What would you consider is your most valuable tool for staying in shape? Is it your treadmill? What about your weight set? Is it your arsenal of low-fat cookbooks, and low-carb diet snacks? What about your collection of workout videos?
Would you consider it a revelation that your most lethal weapon in the battle of the bulge is your Attitude?
Think about it. What good is your treadmill if you don't have the energy to get on it, or can't get up the motivation to crank up the speed, or the elevation? How useful are your dumbbells if you can't push yourself to use them in the most effective manner? How good is a nutrition program that you can't stick to? How much fat loss will you get out of your workout videos if you just can't seem to get as motivated as that bouncy cheerleader who is urging you to jump higher, or that buff macho man who keeps saying, "C'mon, just one more rep!"?
No, none of those tools is going to get you very far unless your HEAD is in the right place. As you read this article, you have probably already been exposed to more nutrition and exercise information than you could possibly ever need to actually stay in shape. You've probably read, listened to, or watched the answers to your fitness issues enough times to win the next Mr. or Mrs. Neighborhood fitness competition a dozen times over! Yet, you are still not where you want to be. Why?
Seeing Your Goal
Do you have a clear vision in your head of where you want to be, or what you want to accomplish when you are at a peak level of fitness? I don't mean just some vague idea - I'm talking about an actual burning mental image of a six-pack set of abs, or a nice set of curves, or a clear picture of you crossing the finish line in first place, or taking home that trophy. If you don't have that, you are already just spinning your wheels. How can you expect to get somewhere if you don't know where that "somewhere" is?
Many people start out very motivated to get in shape, or to compete for that prize, but their motivation lacks focus - laser-targeted precision that will guide them down the right path. The term "as the crow flies" comes to mind. If you could leave your house and drive in an exact straight line to your destination, don't you think that you would get there a lot faster? What if you could just fly through stop lights and intersections, disregard all posted speed limits, and go exactly in a straight line to every destination? You sure would get there a lot faster!
Exercise, physical fitness, and nutrition are no different. If you don't have a clearly mapped out and measurable road map to your success, then you will stray, and that will cost you time at the very least - and at the most, it will cost you precious amounts of self-confidence! Take some time to think about WHERE you want to be, HOW you are going to get there, and most importantly, WHY you want to be there. Take the time to do that, and I think you'll see that your previous path may have been road blocked by a few too many trips to Starbucks for a Caramel Frappuccino. Not that anyone writing a fitness article such as this would know anything about that...
Believing In Your Ability
Okay, so you've got yourself a good mental picture. You have your road map in front of you, your path is straight and true, and you are ready to get started. What comes next? Belief.
Do you believe it is possible to wave a magic wand and have all of your excess bodyfat gone, and all of your fitness goals realized in the blink of an eye? Of course not. If you do, and you know the secret, please contact us - I'm sure we could make some money on that secret! For everyone else, I'll ask a different question. Do you believe that you could sit on your couch, suck down some ice cream, and put on some more bodyfat? The answer is, unfortunately, yes.
What is the difference between those two questions? Very simple - one is possible, and one is not. What does that have to do with your fitness goals? Well, it may come as a surprise, but you have been dealing in the IMPOSSIBLE for quite sometime now. You have been striving for a goal, yet not really believing that it was within your power to reach it.
Oh sure, you may have joined a gym, or bought a new Litmus 3000 Super-Decker top of the line treadmill/clothes hanger, but did you really believe that you were going to do it this time? If you are reading this and you are in perfect physical condition, then congratulations - you did it! For the rest of you, are you seeing the point? You didn't truly believe it, because otherwise it would have happened.
Each of us shelters hidden either very deeply or sometimes NOT so deeply a seed of doubt that we will really succeed. When that seed is there - whether it is planted deeply or not - your subconscious waters it and feeds it. The next thing you know, it is has grown into an entire field of self-limiting beliefs, and you have neither the time nor the desire to get out there in the field and destroy that evil crop!
What are you to do, then? BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Why? The answer to that is simple - because you are the only one who truly can. Others may support you, and they may even show you the path, but it is YOU who has to walk it.
We have covered the need for you to clearly see your goal, and for you to use the power of belief to start walking down the path, but what's next?
The next step is the same for you as it is for an aspiring business owner, or a college freshman, or an artist staring at a blank canvas - you have to TAKE ACTION. You can read the top 2 sections of this article all day long, but doing so won't burn off any bodyfat, or pack any muscle tissue onto your body. Only appropriately carried out action can do that.
Think of all the self-help books that you have read, or programs that you have watched on TV, or listened to on the radio. Did any of them do you any good whatsoever if you didn't take action on what you had learned? What about what you have read so far in this article? Has it been helpful? Most likely. Will it do you any good if you don't Take Action? Nope. Negative. No way. Nada. You get the picture.
You can read, listen, and watch your way right into a bodyfat level that would make a sumo wrestler jealous, or consider your options until your muscles have diminished so much that you can't even lift a toast to your dearly departed dreams, but none of that will mean squat if you don't GET UP and make it happen!
Why are you still sitting here? Get out there and Take Action!
Aaron Potts is the owner and creator of Fitness Destinations, a content-filled health and fitness website for consumers as well as professionals in the fitness industry. Aaron's experience in the health and fitness industry includes one on one personal training in many different environments, maintenance of several health-related websites, and authoring of many fitness articles and fitness-related products for consumers and fitness professionals. Sign up for his weekly Fitness Journal at http://www.fitnessdestinations.com/journal.html