Seriously Stop it already. Stop quitting. Stop telling yourself the story of why you can’t achieve your goals or why this is too hard, or why this isn’t for you. You know that voice that takes over when you start that new exercise program and it says, “This isn’t for me, (after the first week) I just need to walk a little more first or maybe start riding my bike.” The truth is we all know that won’t happen. Sure you will quit, because quitting is what you do, but that walking thing you are going to start doing instead, that isn’t going to happen, well at least not for long. You have made quitting your habit. As my 6 year old daughter says when she does something she is good at.. “This is my jam.” You have made quitting your jam and you are exceptional at it. You can be reading this and saying, this guy is an A—hole. That could be very true, but if it pisses you off then I encourage you to take a deeper look as to why. STOP creating that same pattern so your story can be, “I have tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING EVER worked!” Yep, keep quitting, keep making that story true so you can sit with it and be the victim of how workouts, coaches, trainers, doctors, and nutrition programs have all failed you. Lets get real here… I am sure you have “tried” lots of things, but have you mastered anything? Have you really put your entire being into something with the attitude of conquering it? I am sure you have credit card receipts to show for all the money you have spent on just about everything that didn’t work, but that is about it. If totaled credit card receipts and unused supplement bottles, dusty treadmills in your garage, and unused memberships aren’t proof, you don’t know what else is. I mean you really have tried everything, but have you persevered?
Perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
Read it again. Seriously, read it 4 times.
Steadfast: Firm in Purpose, Unwavering faith, Adherence, Firmly established
Purpose: The reason for which something exists Determination, resoluteness,
Adherence: Steady Devotion
This could go on and on, but the point is, quitting after 1 week or 6 weeks of something that you really never gave your entire focus to really doesn’t count in the field of persevering or having a purpose. Really it doesn’t even count because you quit before it began. You went through the motions to see if something would happen to you rather than making your entire being, be completely about going after your goal with purpose and steadfast focus(see definitions above). It’s like purchasing that membership or hiring that trainer and not showing up consistently was magically going to transform you. I mean really showing up consistently with a positive mental attitude, doing all the required outside work recommended. Following the nutritional guidelines and getting clarity when you had questions rather than making up your own rules. I mean going after it like you needed this to survive. Becoming a student of the process you are undertaking as if you are going to have to teach the subject as an expert. Are you owning your experience or are you a bystander letting the process kind of happen to you. There is a big difference in the mental approach.
Shit gets hard sometimes, that is the truth, but quitting every time things become difficult is a sure way to keep your story true. You know that one that says I have tried everything and I can’t get results. The cliché of get comfortable with being uncomfortable is the truth if you really want to see results in life. It goes for fitness, weight loss, career growth, being a better spouse, parent, or whatever your goal is. All of the awesome success stories we admire in history and all the great movies have the common theme of persevering and overcoming the odds. Think about every awesome movie that inspires. I think about movies that have inspired me over the years from Rocky, The Karate Kid, The Pursuit of Happyness, and dozens more, add your favorite to the list. Each one is a story of the internal battle of persistence and dedication. We all see it on the screen, yet can’t see that each of us are capable of making the decision not to quit and persevere. That is really the difference. Quitting is a sure way of making sure success will not happen. Yet somewhere there is a part of brain that will make you believe that you will find an easier softer way, where magically quitting will make everything better, or it will just make everyone else wrong, and you justified.
When it comes to fitness, I have seen programs that are really not all that great, and yet yield amazing results because they stuck with a plan consistently. They focused on it and gave their full attention to being committed to the process and the goal. It just takes a singleness of purpose and the belief that there is no other option except to be All IN. As the saying goes, if you want to take the island, burn your ships at the shore, there is no going back. It just takes the wake up call to feel the realization that you haven’t seen your goals because you are quitter. If you are OK with that then cool, own it and don’t stress yourself out with not achieving something you won’t put the work in to receive. If you are looking to change this pattern, get to that point where you know you need to quit because it sucks so bad, and then do the what you haven’t done before… Don’t quit. It’s like the Seinfeld Episode where George’s life became amazing because he decides to act in complete opposite of what he would normally do. IF you want a quick reference or a laugh, or if your a Millennial that doesn’’t know what Seinfeld is watch the video.
How Not be Quitter
I wish I had the exact answer to this, but here are some things I know have helped me when I have wanted to quit.
Surround yourself with people that will call you out and hold you accountable. Let me be clear, make sure these friends aren’t in worse shape than you are. They won’t be able to help. Make sure the people you choose to have around you have a history of success with health and fitness if fitness is your struggle. Having your de-conditioned friends support you is like trying to quit drinking and expecting your drinking buddies to help you stay sober. It ain’t going to happen. You getting better while they are staying the same doesn’t do well for them, though they may not mean it, they will make sure you stay at the same level as them. Along the same theme, avoid joining a gym with a group of your friends that are in the same situation as you and have a history of quitting. Instead of motivating each other what ends up happening is the person that loses steam first will drag everyone else down with them. When one person misses everyone else has a reason to miss.
If you don’t have people in your life and you are training at a gym Ask the gym staff for accountability. If you are at a gym that is worthwhile the staff is there to help you through this, if they don’t help you, find another gym. Nowadays there are more than enough to choose from that will help. You aren’t paying for a gym membership, pay for structure and accountability and get the service you need.
Write out your goals in detail. Don’t just stop at listing out the goals, write out why you want to achieve the goals. Go even further and write out the consequences of what will happen if don’t achieve them! Read my last blog post on goals to get a deeper understanding of how to look at your goals and the questions to ask for more clarity. I promise going through this process will help!
Master Sleep. Yes this goes for just about everything in life. Poor sleep will make life suck in many ways, not just exercise. One of the ways that you can master sleep is to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning. Yes, this includes the weekends. This habit has changed my life more than anything I have ever done. It takes commitment, because I don’t really stay out late on the weekends, but honestly the value of having consistency in my life out weighs staying up late. If there is a special event on the weekend and you stay up late, wake up at your normal time the next morning. This habit of consistent sleep patterns will carry over to being more consistent in other areas of your life. If you are saying to yourself, I won’t try that, then just stick to what has been working for you so well up to this point in achieving your goals(sarcasm). It takes focus, but start with mastering sleep before making the effort to master exercise.
Wake up Early and Be Grateful. Ok, it sounds like I’ve gone off the deep end now. Waking up early and going to bed early are game changers, but the most important part of getting up early is take time to start your day with getting grounded. Many times goals fall by the wayside because we just aren’t set up for success. If there is disorganization going on internally, adding one more stressor or additional responsibility to your life isn’t going to work. Lots of times those internal negative voices that are allowing you to quit are just noises that need to be shut off before they get started. Starting each day with feeling the emotion of gratitude is literally better than any drug you can take. I came across this 5 minute video on Youtube when I got started with this practice and it rocked my world (in a good way). It was short, it was energizing, and it got me to actually FEEL gratitude. I reflected on some amazing things in my life and I remember having one of the greatest days I had in awhile. I have continued to practice this and it has been amazing. Things I have struggled with for years have become effortless. If this meditation doesn’t resonate with you, search for one that speaks to and gets you to feel gratitude. YouTube, itunes, and Google are at the tip of your fingers ad I am sure you can find a meditation or guide if you are looking for it. Gratitude is more than a list, it really is getting in to the feeling and emotion of it. Don’t ask me exactly how this works with the brain, but it truly will make the things you have struggled a lot easier without trying.
I could go on longer than I already have, but focusing on the actions above can be such powerful tools in your war against mediocrity aka.. being a quitter.
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