Why place our happiness and self-worth on hold until we reach a particular fitness goal?
Why let our work determine whether we’re valuable or not?
Why let media, the guru down the street, your co-workers, or peers determine what’s good and what isn’t?
Whatever happened to living our own truth?
In 2015, my fragile psyche caught up to me. I quit writing. I quit working out. I quit eating healthy. I lost my identity. I was searching and clinging to something, but I didn’t know what that something was. I began to question if I made the right decision to leave medical school (along with many other things.)
Just as a phoenix goes through a re-birth, I needed to experience the same. I was emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically depleted.
Reinvention is not easy, nor is it pretty. A reinvention isn’t going to happen overnight, it’s a daily practice that requires consistency and repetition.
Here are ten actions I implemented to slowly get myself off the floor and change my life for the better.
1. Stare at the man in the mirror
Reinvention starts with taking a trip into our internal world.
If you want to lose weight, it’s up to you to make it happen. You can read plenty of books and psyche yourself up with fitness inspirational quotes, but at the end of the day, it’s about you taking action to make it happen.
Action triggers motivation, no matter the size of the action.
Talking about it isn’t enough (that’s merely pretending, something I was an expert at).
I talked about learning how to salsa dance for years and secretly envied dancers for years. I envied friends and peers who wrote books and shared their ideas through speaking.
After enough time, you realize that it’s no one’s fault that these events aren’t manifesting—the onus is on you.
2. What do you love doing?
Take a second and brainstorm at least ten things you love doing.
An unbalanced life where everything dictates around fitness isn’t ideal and eventually leads to burnout (trust me on this one).
Seek a balanced lifestyle. Doing this ensures yourself that you’re mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually addressing your components for a world class body and life.
After you wrote your list of ten things, pick two or three of them and start to pursue them.
3. Commit to movement every day
It’s not about the quantity or duration of your session, it’s about the quality and intensity of the session. It’s better to do a little every day than to do an astronomical amount a couple days out of the week.
Incorporating daily movement into your life programs your brain to become accustomed to exercise and rely less on willpower.
Daily movement doesn’t mean going to the gym every day and strength training. Daily movement on off days could be salsa dancing, walking for 30-60 minutes, yoga, hiking, or riding your bike. Your only objective is to get moving each-and-every-single-day.
4. Write down five things that scare the living hell out of you
The things that scare us the most are often what we need to grow as an individual.
I love people, but yet they equally terrify me. I’ve wanted to speak for a great deal of time, but fear has cemented me in asphalt.
Nevertheless, when it comes to your new goals and aspirations, you must attack your fears with aggression. Realize that those moments of feeling uncomfortable, uncertain, and nervous are positive signs that you’re heading in the right direction of growing in fitness and within your life.
Change isn’t going to happen inside your safe bubble of comfort and familiarity.
5. Pick two or three of those scary things and start doing them
I choose public speaking, asking for help, and salsa dancing.
What about you?
You can accomplish anything you set your mind to, but not all at once. Pick only a couple new things that scare you and put your focus on those.
Don’t place unbearable expectations on yourself. Keep it small, consistent, and over time, these seemingly insignificantly actions magically add up to an impressive body of work.
6. Write down how you envision yourself and what success is
This is about you making a declaration for your fitness and life. Establishing a vision provides a “why” to justify the actions that you’re taking on a daily basis.
Without a vision, you’re walking aimlessly into the forest without a compass or the stars to guide you.
How will you know what succeeding in fitness and life looks and feels like if you haven’t determined it?
Without establishing what success is to you, you run the risk of letting the external world determine if you’re a success or not.
7. Find some support
Nothing is accomplished in this world by yourself.
Everyone needs someone that they can lean their shoulders on or fall back into during hard times.
Whether it’s finding a workout partner or joining a community of like-minded individuals, find some form of accountability and support along your fitness journey.
Layout challenges for each other and clearly state what you want and let them help you form a blueprint for succeeding.
8. Take a 30-day challenge
This action-oriented challenge is focused on improving your habits, behaviors and quality of life.
Here are a couple of ideas:
Emotionally: Starting saying “no” more often and valuing your time.
Spiritually: Give gratitude each day for two to three new things. You could even try meditating for as little as ten minutes each day.
Mentally: Read every day and become aware of the information you’re consuming. Ask yourself “Does this information bring me joy and provide a benefit or is it mindless entertainment serving as a procrastination tool from important work?”
Physically: Commit to walking each day for as little as 20-30 minutes.
9. Feed your brain with only premium information
If you’re on a heavy binge of bad reality TV, obsessing over the latest celebrity news, and vicariously living through Instagram photos (newsflash, that isn’t the real world)—then expect your life to be a manifestation of your consuming habits.
Is the majority of your information making you a better man, benefiting your career, improving your relationships, and making you healthier? Or is it just serving as a distraction and preventing boredom?
10. Track your results and hold yourself accountable
What isn’t measured won’t improve.
Pick a couple daily habits and behaviors to focus on. Have a calendar and mark an “x” on the days that you complete your new behavior and make it a goal to not break the chain.
As with most things in life, results aren’t going to happen with the flick of the wrist. But, if you show up each day and trust the process—a new you will appear before you even realize it.
This article was originally published at The Art of Fitness & Life.