. Your coach invests time building you a plan. They check in on you regularly. Do you want to ignore their check-ins? Do you want to reply and say you’ve not done any of the workouts this week? Want to waste their time and the money you’ve invested in the process? No you don’t, so you’re more motivated to execute on the plan
Work out today! Today’s Monday. Whether you did your Full Body A workout on Friday or Saturday, you should be good to go again today. Perform workout B again. Make sure you track what you lift and try to beat what you did the last time you did this workout, either in terms of weight lifted or the number of reps you achieve.
That’s all for today! See you again tomorrow.