Do you ever feel like you need to Rework the way that you’re doing things? It could be any area of your life really.
Rework your career, rework your diet, rework your workouts, or rework you love life. I feel like this all the time.
While on a plane traveling to D.C. a few months ago I read a book by Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeir titled Rework. It’s the best business book I’ve read. Although it’s targeted towards entrepreneurs, business owners, or those that are aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs the concepts outlined in the text can be used in all areas of your life.
So if you’ve felt ever felt the need or currently feel the need to Rework your health, than keep reading.
You’re Perfect Plan Is Like Swiss Cheese
You’ve been on this ride before. The endless roller coaster of extreme motivation, frustration, back to motivation, and then back to motivation.
You wake up one day and today is the day that everything changes. You’re finally going to get healthy, fit, and super sexy. So what do you do? You plan. You plan your ass off!
You start googling and researching in search of an awesome workout and meal plan. You might even order some vitamins, protein, and a few other supplements. You look for personal trainers in your area, sign up for some fitness classes, join a Crossfit, or maybe pick up some dumbbells so you can work out at home.
You buy a notebook or if you’re really fancy turn on you computer and create a spreadsheet. You plan your next month of workouts and write down your diet for the week. You’re all kinds of fired up and ready to go. After all, look how prepared you are.
It’s human nature to plan as it makes us feel in control. When we plan we feel accomplished, but all the planning in the world isn’t going to change your health. It’s not going to get you any fitter. It’s not going to help you look better naked. And it’s not going to help you run faster, lift heavier, or be more mobile.
Extreme planning gives us a false sense of security that everything is going to be alright. In the midst of creating the “perfect” plan to change your health you somehow forgot about the possibility of work keeping you late, the kids getting sick and needing your attention, that big test coming up, the vacation you’re taking in 4 weeks, you’re buddies birthday festivities coming up, and all the other proverbial life events that will surely disrupt this “perfect” plan.
The only thing that is going to help is consistent action over an extended period of time and that starts with simply getting started.
It’s wonderful that you have a plan but please don’t wait until tomorrow or Monday to get started. By that time it’s too late. Start now. Start by performing a kitchen makeover, going to the grocery store, shutting your computer down and getting in a bodyweight workout.
I love that you planned but what are you going to do when life sticks a tree branch in-between the spokes of that perfect plan?
In her book The How of Happiness, positive psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky gives us 12 scientifically proven actions to do that can make us happier – and in this case healthier and fitter. On of them is developing strategies for coping.
In the case of the tree branch in the spokes of your perfect plan this would mean having strategies for staying consistent with you workouts, nutrition, periods of low motivation and willpower.
This week I will partake in at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise on <DAY>, <TIME>, and at <LOCATION> And then follow that up with. If I miss my workout then I will do _________.
Practicing intention and if/then statements may make you 91% more likely to stick with you “perfect” plan.
Fall In Love With The Process
In their book Jason and David tell you that if you really want to create an awesome product than make something that you would actually want to use – solve your own problems. That’s exactly what they did with Basecamp.
So how can you do that when it comes to your health?
You have to fall in love with the process. You’re going to have to figure out ways to enjoy becoming healthier.
There are definitely going to be days where you don’t want to workout, prepare meals, and stay consistent, persistent, and disciplined.
That’s why falling in love with the process of becoming the healthiest version of yourself is so important. If you don’t like what you’re doing you’re probably not going to be doing it very long.
It’s really easy to get wrapped up in achieving goals. The big problem with this is that achieving goals is often about getting results, a specific outcome.
And when you think about ALL the stuff that you’re going to have to do or change it can feel very overwhelming, confusing, and darn right scary.
Forrest Gump those goals
Remember the movie Forrest Gump? Of course you do, everyone remembers that movie. Flash back to the scene where he’s running across the United States and someone asks him what he’s doing it for?
His answer was that he just loved running so why not.
He wasn’t thinking about the great distance he had to travel, what he might be missing while he was running, or updating his Facebook status. Nope, he was simply running because he liked doing it.
It’s not about the 20 pounds you “think” you need to lose or the muscle you need to put on. It’s not about dropping your body fat percentage or deadlifting 400 pounds.
- It’s about choosing to eat a better breakfast
- It’s about running or walking one minute if you currently run or walk none
- It’s about adding 2 pounds to your deadlift next week.
Don’t stress yourself out over all the things you “think” you need to do to become the healthiest version of yourself?
What is one small change that you can make today that will make a difference? Work on that – prove you can change one thing at a time to yourself and feed from that momentum.
Manage Your Excuses
“I don’t have enough time.”
Not only is it the number one excuse for not establishing consistent training and nutrition habits, it’s also the number one excuse for just about everything under the sun.
I call bullshit! No time is used an excuse to protect the ego. We say it to ourselves because it makes us feel important, busy, and productive.
There’s always enough time if you know how to spend it. If you want something bad enough or find enough value in something you’ll create time for it.
The Truth About Time
We all have the same 168 hours a week to work with. Some are just better at managing priorities than others. If you’re a time management ninja and have your priorities straight then good for you – but if you’re reading this now you probably are not so lets talk about how you can become one.
1: Watch your mouth: Try this exercise on for size. Every time you say I’m too busy or I don’t have the time, change your language so that you’re saying you choose not to make it a priority. For example:
“I’m just too busy to prepare meals ahead of time” would become, “I choose not to make preparing meals ahead of time a priority for myself.”
“I just don’t have the time to workout” now becomes, “I choose not to make regular exercise a priority.” Pow! Right in the gut, huh?
Sorta stings doesn’t it?
2: Track what you’re actually doing: Have you ever kept a time log? If not, it’s a real eye-opener. If you’re constantly saying you’re too busy and don’t have the time – then prove it. Track what you do every hour of the day for a few days. Write down exactly what you’re doing hour-by-hour. You’ll probably find that you spend more time then you think checking Facebook, email, watching TV, doing non-essential tasks, or simply bullshitting.
Note: Here’s an app that can help you with this.
3: Remove barriers and make it easier to do the good stuff: This goes back to changing your environment. If you don’t have time to get to the gym then don’t go. Instead do home workouts or do them on your lunch break. If you never have time to cook pick one to two days a week and cook in batches – making multiple meals at once so you don’t have to worry about it.
4: Do it first principle: If you’re struggling to workout consistently go to bed with your workout clothes on and do it first thing in the morning. Wake up earlier if you have to. If you’re struggling to prepare healthy meals sleep with a spatula and just start by making a healthy breakfast every day this week.
5: Honor they schedule: This is the one thing that has helped me the most. Each week I take a look at what I’ve got going on and schedule in my workouts and meal prep on the days I know I am least likely to cancel them.
Once they are scheduled in I DO NOT change them. These are appointments with myself. If clients ask to switch appointments for times I have scheduled for exercise or meal prep I say no.
I highly suggest that you do the same. Every Sunday look at your week coming up and schedule in your workouts and meal prep. Also, have a back-up day and time just incase something unexpected happens.
5: Check yourself fool! Gut check time, how bad do you want it?
- Bad enough to cut TV? Cancel your cable or make it difficult to watch by unplugging it and moving it into the garage.
- Bad enough to commit to checking email only twice per day?
- Bad enough to start batching tasks and errands like laundry, grocery shopping, and house cleaning to one day so that the other days can be workout and meal prep days?
- Bad enough to ask for help or delegate tasks to others?
- Bad enough to start saying no to more responsibilities
- Bad enough to delete your social media accounts so you’re not playing on them all day?
- Bad enough to make your workouts and meal preps appointments on your calendar with yourself never to be broken?
All you have is time. Time is continuous and constant – the one guarantee in life. How you spend it is a reflection of who you are. Your actions are an accurate reflection of your values.
You may say that you really want to get healthy and fit but your actions say otherwise. But here’s the deal, you have a choice – you can choose to create time for your health.
But I Just Need To Do This First
Do you really just need to read another nutrition book first? Do you really just need to lose 10lbs. first before you start going to the gym (which makes no sense fundamentally when you really think about it). Do you really need to research the best way to lose love handles?
No. You don’t need to do any of that. The only thing that you need to do is to get started and then make adjustments as you go.
Now go! Start now and once you’ve started don’t stop.
Creating A Commitment Strategy
“If I can just stay strict, motivated, disciplines, insert your own word here ________ for the next 3 months.”
And then what? What will you be doing after the 3 months. After you’ve got your “beach bod,” are ready for your friends wedding, that vegas trip?” Will you just be going into “ah fuck it” mode and undoing everything you’ve just done?
I love the example Jason and David give in their book. “Would you go into a relationship planning the breakup?” Of course not, so why would you do this when it comes to your health?
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with 6 week, 3 month, and other short-term goals when it comes to your health it’s in your best interest to think long-term. Treat short-term goals as intervals. Brief periods where you really dial in the training and nutrition cycled with a very brief period where you loosen the reigns a bit – but not too lose.
Unless you’re a body builder getting ready to showcase your gunz in the next 6 weeks is your “perfect” plan something you see yourself doing for the long haul?
Find Your Epicenter
Jason and David explain this in business as evaluating the things you could do, want to do, and have to do. And then starting with the things that you have to do. If you’re starting a hot dog stand in the city you wouldn’t want to waste your time worrying about condiments right? Of course not. You’d want to make sure you’re making the best damn hot dog in the friggin world.
So why do we do this when it comes to our health? We spend more time worrying about things on the micro level and not the most important stuff on the macro level.
To give an example, when I first meet with a coaching client I often get asked questions like this:
- What do you think about creatine? If I take it will I get super strong?
- I saw on Dr. Oz that if I drink pineapple juice mixed with vinegar and pickles that I can lose fat – should I try this?
- I have no energy and I heard that if I take this vitamin or “superfood” it will give me energy.
- Fish oil burns fat right? I started taking it but I haven’t noticed anything yet.
I love the inquisitiveness and desire to learn but these are the wrong questions to be asking. What you really need to know is if you’re doing the basic things consistently enough to make progress.
- Are you tracking consistency
- Are you measuring your progress
- Do you have the basics down. These are the basics.
No supplement, no vitamin, and no magic pill, workout, or “superfood” is going to help you if you don’t have the most important fundamentals down first. Focus on doing the basic things well first.
You’d Want A Fair Shake And So Does Your Plan
Lets say you go on your first date with a really cute girl or guy you just met grabbing a coffee at Starbucks. You’ve been out of the dating game a little while and the date goes ok but not perfectly. Something was just off that day for you, you can’t really explain it – maybe it was the stress from work, the lack of recent dating experience, or the egg salad sandwich you ordered at lunch just wasn’t sitting right.
Regardless, you’d really like another chance with this person but they’re just not interested. You know you’ve got more to offer – you were just having an off day.
This is sort of what you’re doing to when you consistently program and nutrition hop. You’re never really giving them a shot to show you what they can do.
Any workout and any nutrition approach you decide to try – try for at least 4 weeks before jumping ship. Track your progress by measuring how consistent you are with it, take body measurements so you know whether it’s working or not, and really ask yourself if you gave everything to your “perfect” plan during the 4 weeks.
If your answer is yes and you’re not happy with the results then feel free to get your hop on like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.
You Have To Find What Works For You.
One of my favorite analogies in the book was, “you can buy the same guitar, effects pedals, and amplifiers that Eddie Van Halen uses. But when you play that rig, it’s still going to sound like you.”
You can try the same workout and diet that your friend is. You can try the same workout and diet that some random fit guy/gal is at your gym. And you can try the latest magic pill that everyone is using and dropping fat like it’s hot, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get the same results.
Dr. Seuss said it best, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
You never really know what was going on behind the scenes. Just because something worked for one person doesn’t mean that it will work for you.
You’re going to have to try, evaluate, and try some more.
No more “perfect” planning. No more spreadsheets. No more words.
Resources to help you with this article
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