As a young and naive boy in college, I was desperately in search of muscles.
I tried various workout routines; I wanted attention-grabbing arms with jaw-dropping abs. I thought all of this would instantly make me a ladies man. But, it didn't.
Muscle and fitness magazines promised me a new body in four weeks. I woke up on the fifth week and looked exactly the same.
Various supplement companies seduced me into buying their products by promising me insane strength and quick progress.
After everything, all I had to show were stomachaches and overdraft charges.
I tried to shortcut my fitness.
The only "results" I got were depression, a crappy social life and feelings of defeat.
If you’re anything like me, odds are you want to excel in life and fitness.
Patience isn’t your strongest virtue, especially in today’s world of "overnight body transformations" and "overnight rags-to-riches stories." Those click-bait stories lead us to marginalize ourselves and make irrational decisions.
The concept of an overnight success story is nothing more than a fairytale.
What isn't advertised in an overnight success story is how hard that individual had to work for that particular moment of glory.
Many of the writers, celebrities and everyday fitness people to whom we look up have, at one point, felt defeated and lost.
They didn’t wake up the next day and magically transform themselves. They put their heads down and went to work with clear goals.
Just as the tortoise stays his course and approaches the race methodically against the hare, you need to do the same with your fitness goals.
Slow and steady always wins the race
One of the key ingredients to success in life and fitness is to stay persistent. Far too often, we quit if the fruits of our labor don't rapidly appear.
Fat doesn’t vanish immediately, just as companies don’t become billion-dollar empires after their first business deals.
It took months to gain the weight you now want to lose, so you need to expect the same amount of time to shed those excess pounds.
The body is only capable of losing so much weight in a given time period.
Don’t let this bog you down; it is simply a reassurance that you should not expect too much of yourself in a short amount of time.
Here are four things to keep in mind during your slow and steady journey to fitness success:
1. Don’t obsess over the how or when. Instead, focus on your "why."
At the beginning of any new endeavor, your motivation is high and adrenaline is fueling your actions.
However, after the initial excitement wears off, life returns to a steady routine. Will you stick around to reach the finish line, or will you call it a day?
When the routine and banality of everyday life starts to creep back in, remember why you first wanted to start this journey. Remember how amazing you will look and feel in your new body.
Remember how the confidence of accomplishing your fitness goals will catapult you to doing great things in other areas of your life.
Write it down somewhere visible to you everyday.
Get clear on "why" you want to succeed with your particular fitness goals, and nothing will stand in your way.
2. Keep an open mind.
Fitness isn’t a dictatorship. Fitness is a "Choose Your Own Adventure" where you make the rules.
Succeeding in the long term with fitness requires you to have a particular method or routine that fits your lifestyle.
Slow and steady progress only becomes a problem when you’re miserable throughout the entire process.
Don’t be afraid to try various eating or exercise strategies until you find a routine that feels effortless.
3. Give doubt the cold shoulder and run away from the haters.
Nothing kills your goals faster than dream crushers and negative people.
If your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors or anyone else is constantly killing your motivation or disrespecting your aspirations, run the hell away from them!
We’re already our own worst enemies, with guilt and self-doubt (especially when we’re trying new endeavors), so the last thing we need is more haters.
Don’t let those kind of people get to you. They just don’t want to see you succeed because then they’ll have no excuse for why they can’t get off their asses and also be remarkable.
Your success and dreams are so much more important than anyone else’s opinions.
A simple solution is to cut these people out of your life.
Does that sound a bit cold? Maybe, but you should love yourself and value your time above anything or anyone else.
4. Stay in your lane.
Before you want to accomplish anything in life or fitness, you need a vision. If any situation or decision doesn't align with your purpose in fitness or life, don’t do it.
You’ll see gimmicky fitness products promising rapid weight loss in six months. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The more connected and aligned you are with your vision, the easier it’ll be to show up each day.
Sometimes, the reason why you aren’t succeeding with a particular goal isn’t because of effort. It is because that goal isn’t in alignment with who you are.
If you can’t workout five days a week, stop lying to yourself and cut back to three.
If you have trouble with binge-eating in social environments, admit this to yourself and prepare beforehand by eating a snack at home.
Just remember to stay focused; slow and steady will take you to the promise land.
Do you have trouble staying patient? If so, what’s one thing you’re doing to work on this?
Julian Hayes II writes at theartoffitnessandlife.com, where he teaches people how to level up their fitness through inspiration from art, creativity, philosophy, music, love, & superheroes. To get started on the path toward remarkability while looking great with or without clothes on, join the community.
This article was originally published on theartoffitnessandlife.com