1. Don’t compare yourself to others
Everyone sees the movie stars and health gurus with perfect bodies. They are all muscular and lean with perfect skin and they live on berries and morning dew. Well, good for them, but I like beer. If you’re having trouble starting, or sticking to a diet and exercise program it can be because of this very reason. Don’t worry about being perfect like someone else, just focus on you. If your overweight, but you lost 5 pounds, then you’re doing great. You are healthier and more disciplined than you were before. It doesn’t matter that your friend can bench press 300 pounds, or run a marathon. You are not them. Focus on you and every little goal you reach will mean something, because you’re making a better you.
2. Baby Steps
So many people start out like maniacs and end up couch potatoes. Just go to any gym in January and then see how many people are still there in March. Same with diets. People try to cut everything out at once and live on lettuce and grilled chicken. It just doesn’t work. Take your current exercise level, or diet and start out slowly. If you don’t exercise at all start out by exercising 3 days a week. It could be just going for a walk, or doing push ups, or a workout video. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s something. Same with diet. Don’t make a drastic change, you will feel ill and want to quit. Start by cutting out soda, or chips, or whatever is your junk food of choice. If you’re a heavy user e.g. several sodas a day, or pizza 3 nights a week; then cut back to 1 soda a day and pizza one day a week. You’re trying to make a life change and it isn’t easy. Take it slowly. And if you happen to fall off the wagon, don’t let it get you down. It happens to everyone. Just start back again at the beginning.
3. 30/90 Rule
I have read about this in studies and have seen and experienced it myself. I call it the 30/90 Rule. Even if you’re taking baby steps, if you stick with it YOU WILL notice a difference after 30 days. Take a picture of yourself, or get measurements before you start and then again 30 days later. This is a huge psychological boost and will motivate you to continue. It also gives you something to look forward to when you are first starting out. Give yourself 30 days and see for yourself. Of course the ultimate goal is to make a life change and that takes more time, but not much more. If you stick to an exercise routine and diet for 90 days, chances are it will become part of your life. In my 20 years of martial arts, most people quit within the first week and the rest after about a month. The ones that make it to the 3 month point usually stick with it. The reason is because after 3 months of doing something it becomes a habit. It’s like your morning coffee. But the key is to have it regulated. If it’s an exercise routine it can’t be any time or day you feel like it. You need to set up specific days and times and stick to it. After a while if you miss for some reason you will become upset, because it will be something you look forward to it.
So take the 30 day challenge, see the results at the end and use it as motivation to make it for another 60. Once you get there, you will no longer exercise becauseyou have to, but because you enjoy it; and you will be happier and healthier because of it.