This is one of those articles that can be great if you implement what you learn. If not, it'll just be another thing you read as you go about your day making no change to your life.
There's an intro for ya.
Last week, a friend emailed me and asked how I make health and fitness a priority in my life, and what they need to do to make it a priority for themselves.
But before I give you some advice, I'll say this:
There is no formula or step-by-step process in the entire universe that will force a change in your life. YOU have to want to make that change bad enough for yourself. If you do, you'll make it happen. If you don't, you won't. It's a simple as that. It's the brutal truth.
Be open and honest with yourself as you read this article and reflect.
#1: PLAN AHEAD
You can be on the greatest diet of all time and you can have the most effective workout program in the world, but it doesn't mean jack if you don't plan to make those things a consistent part of your life. You MUST plan ahead.
"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." - Ben Franklin
I like to think I am a hard worker, but I know for a fact that if I didn't take time to plan things ahead of time, they would never happen. No matter how hard you work and how determined you are, the same rule applies to you. I'm not sure what you use to plan and schedule your daily and weekly life, but whatever it is, I'm sure it helps you a ton. If you use that method to plan your meetings, work days, babysitter, appointments, and all the other crazy things you have going on in your life, why wouldn't you do the same for your health and fitness?
Put your workouts in your calendar NOW. Seriously, stop what you're doing and schedule your workouts for this week as well as the upcoming week. Do your workouts take an hour? Yes? Ok, awesome. Find an hour in your calendar, create an event, and title it "Gym Time" or "My Time" or "GO LIFT HEAVY STUFF".
"I don't have an open hour in my calendar."
Yes, you do. You just didn't look hard enough to find it. Go back and try again.
Once you're done planning and scheduling your workouts, take a look at your nutrition and ask yourself the following questions:
Where do I succeed in my nutrition, and what do I need to do to continue that success?
Where do I struggle, and what do I need to do to make sure those struggles are non-existent this week?
Whatever that looks like, plan it out.
For most people, the main struggle is eating healthy on a consistent basis while balancing a busy schedule. It's too easy to go out and grab fast food if you don't have anything ready at home, so make sure that doesn't happen. Do some meal prepping, and make some snacks for you to eat this week and the next, NOW. Seriously, do it now.
Put some meat in the crockpot, make a massive pot of rice, and cook up some greens that are easy for you to take on the go. That takes wayyy less time than you might think. Putting meat in the crockpot takes a couple of seconds, and the crockpot does all the work while you prep other things. Rice takes 10-2o minutes. Greens, about the same. All you need to make easy meals for the entire week is 3o minutes to an hour at the most. You have that time. Sit down and put it in your calendar, NOW.
I'm telling you, planning out the next 7-14 days is going to bring you GREAT success. You just need to do it. So sit down, think about where it's hardest for you to succeed, and schedule a game plan to make sure falling short doesn't happen.
#2: CREATE BEHAVIOR-BASED GOALS
If you've been paying attention to my content for a while, you know that I constantly talk about how important it is to know your why. Your why is the reason you're doing this. Your why tells you the importance and significance of making a change in your life. It is absolutely essential.
But what comes after the why?
Here's the thing, though. Action means nothing if there's no consistency, and the best way to build consistency is to create habits. The best way to create habits is through behavior-based goals.
Why ---> Behavior ---> Habit ---> Consistency ---> Success
It's easy for all of us to think about the outcome-based goals we want. We want to lose 5% body fat. We want to drop 20lbs. Whatever it is, we all have some sort of outcome-based goal. That's good and well, but those outcomes come from consistency that begins with behavior change. Think for a quick second on what your outcome-based goal is. Now, take that goal and break it down. Ask yourself: "If I want to achieve _______ in ____ months, what do I need to do?" If you need to train properly and eat according to your goals, your new goal is to train five days per week and eat healthy 80% of the time each day. This is just an example. It will change depending on the goal you have and what you need to do to get there. So, figure out what the process looks like, and make the behaviors in your process your new goals that you aim to achieve each day.
I have been absolutely horrible about prioritizing my mobility. I want to reach a new squat PR and improve my form, so my goal is to spend 15 minutes doing ankle mobility 3x per week. That's an example of a behavior-based goal.
Not only will behavior-based goals build consistency, but they'll also keep the big goal from feeling like this daunting, difficult, and completely out-of-reach achievement. You'll slowly begin focusing on the present, what you can do THIS day, and before you know it, you'll be at your outcome-based goal.
#3: YOU GOTTA WANT IT
This one is straight forward. If you want health and fitness to be a priority in your life, you gotta want it. If you do, you'll prioritize it. If you don't, you won't.
I can already hear the excuses I've heard over and over replaying in my head...
"I don't have any time for that."
"You don't understand, you're not a parent."
"My job is too demanding. I have too much on my plate."
STOP lying to yourself, and take responsibility. It's perfectly fine if you don't want health and fitness to be a priority. But, it is NOT ok to tell yourself it is a top priority when you're not treating it as such.
If your health and fitness really means that much to you, you'll make it happen. You'll move things around, you'll cancel stuff. You'll find a gym that has a daycare for your kids and you'll pay extra for it. You'll wake up early. You'll ask your spouse to help you make time. You'll get a home gym.
It is plain and simple, people. You'll make it happen if you want it to. You won't if you don't. That's the brutal truth.
So, sit down and think through this.
Ask yourself: "Is health and fitness really my top priority?" If it's not, and you don't need it to be, then be at peace with that. It is absolutely not fair for you to tell yourself that it is your top priority and then treat it differently. If it IS your top priority, then make changes accordingly to treat it as such.
Be objective. Be honest. Be truthful.
Making health and fitness a top priority comes down to what you want. The BEST thing you can do for yourself after reading this article is to sit down and figure out if you really do want this for yourself. If you do, plan ahead, and plan to execute your behavior-based goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam is a fitness professional, baseball fan, and cookie fanatic based in Fort Collins, Colorado. After hanging up the cleats, he found a strong interest in the human body and how it performs. Since then, Adam has been transforming lives through fitness in a fun and encouraging atmosphere. As an ACE CPT and Fitness Nutrition Specialist, he is constantly moved to help people improve in all walks of life. If you’re interested in hiring Adam as your coach, fill out an application here.