But you need it.
I’ve heard it a million times already, like –
- “why can’t I lose any weight?”,
- “I’m doing all this hard work training and eating but not seeing results.”
- “why can’t you wave the magic wand and I get skinny.”
So firstly, “Hard work” signifies you’re perceiving it as temporary and not as something you wish to do for a lifetime. So fix that attitude of hard work, and are you really doing it that hard??
Secondly, I think these two questions should be asked –
- How long have you stuck consistently to you plan or program? and;
- If you have, are you exercising your patience?
What is the difference between someone who continually strives to achieve their goal(s) over years and understanding there will be set-backs (i.e. an Athlete). Versus those who are always looking to achieve their goals in like the next month? (i.e. 98% of the weight loser population that by the most part think that if this doesn’t work in 2 weeks I’m going to do something else like another fad diet or 5 minute abs routine).
One word – Patience.
Both have hit hurdles along the way, whether it be 2 years or 2 weeks going for their goals, but both have handled those hurdles differently. One understand’s the journey is long term. Where as the other is short sited and program hops looking for the next best celebrity endorsed weight shaker dumbell looking thingy that you hold while you walk or have the option to do while you watch TV. Seriously?
Look, long term weight loss motivation comes down to exercising your patience, when the results don’t go your way. That’s the truth.
Patience is the most important of virtues in the psychology of weight loss and consistent motivation. And patience is one of the biggest psychological tricks to lose weight.
I know this only too well. As an amateur athlete, this is what I teach all my students to think like an athlete. They understand patience, when things don’t go your way.
When I started Kettlebell training at the end of 2013, 1 month later I set a goal to do my first competition in the sport 12 months down the track. And I can tell you know I felt so crap and weak (also a little out of shape), but I know if I was going to do something well, then good things take time and it was well worth the wait.
My first PT session using kettlebells, so bad and so embarrassing. But that’s not the point. The point is I started, and I soon developed a long term patient mindset. I could have just as easily given up and done something else, within that first month of training.
Patience is a virtue, and this cliche’ is probably one of the most underrated statements ever when it come to getting your health and fitness goals. Goals take time, dreams take time, and if you’re ever going to get them, it’s most likely not going to be from the success that you celebrate.
Generally, successes happen less than failed attempts. Rather, when you have achieved your goals and vision of your body, you will be reflecting on all the “failed attempts” you’ve had to endure along the way, and that is by your… virtue of patience.
What’s a virtue?
Well according to Wikipedia – “A virtue is a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. The opposite of virtue is vice.”
You see we all have virtues, but when it comes to exercising and going for our health and fitness goals, many of us let our “vices” rule. A common vice in health and fitness maybe deemed as letting failure ruin your journey towards getting your goals.
But what’s failure? I’ve been told in the past that the only failure in life is death. Sad, but true and therefore while you’re still alive and kicking you will always have the ability to turn “perceived failure” into some form of success.
Les Brown (reknowned motivational speaker) said “don’t mistake being a failure, with failure it’s self.” And that’s what most people do, they “become a failure”. Meaning it become personal.
Even when you have “failed” at something (if you stuck to the plan or not) you have most likely either become stronger, fitter, healthier and at the very least learnt from it.
Failure is just a word really, but so many of us allow it to rule our vocabulary and energy in attempt to justify to ourselves that you have tried and failed.
But have you? Have you really tried? or have you tried for a day, a week, a month… and then just given in to your vice or that word – failure.
Switch Your Thinking!
Every time you have a failed attempt at something it’s time to flip your thinking. Really it’s just a matter of stating that it’s “feedback” and learning that what you have done (or not done) has lead you to that “failed attempt”.
Maybe it’s a case of changing the way you do things, but from my experience with others and myself it’s generally a case of actually sticking to your planned actions.
Before stating that you have failed, look back at your results only when you have executed all your planned actions and not when you haven’t executed all your planned actions.
Then and only then start planning your attempt at your goal again and executing to the best of your abilities all the actions required to get your goals. There is always time… if you never give up.
There is so many quotes and philosophies that come to mind when it comes to failure but probably one of the best one come from Thomas Edison – the inventor of the light bulb. And even though it’s not related to health and fitness the concept surely applies. It starts with vision and keeping your eyes on the horizon to see that vision through all the failed attempts.
Thomas Edison tried thousands of times and never gave up before getting light to work. I’m sure that’s how most people feel when it comes to getting their goals. Like they’ve tried “thousands” of times with no results and no light.
But is it no results or are you just beating yourself up to much? One of the best philosophies in getting your goals is just that when you have had a “failed attempt” you are simply one step closer to success. That’s how Edison looked at it, every failed attempt is one step closer to success. But only if you continue to take action and never give up.
Exercising Patience – Try one more time, over and over again!
So now we have understood what a virtue is, it’s basically a great trait to have, right? But what about Patience? Well once again Wikipedia couldn’t have come up with a better definition –
Patience – is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast.
What a virtue to have, right?
So after virtually 2 years of training and healthy eating for athletes (see my plan), I was competing for Australia in the national team and achieved a 5th place in my class of 15 competitors. Not bad for a 34 years old, with a former “bad back” and early onset osteoporosis, and who never intended to compete internationally. But the opportunity come a long and what a great story to tell your kids one day.
Whilst I did have my challenges along the way, for the most part it was a huge learning curve along with every result being better then the previous one.
Little did I know, after having competed in 6 competition in 2 years, the patience that I needed was really still yet to be exercised, after these world championships. Here I performed a personal best of 77 Clean and jerk (long cycle) repetitions with 2 x 24kg Kettlebells over 10 minutes.
But you see for most of us health and fitness is not a life threatening challenge… yet. Until your doctor say’s so because of pending heart disease, and even then most don’t take it seriously enough.
Life’s daily challenges (i.e. work/career/money/relationships) are much more important to most of us than our long term health, and why not right? They’re the things that support us during our “failed attempts” at health and fitness.
For most it’s not that it’s not important to be fit and healthy it’s just that it’s not a priority.
But don’t you think being fit and healthy (with how you move and how you feel), wouldn’t you be able to deal with other life challenges more effectively? For example, wouldn’t your perform better at work? Deal better with unexpected challenges? Be able to create more opportunity and maybe even be better and more comfortable in your relationships?I think so.
You see, it really is easier to give up temporarily or all together on your health and fitness goals. It’s easy to say that I will go for it “one day”. “Comfort” food and comfort family will always be around in the end, but will you truly be happy in your skin?
It’s easier to watch the TV or read a book and fantasize. It’s easier to jump on Facebook. It’s easier to go out drinking. It’s easier to buy yourself something material that covers up the pain. And it’s easier to bathe in your excuses and tell the stories of your failed attempt’s to friends and family, who will support you in failure.
All that is much easier than to go exercise and eat healthier consistently, and of course set yourself a challenging goal and whole heatedly go for it.
The truth is Patience (in my eyes) is the number one virtue that’s required. Some of us have it gifted, some of us get it easier, but generally speaking if you have set yourself a challenging goal, it not gifted nor easy.
Hence patience in getting your goals will always be required. When I set out the task of competing in Kettlebell sport I looked at it as a one year project. Once I participated and completed my goal of competing in a Kettlebell sport competition one year later, I understood that the next level of goals will certainly take another year (the world championships).
Then there was another year of goals now, to beat my 77 reps I did at the World championships, and let me tell you know… it took me 4 months to beat it. With 81 reps, and 2 competitions later, I managed to get just 4 reps more in 4 months.
That’s 4 reps in 4 months. You might not get it, but that’s like losing 4kg in 4 months, whilst training hard. All that hard work for 4 reps! But you know what, that 4 reps was enough to break my platue, give me a sense of relief and exercise a level of patience, I don’t think I’d ever had to exercise before. The competition in between, I actually only got 70 reps. That’s 7 reps less than my best. I actually felt I was going backwards.
During that 3 months, I just didn’t feel myself. I wasn’t performing as well as I did in the first 2 years. I was sluggish, maybe a little tired of it all, and questioning myself, and I just wasn’t getting the result I wanted, nor needed. Can you relate?
But exercising my patience muscle, I didn’t stop training. I even backed off one day a week, and trained 3 times instead of 4. Proof that sometimes less is more, but just as long as you’re are consistent, and that I was.
My patience and Kettlebell sport journey continues on.
You see, the same goes for when I lost my original 35kg, it took 4 years of patience. Of course I’m not saying it would take you that long, but I’m sure along the way you will have to exercise your patience in getting your goals, and keeping your eye on your prize.
Now, by all means there is much more inspiring stories of patience and success out there than mine, but that’s just an example in health and fitness, and being an becoming an athlete in my own lunch box.
In fact I would say everyone one of you could come up with your own story of patience in getting something in life. And that is where you need to reflect and say “I did that”, so I CAN surely get my health and fitness goal if I start now, go full steam ahead and just never give up!
Set yourself long term goals (i.e. 1 year from now). Health and fitness isn’t a 4, 8, or 12 week venture. It’s something that is there to stay for life. And once you have actually achieved your short term goals, there is no doubt you will be more inclined to set bigger and more challenging ones with your body.
It’s the only way you’re going to keep the body that you’ve wanted. Patience is setting that goal or implanting a vision that you know you will achieve one to five years from now. It may be an event, such as a fun run or competition. Something scary or something that you know will require you to achieve smaller goals along the way. That’s patience.
Patience is always keeping your eyes on the horizon when you have stuffed up, stopped taking action, put your head down and maybe turned a blind eye to your vision. It’s getting up the next day and once again attempting your actions towards your goals, one more time.
Patience is taking time to review your actions and goals, realign yourself with what’s important to you and of course never giving up on those goals. When it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals, our bodies are amazing organisms which can achieve extraordinary things. But not without the virtue of patience and taking daily action, one more time.
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