From the get-go, let’s establish a few things. First, I am not claiming to be an expert on addiction(s) and recovery, nor do I wish for this piece in any way to undermine the very real struggles the disease of addiction places on people.
Second, because you may be lazy, fat, out-of-shape and un-motivated, please don’t blame anyone or anything else, this is on you and your life choices, not some whimsical addiction. We are however trying to help you make lasting and positive changes through implementing a few effective strategies.
Thirdly, if we implement even 10% of the will-power and determination it takes to save yourself from life-threatening addictions, I believe we will be truly shocked at the results (health, fitness, aesthetic, most importantly psychological) we are able to achieve. Let’s go!
(Don’t Wait For) Rock Bottom
Many addicts really have to hit unbelievable lows before they are able to make the psychological commitment required to truly make the changes they need to save their lives and dig themselves out of their hole. That complete realisation that the situation they find themselves in is of their own doing is often the switch they need to turn things around. And it is powerful. But I don’t want You to need that Rock Bottom turnaround point. I want You to change before then…
You shouldn’t need to become so unhealthy you develop medical problems before you admit you have a problem. You should be able to look in the mirror and have a hard conversation with yourself.
You/We are all normal people endowed with the incredible gift of life and health. We often take it for granted though. We do make a lot of excuses as to why we don’t take care of ourselves. And those excuses are that will end up killing us.
“I don’t have time for real exercise, so I just don’t start it.”
or “My kids need me at home.”
or “I’m waiting to get fit enough before I join your gym.”
or “Once I’ve gotten on top of my new role at work I’ll get back into routine.”
or, a new favourite; “I’m waiting to get into a rhythm.”
If you find yourself having used one or many of these for an extended period of time to justify to yourself and others why you don’t take care of yourself, maybe you need to have a conversation with yourself about taking some responsibility…
Own Your Situation
When digging ourselves out of a hole, we need to realise 2 things. a) We put ourselves there through a series of choices, whether we want to accept that or not, and b) Only we can climb ourselves out of there.
It’s one of the hardest realisations to make. And harder to accept. But it is vital that we take responsibility for our own lives. It is surely not feasible that you will come to the end of your life and when asked by your Maker “Why did you not live up to your potential?”, that you answer “I was not allowed to by the people around me.”
Ultimately, in order to begin to repair themselves, all Addicts have to start with the realisation that they and they alone are responsible for their lives and choices. Therefore, why should that be any different for those of us who simply want to do better for ourselves?
We all need to accept that if we want to change our circumstances, we first need to take ownership of those circumstances and secondly we need to look at ourselves as the only person who can do the heavy lifting in terms of those changes.
Nobody else can live our lives for us, that is a fact. So stop waiting for someone else to take responsibility for your inability to walk for 20 minutes without stopping. Don’t look to anyone else to give you their upper-body strength when you are required to do a pull-up. That’s on you. Nobody can do it for you.
Once we have accepted our own roles and responsibilities in this process, we need to seek help. We need to talk about it. Honestly.
Find Your Tribe, Seek Help
If you are in a position where you lack knowledge on a topic, the best way to find out about it is not to stay silent and hope someone walks in your door with exactly what you’re looking for. The best thing to do is get up, get out, and find someone who can help you. And if the first person who speaks to you can’t help, they will likely be able to point you to someone who can.
So the process will continue. I’m not suggesting you put out unending “Facebook Recommendations” for gyms hoping someone will respond with an offer to pay your lifetime gym fees and do all your working out for you. Although that would be easier, it’s not realistic.
We need to get off the couch and get into the first place that scares the crap out of us because if it doesn’t scare us, it doesn’t challenge us. And if it doesn’t challenge us, it definitely won’t change us.
Once we’ve put ourselves into an environment that challenges us, we need to be open and honest with the people there. People respond better to honesty. They will help you if you are honest with your limitations, goals, hopes and fears. And most importantly, they will respect and support you if you are honest with your effort.
The realisation that while all the responsibility to change Your life lies squarely with You is an important one. It is equally as important to ensure you place yourself in an environment and community of people that are supportive, positive, honest and aware. When we find that community that drives us to a higher level of integrity and interaction, we have found a place that will drive us to succeed.
I can not emphasise this enough, be careful of people who compliment too easily, they will not help you. They will enable your weaknesses and flaws. If you truly want to change for the better, you need people who will push you and challenge you to strive for excellence on a daily basis, not just when it suits you.
The Effort Is For Today, Not Forever
This trick is the one that helps me the most I think. Often I can catch myself thinking of my ultimate goal and getting intimidated and scared by it. Mostly because I am scared of the huge difference of capacity that I possess now, as compared to the capacity I know I’ll need to achieve what it is I have set out to do. I experience this most, so I’ll speak personally.
I use those same negative feedbacks that are trying to trip me up are the things that drive me harder. I do this in two ways.
Firstly, those negatives are from my past. They are from the people who’ve told me all my life I’m not good enough to achieve those goals. Those negatives are from my own past failures – which I both enabled and allowed. To them, I say a hearty “FUCK YOU”. Those negatives are other people trying to put their limitations on me. And I allowed that for a long time. But no more. Now I’m living my own life. I’ll determine my successes. Proving those people wrong, and myself right becomes a fire that burns me every day. Turn their negatives into a positive for yourself.
Secondly, the fact I have so far to go scares the shit out of me, coz I have no idea how that will feel if what I’m doing now is already so hard. So I have to remind myself every day, that I cannot be measured by the future. It has no bearing on my effort today. All I CAN do is do the best I can for today. I capitalise on my time.
You, Me, Us, we all only have today. So it’s pointless worrying about tomorrow, we are not in control of that. We can only control our effort in the immediate environment we have access to in our lives – and that is our Today.
So we need to stop worrying about what went wrong yesterday. We need to channel the creeping doubts and negatives into positive energy. And we need to put all of those things into our efforts today.
For an Addict, that may be not having that drink.
For you and I, it’s about not making that excuse.
It’s about remembering that all we have is today.
It’s about remembering that we can’t achieve tomorrow’s goals if we don’t put in today’s work.
It’s about understanding that we have to make the absolute most of the opportunities that we have available TODAY, coz who knows what happens tomorrow.
It’s about not being controlled by what happened yesterday or last year. All you can do is deal with right now.
So get out and do it, right now: CHANGE YOUR LIFE.