Last Updated on June 1, 2017 by Michael Brockbank
In reality, your strongest opposition to being healthy is yourself. You can make excuses why you can’t exercise, but it all boils down to not having the motivation do get into shape. There’s always something you can do that benefits your life. All you need is a way to challenge yourself.
Challenge Yourself for Success
Everyone has their own set of excuses why they can’t focus on health and fitness. However, that’s all these situations are: excuses. I’m guilty of this myself. I know how hard it is sometimes to get motivated to be great at something. Unfortunately, these excuses nearly killed me…literally.
If it wasn’t for my change of effort at the beginning of 2017, I have no doubt I would have suffered a heart attack by now. After my heart stopped briefly in 2016, I knew something had to change.
You don’t have to wait until death comes knocking on your door before you do something about life. All you need to do is find something that is motivational and to challenge yourself.
Step 1: Find Inspiration
Inspiration for greatness can be found across any industry. Some graphic designers focus on Picasso. Writers will often be enamored by Stephen King. Who is inspirational to your future in health?
For me, inspiration comes from Ryan Reynolds. Yes, I’m a fan of the man. As I am going through a bit of a mid-life crisis, Ryan Reynolds has been a great inspiration to me. Let me explain.
Once I hit the age of 40, my mental fitness took a nose dive. I started to feel like I was too old to enjoy the things I love and that all I could look forward to was AARP brochures and walkers. I was out of shape, obese and extremely sad in my life as it was. Acute depression is probably a more apt description.
It wasn’t until I was playing around on the Internet when I realized that I am just a month or two older than Ryan Reynolds…one of my favorite celebrities. It was shocking that we were the same age. After all, he’s Deadpool!
At that point, I started to realize that I’m not too old to enjoy the things I love. I doubt that I will be in Time Magazine’s Man of the Year issue, but why not try?
Step 2: Identify Your Weaknesses
The best way to fix your weaknesses is to honestly identify them. This can be quite difficult for some because it requires a level of trust within yourself. No one likes to point out their own shortcomings, but it needs to be done. You can’t fix a problem and challenge yourself if you don’t know where to start.
My heart was on its way to failure. Since I don’t have the money to get checked up at a doctor, I figured the best way to address the weakness was to make it stronger. At which point, I started walking and adding cardio into my daily activities.
Now, I started slow because dying in the middle of Los Angeles where no one knows me would just be a whole new level of suck. Slowly, I added more and more distance to my walks to get myself into shape. After a little over a month, my heart stopped fluttering and feeling like someone was constantly punching it.
Five months later, I broke a personal record by walking 4.5 miles in one hour and 11 minutes.
If you try to do too much right from the get go, you vastly increase the risk of suffering a heart attack. It needs to be a gradual change in your lifestyle. You don’t want to wind up in the morgue because you challenge yourself by doing a 5k when you obviously could not.
The point is that you need to see where you’re weaknesses lie if you want to fix the problem. Set conceit aside and honestly find what areas of yourself need the most work.
In my case, it was just about everything…both physical and mental.
Step 3: Research the Best Ways to Challenge Yourself
Not everyone will have the same experience when it comes to exercise and diet plans. What works exceptionally well for one person may not be helpful for another. This is because of two major factors: physiology and focus.
Although humans are similar in nature, we are all very different. Allergies, strengths, weaknesses and other elements influence how we develop individually. It may take a bit of trial and error to find what works for you. However, the end result will be customized for your own unique existence.
I tend to lean towards gamification of some kind. This means I turn fitness into something that is enjoyable; something more akin to a game. For example, I use Exercise.com to record my workouts to break personal records and compete against others on the website. Currently, I am in the top 1000.
One of my personal challenges is to dress as Captain America for Halloween. I would go as Deadpool, but I want to show off my physique through my costume…which is why I am still toying with the idea of going as Venom. I suppose I could go as Deadpool from X-3, but I believe that movie was an epic failure on every level.
Step 4: Commit Yourself to Change
I suspect that a lot of people fear changes that will come from being fit and healthy. A lot of you might be pretty set in your ways. I know I was. But if you want to live longer and happier, it’s a change that needs to be done.
I find goals to be very beneficial for commitment. That is, goals that you can do in a realistic way. Wanting to look like an underwear model from a magazine might be reaching pretty high. Start with something that is easier to accomplish. For example, I was pretty excited to finally hit 20 push-ups.
Don’t get sucked into believing you need to invest a ton of money to become fit. In reality, you don’t need yearly gym memberships or the latest technology from Bowflex to lose weight or challenge yourself. All it really takes is a commitment to change your habits.
The first thing you need to realize is that we are grossly overfed as a society. Stick to proper portions when you eat. For instance, an eight-ounce steak is actually closer to three meals worth of meat…not one dinner. A snack of Oreos is two cookies, not the entire row in a bag.
Any activity beyond your normal routine is going to benefit your health. This doesn’t mean you have to jump on a treadmill or commit to grueling exercise routines you find mundane or boring. Taking a nice walk through the park is helpful. Doing yard work or gardening can help you physically as well as make your property look nice. Do anything that gets your heart pumping.
Step 5: Try to One-Up Yourself
Being healthy is a life-long commitment. You just can’t reach your goal weight and give up. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in the same position you were before. Constantly try to one-up yourself. This is where breaking personal records comes into play.
Even if your personal best is only five push-ups, practice makes perfect. When I started, my record was eight…and that was with the whole vein popping out of my forehead experience. Now, I can push past 20. I’m not trying to be a body builder or the best in the world. I just want to be better than I am.
And that is the most important key to remember. Commit to being better than you are today…at anything. Whether you’re a writer, painter, actor or cashier at McDonald’s, never settle for being mediocre.
I know this from experience. Mediocrity is a terrible way to go through life. You miss out on opportunities both emotional and financial.
Don’t Stand in Your Own Way
Whether it’s changing the portion size of your food or improving your fitness level, don’t stand in your own way for success. Realize that when you spend your life sitting and watching TV while others have to clean your home because you cannot get up yourself, you’re actually stepping closer to your own grave.
The only time you should use the motorized carts at Walmart is if your leg is broken or you suffer from an ailment that legitimately prevents you from walking. Put in the effort to change your life. It’ll be over before you know it, especially if you’re unhealthy.