Commitment according to the dictionary is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity or anything else. In the case of your body and your health, commitment to health, fitness and nutrition is about a dedication to getting quality sleep, following a solid nutrition plan and maintaining an exercise program that yields results.
One of the biggest issues towards building a lasting commitment is that we get so wrapped up in attaining our short term goals that we lose focus on the long term goals of maintaining our health and staying injury free. I have a saying that goes, “Are you exercising for now, or for longevity?” This can equally be attributed to any nutrition program as well. If you’re aiming for longevity, there are smarter ways to train and eat.
It’s a Journey
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Lasting commitment to health and fitness means understanding that it’s a lifelong journey that begins with a single step. It means understanding that a lasting commitment is more than a week or a month or some secret, magical number of days. It’s even more than a year. It’s plural. Its years. It is most certainly not a sprint.
What you need to do is set up goals that are short term, but more importantly that are long term, because this is an article about lasting commitment. A lasting commitment is comprised of small steps leading to milestones that you will overcome and attain.
Avoid Quick Fixes
Time and time again we try to look for that next thing, that one key object that will magically transform your life. Whether it’s a new shake, or a new supplement, or a new exercise formula, we’re looking for the secret.
We go to great lengths to find the quickest and easiest way to get results, to find that one “magic pill” that will make our lives easier and/or better. But if there is no physiological reason as to why something will work, then it’s most likely a gimmick that won’t have long lasting results. Additionally, looking for such answers never leads to building a lifelong commitment to your health.
Take time to analyze what you’re doing and determine if it is actually healthy for you. Is it a solid exercise program that focuses on results, strength training, and conditioning? Is it a solid nutrition program that doesn’t demonize certain nutrients, or tells you to avoid this or that?
A lasting commitment to you is all about better choices.
One Step at a Time
What often happens when we decide to start a diet or exercise program? We jump at it, full force, changing just about everything about our lives at once. There’s only one problem with that. Statistically it always fails. Changing too many things at one time pulls you in too many directions. What is more important, and thus more successful over time is developing habits, making small changes every few days, weeks, or even months.
Picking the Correct Goals
How many times have you told yourself or someone else, “I have to lose such and such weight by ___?” Why that specific number of pounds and why that date? Then what’ll happen?
What happens after that date or what happens after you lose that amount of weight? It solely focuses on an end outcome with no connection to behaviour. Yes, it is important to have short term goals, but it is also, for the sake of a lifelong commitment to have long term goals, such as maintaining that weight.
How do you go about doing that? By setting behavioural goals. Picking behaviours that you can modify and adapt over the course of the rest of your life sets you up for that commitment we talked about earlier. If you dedicate yourself to having water with every meal, or having two vegetable sources with every meal, you can do that. And what’s better still, it’s an easy commitment to make.
Are you the type that over analyzes every decision you make when it comes to exercise or nutrition? Do you feel guilty if you miss a workout or eat something that may not be 100% healthy for you? If you do, therein lies the problem. Too often we get feelings of disgust with ourselves if we miss a workout or have a bad day or a bad meal. Look, one bad day or one bad meal won’t ruin your progress, just like one good day or one good meal will not make your progress.
Having that guilty feeling for enjoying yourself is just silly. We’re all human. We do things that make us feel good, whether its eating something that we know isn’t great for our health or skipping out on a workout do something else.
Life is short and if you’re not enjoying it, then what’s the point. It means not always being perfect in our pursuit of health, fitness, and nutrition. Lifelong commitment to those things means allowing yourself some wiggle room to veer off course, if you’re following sound principles and behaviors, it’s easy to get back on track.
Consistency is key. Building something that lasts over a lifetime means making smart decisions about your health. It means not putting so much pressure on yourself and over analyzing every little decision. It means enjoying your life because it’s the only one you get to live.
To quote my business partner at AMP:
“Most people are focused on the result, I look at the results as a bonus. Sure I have specific goals that I’m working towards but I think the process of getting there is much more important than the end result. It’s the work that transcends, the work builds character and sharpens you. The work teaches you humility and aggression. The work strengthens you physically and mentally. The process is really what it is all about….the results…they will take care of themselves.”