For the last eight years, I’ve worked out three to four times a week almost every single week. I remember clearly how I started working out. In 2001 I was 6’3″ and 175 lbs with a mild pot belly. I was so skinny it looked like my head might roll off my body. Like a lot of people, the first few times I tried working out I got really gung ho about it and swore that I was going to start working out every day and get “jacked.” Three work outs later I found plenty of reasons to flake out on that promise and stop going to the gym.
I did this a couple times before the gym finally became a part of my life. One day I was at the doctor’s office and I picked up a men’s health magazine. It had a list of motivational things to do to get back in the gym. One of the points changed my life: “If you commit to going to the gym, you go no matter what.” No matter what happens, you at least show up and touch the gym door. No excuses.
Changing my perspective on working out from something optional to something I must do because I’ve committed to it completely changed my relationship with the gym. Believe me, I was pretty upset about it when snow storms hit Boston and I was trudging through a foot of snow just to get to the gym. But it was worth it. Had I not made that commitment I would have never fallen in love with fitness like I have. I also learned what I was capable of.
It’s funny how people will move mountains to not break their word to other people but are so willing to let themselves down. We do it all the time. Every time you skip a workout, or don’t cook that meal you were planning to make yourself, or don’t follow through on researching that new business idea you had, or go out with your friends instead of getting some rest as you had promised yourself, or do anything that you told yourself you wouldn’t do. Letting yourself down is the easiest thing to do because you have no one to hold yourself accountable to.
If you have a friend who consistently promises to do things and then flakes out, pretty soon you’ll either stop being friends or you just won’t trust that person anymore. Imagine what happens to your mind when you consistently make promises to do things and then flake out. You stop being friends with yourself. Subconsciously, you stop trusting yourself. And honestly, if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?
The first step to starting a healthy lifestyle is making yourself accountable to yourself. If your word is rock solid to other people, take that same discipline and apply it to yourself. Give yourself the same respect you give others. Now commit to making a lasting change in your life.