Tis the season for #fitnessmotivation. Between being bombarded with mid-term election commercials, end of the year deadlines, and the sleep ruining debacle known as daylight savings time, it’s easy to fall off the workout wagon at the end of the year.
Unfortunately, you can’t count on “wisdom” that belongs in fortune cookies to help you look good naked. Nor can you count on hardass sayings that belong on t-shirts.
Neither will drag your sleep deprived, bleary eyed carcass out of bed and into the gym on cold mornings.
What’s a better and more effective option?
Remove Motivation To Set Yourself Up For Fitness Success
Sure, giving tough love and saying “suck it up, buttercup” sounds great in theory, but this isn’t high school football.
So, what is the one thing that really helps people stick to their fitness routine, get stronger and look better naked?
First, set a schedule. Second, create consequences for inaction.
And no, I’m not talking about additional running laps. I’m talking about removing hard earn cash from your pocket.
Let me explain. If you’re here, you’re probably in the minority of folks who enjoy exercise. But we both know it’s never enjoyable to do anything you don’t like, whether it’s watching Blake Bortles “play” quarterback, cleaning crusties off your toilet bowl, or eating a bland diet of pungent canned tuna and soggy broccoli.
Instead of wondering….
“Will I be motivated to lift after a long day at work and sitting in traffic?”
“Can I really stick to workouts before work?”
“Do I have enough time to exercise today?”
You need discipline to drive action, and consequences for inaction, not cheesy #mondaymotivation quotes.
HOW TO MAKE IT WORK
We need to set rigid guidelines to clarify action and purpose in today’s work. Currently, we all have too many choices throughout our day, whether it’s deciding where to go for lunch or which popular diet to follow. As pointed out in the Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz, our plethora of options isn’t doing us any favors physically or psychologically.
“Autonomy and freedom of choice are critical to our wellbeing, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.”
— The Paradox of Choice, 2004
Basically, we have so many choices we have no idea what to do with ourselves. This leads us to piss our time away on social media and snapchatting “date night” instead of being present, doing deep work, and yes–crushing workouts.
We focus on tasks that are neither associated with our goals or have any positive impact on our lives.
They’re just empty entertainment at the cost of your goals. With this in mind, I propose an idea have a directive to get you back on track to building your best body.
Step One: PLAN EXERCISE, SO ACTION IS NO LONGER A CHOICE.
Your ability to set a schedule and make decisions based on their benefit, rather than your raw emotion separates you as a human from an animal. It also separates who look great naked, crush life, and those rely on spurts of motivation to be productive.
Plan Your Workouts Like A Meeting
If you don’t take control of your health and relationships, everything you do professionally rests on a faulty foundation. For this reason, it’s essential to set your schedule with your health and relationships in mind.
I recommend grabbing a piece of paper and outlining your day by the hour. Sound tedious? It may be, but it’s also the best way to get more out of every day and escape from “never having time” to stay in shape.
Here’s the process:
First, add in non-negotiables into your day, whether it’s date night with your significant other.I add in non-negotiables like date night on Wednesdays first.
Second, I add in what time I need to wake-up and go to bed.
Third, schedule in your self-care and workouts.
Fourth, add in your work day and you’re set.
The truth is, hoping you can make time for anything nearly guarantees you wont.
Schedule workouts like any other meeting or event. Organize your life and responsibilities around them. Protect the asset.
When days get crazy?
It’s okay to dial back your training or trim a workout to a fifteen-minute bodyweight circuit. But it’s not okay to completely stop training for weeks or months on end.
When you remove choices, you’re only left with the option to take action and succeed.
Step Two: Tie In A Punishment
To accomplish any goal you need a plan, and the accountability of someone (or something) you deeply don’t want to disappoint. Yes, world-class online coaching like Bach Performance is always an option, but here’s another one that uses the powerful principle of loss aversion. Here’s what to do:
Take out $150 in cash in $5 denominations. Grab two envelopes, one labeled “hits,” and the other labeled “misses.” Tell someone you need their help to keep you accountable this month.
Hits: Plan a night out 30 days from now or a purchase that costs $150. Start with all your money in the “hits” envelope.
Misses: Think of a cause or charity you hate. Politics seem to have everyone’s panties in a bunch, so pick a politician you despise.
What to do: Every time you miss a workout, take five bucks from your “hits” envelope and put it into your misses. At the end of the month, send your hard earned cash to your misses.
Why this Works: Tying in punishment, especially cold hard cash, is based on the principle of loss aversion. Loss aversion is the powerful tendency of people to avoid loss. By tying in real consequences for not taking action, you can reinforce action.
Putting Your Plan To Action
We all have the same 24 hours. If you want to look great naked instead of googling “how to lose fat” by the time 2019 comes around, you need to set yourself for success.
Take a moment and breakdown your day. Plan your personal time and self-care first.
Use the envelope system to tie in a reward: consequence system for accountability.
If you swing…and miss? That’s okay. We all fuck up, but you still need to put $5 into the “misses” envelope. Use screw-ups as a reason to get back on track. Pick yourself up and make the next best decision…or fund something you despise.
But if you stay in the dugout and skip workouts? You’ll stay the same…searching for the magic cure and fall into the same vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting and program hopping. Plus you’ll waste $150, which really sucks.
We all have choices. Stop treating exercise as an option, make it an event.
Your ability to set a schedule and limit decisions preserves your ability to make the right decisions for the goals you really want to achieve.
Follow Eric and get tons of awesome fitness advice on his Instagram at Bach Performance.
More From Eric Bach On BroBible: