A part of the whole fitness transformation journey that isn't nearly mentioned enough is your own behaviour and the lifestyle that follows from your behaviour. The beautiful thing is that behaviour is a very well studied discipline and there are many theories on how and why we behave the way we do.
During my time in med school and nutrition & dietetics studies, I have had the chance to study a part of the human behaviour. The most interesting thing I have learned is that your own behaviour can be greatly influenced if you have the right motivation and the right tools. See how I mentioned motivation there? It's because motivation to take a certain action or ease a certain craving is the main driver of animal behaviour.
And because changing your lifestyle is greatly a matter of making a change for the best, you need to know what the things are that will drive you to actually do your absolute best. Being aware of these main drivers will result in a greater chance of succeeding. And we all love to succeed, so get reading!
1. Be aware of the basic needs you are (not) fulfilling. Abraham Maslow was and still is a very popular psychologist who studied human behaviour. He established a hierarchy of the needs we express and the order in which we need to satisfy these to achieve maximum satisfaction. As you can see in the image, the absolute foundation of our needs is purely physical: we need to breathe, have access to enough food, we need to sleep etc. After that follows the need to be safe. We need a job, we need enough resources and need a moral compass, we need to be as healthy as can be and we need a turf to live on. The pyramid goes on like this, up until you reach the top: self-actualisation. This is the need to reach our full-potential as human beings. In this section you also want to be the fittest person you can be. Being aware of all the other needs you must fulfil in order to have undivided attention for your goals is vital. If you have a rocky foundation, your focus will be diverged and your chances of succeeding are lessened. Make sure you resolve any need in the pyramid so your attention can again change towards the top of the pyramid.
2. Make sure you are motivated from within. Intrinsic motivation is a term that we've probably all heard somewhere before. This is basically the innate motivation you have to do something. Make sure you are motivated by yourself in the first place. Why are you doing all of this? Are you really doing it for yourself? That is vital for you to realise: in order to succeed, you must want to succeed and enjoy the road towards succes. My clients sometimes tell me they don't like a certain exercise of just don't enjoy cooking. My advise is to think and focus on the parts that you do enjoy. That pump in the gym, the feeling of victory after you broke your personal record, the fun you have while performing different exercises. If you are having fun and are doing this for yourself, your motivation will last the longest.
3. Realise that your environment plays a part in your success. Wether you like it or not, your friends, family and the standards of the culture you live within play an important part in your success. How often do you hear people struggling with their healthy lifestyle among friends and family. I hear this all the time! Eating unhealthy meals because your friends serve you junk food, family telling you you are getting too skinny or too buff and many other examples. My advise is to turn this to your advantage. Talk to your friends and family and explain to them how important this is to you. Most people will understand and be supportive if you explain from the heart why something matters to you. Ask them to be supportive when you are feeling low or when you need them. Set some basic rules and ask of them to respect those rules. If your friends aren't supporting you after this, it might be a good idea to re-evaluate your friendships.
4. Work like a sprinter, think like a marathon runner. What most people on social media won't tell you is that building a healthy lifestyle and achieving your goals is a process that is longer than anyone would care to admit. I am not talking about weeks. I am talking about months to years. If you work hard and expect results to happen overnight, you are only fooling yourself. Your body needs time to change and your mind does as well. Work hard like a sprinter, but make sure your mind is on marathon mode: thinking about a long run. In fact, research has shown that just the simple fact of 'being in it for the long run' greatly increases your chances of succes. You won't easily quit, because your realise setbacks or disappointments are just a part of the long rocky road towards your personal succes. But there's more: focussing on an even longer commitment (lifelong commitment, never-ending pursuit of fitness) will increase your chances even more.
I've seen these 4 things do major changes for a lot of clients. Living to your fullest potential begins with awareness and I am more than happy to serve that to anyone willing and able. I've changed for the best because of these relatively simple changes and if I can do it so can you!
What are some crazy things you hear from friends and family? What are your major lifestyle pitfalls? Let me know in the comments or feel free to ask me anything!