Instant coffee. Instant technology. Instant photographs. Instant meals. Instant transactions. It seems that everything these days is instant – it is all about how fast things can be done and how quickly something can be accomplished. We want it fast, and we want it NOW!
We’re all about jumping queues, self-service checkouts, online shopping and DIY-ing anything we possibly can (usually from our smart phones). I mean, many of us would even rush off to Dr Google before an actual doctor a lot of the time. We don’t want to wait for anything anymore. We are so accustomed to everything being done straight away that ‘patience’ is pretty much stuff of legends.
Time is precious – I get that, but our obsession with immediacy can effect our perceptions of reality and realistic time-frames. We want instant success, instant gratification and instant results.
What do we want? EVERYTHING!
When do we want it? NOW!
Wouldn’t it be nice if fitness was instant too? If our dream body would just appear right before our eyes after one set of squats and a couple of bicep curls. If we could have a perfect set of abs after just one crunch and drop 10kg after eating just one salad.
Of course that would be nice – in fact, it would be amazing! But newsflash; health and fitness doesn’t work like that. Some things just don’t happen overnight. Some things actually do require time, persistence, hard work and patience. A bang’n body and optimum health being one of those things.
I personally believe that our society’s obsession with instant everything is a huge contributing factor to why so many people give up on their goals. (And I’m sure also why people often get caught up in the phenomenon of fad diets that claim to give you results in mere weeks or days). Like with everything else in this world, it’s as if we have come to expect change to occur almost straight away… and then when that doesn’t happen we get completely bummed out. We feel frustrated to the point of giving up.
And yes I am totally guilty of this. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to it. Numerous times in the past I have wanted to (or even have) given up on my goals because it’s seemed like all the effort and hard work wasn’t paying off. It’s pretty deflating when you are seemingly doing everything right – eating well, exercising regularly, looking after your body both inside and out and yet nothing changes. It’s easy to get caught up thinking it is all a complete waste of time and effort. But then you have to ask yourself ‘am I putting a realistic timeframe on this?’
Achieving your health and fitness goals isn’t instant. It’s a process. A long, sometimes tedious one. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes dedication and commitment. And while sometimes it may feel like nothing is working and your body isn’t changing, giving up is certainly not going to get you to your dream physique any faster. Instead, take a step back, reevaluate and remember the following things…
Change takes time. Kind of like the weight didn’t pile on in a overnight, it’s not going to miraculously disappear that quickly either. You cannot expect something that has taken weeks, months, maybe even years to develop to immediately vanish within a short timeframe. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Be realistic. It’s going to take time and you’ll need to exercise some patience along the way.
Hard work is the key to success. As the saying goes ‘nothing worth having comes easy’. True that! Yes, it is going to be hard at times, you’re not always going to feel like working out, you will have to make difficult decisions in tempting situations, you are going to encounter challenges and yes, you are going to push your mind and your body to its absolute limits but do you know what? At the end of the day, it’ll be worth it. If you really want something you will make it happen. Hard work pays off.
Consistency is key. If you want to see results you must be consistent. You can’t expect positive changes to occur if one day you eat really well, exercise and stay on track but the next day you revert back to lazy behaviour, binge eating and unhealthy habits. If you want results you have to be consistent day in day out. Being healthy every once in a while ain’t going to do the trick. Be 100% committed 100% of the time.
Be honest with yourself. Take a good honest look at your lifestyle and ask yourself ‘how hard am I really trying?’ Are you really, truly, honestly doing everything you possibly can to achieve your goals? Are you sticking to your diet and fitness regime with unfaltering commitment? Are you exercising every day like you promised yourself or have you slacked off? Have you been eating healthy, nutritious meals or did that cheat meal turn into a cheat day, maybe even a cheat week? Be honest.
Stay accountable. Find someone (or something) you can be accountable to. Having an accountability person – someone you can check in with every time you need an extra push to hit the gym, feel tempted to eat something naughty or require a little bit of motivation, is a great tool for keeping on track. This way you are not only liable to/for yourself, but to someone else as well. Your accountability person will become like your support network and a huge comfort. Another way to stay accountable is to keep a food and exercise journal documenting the things you eat and the physical activity you do. It’s a great way to keep tabs of energy intake and energy expenditure. Plus it could narrow down potential reasons for why you are struggling to reach your goals.
Turn your setbacks into comebacks. Your health and fitness journey isn’t always going to be smooth sailing. You will have little slip ups and temptation will sometimes get the better of you… and that’s ok. It happens. It’s part of life. We can’t be perfect 100% of the time. What is important in these situations is how you react to them and whether you move on from them. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘oh, well I’ve already stuffed up now, I might as well give up completely’. NO! A small mistake is no excuse to give up. Take the opportunity to learn from your setback and use it as fuel to come back stronger and more committed to your goals!
Focus on the small successes and mini milestones. If you only ever focus on the big goal it’s highly likely you are going to get disappointed. The end goal is probably going to take a lot of time and hard work to achieve, therefore constantly tunnel visioning on just that will most likely have you feeling like you are getting nowhere. Instead, set yourself little mini goals along the way to help keep you motivated, all whilst still keeping sight of the final destination. Every time you achieve a new personal best, drop a kg on the scales, loose cm from your waist or up your weights on a particular exercise reward yourself with a high five, a pat on the back and maybe some new gym gear. Each little milestone is something to be proud of and will serve as a reminder that you are on your way to your final goal and that change is happening.
Have faith in the process. Trust me, I know exactly what it’s like to do absolutely everything right and still see no positive results. It is disheartening, frustrating and frankly it sucks balls!!! When seemingly nothing is changing it certainly is it very difficult to be optimistic, but this is when you have to have faith. You have to believe in the process – know wholeheartedly that you will reach your goals.
Remember why you started. Sometimes when it all gets too hard and you want to give up, just thinking back to why you started is enough to pick yourself up again. Were you unhappy with the way you looked? Did you always feel lethargic and sluggish? Is there a holiday or big event coming up you want to look amazing for? Were you simply just sick of your unhealthy lifestyle? What was it that got you started? Next time you are feeling deflated, just remember that there is a reason why you embarked on this journey and gave yourself these health and fitness goals.
As long as you are consistent, have faith in the process and believe in yourself, you WILL reap the rewards. Hard work will pay off. Just stick to it.
“Never give up on your dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway”
Love Elo xx