Tomorrow is 2 weeks back in the gym after the most recent UK lockdown. A lot of people have returned to the gym, or started for the first time. I hope you're all really enjoying it!
You might be concerned with how well you'll stick to these things when your motivation, and the initial excitement starts to wane. There are steps you can take to implement to help complement these new habits, and a major one is shaping your environment.
Our environment is massive in forming our habits. We fit our habits, and our personality to the culture of the environment we occupy. When I did my Precision Nutrition course, one of the first things they suggest to help people lose weight is to change their physical environment - by removing foods that they would easily over eat, and replace them with lower calorie options.
What I'm suggesting here includes this kind of thing but also goes beyond that.
If you want to ensure that you stick to your new, or recently returned to, habits then you could surround yourself with like minded people, follow positive fitness accounts on social media or maybe sign up to fitness based newsletters. Yes, that is a hint.
This is the reason I created my powerlifting groups and also why I helped with making the group pages and helped organise the socials for Taylor's Strength in my time as manager.
My powerlifting group is filled with like minded, knowledgeable and equally inspired people who will help keep old hands and newbies focused on their powerlifting goals.
The community I've built within my group and within Taylor's as a whole is what I'm most proud of in my fitness career.
Sure, the national and international accomplishments of my lifters are brilliant, but these are made possible, and celebrated by, the group of powerlifters around them supporting them through it.
Keep your habits of the past two weeks going, and provide an environment for yourself in which you and those habits can flourish. Sign up to that newsletter, join that gym, sign up with that coach - any of these things. Find what keeps you motivated and supported and go for it.
In Case You Missed It - I have a new article up on Medium/Better Humans. You can find it here - The Powerlifter's Guide to a Bigger Bench/Chest.
When it comes to training, dieting or forming any new habit it can be easy to go either all or nothing in your approach. This can often lead to building up so much pressure to do everything 100% right that if one thing goes slightly off, the whole thing will then go out of the window.
This mentality is often seen when people first attempt a diet, or a training plan or any new skill. I'm sure everyone has given up on something after their first failed go - there's no judgment, I just want to explain how this is a regular occurence but also an avoidable one.
When acquiring a new skill, whether that be a new way of training, a new way of dieting, a new language or even a magic trick - what is needed is constant practice. It doesn't have to be perfect all of the time.
In Atomic Habits, James Clear uses the analogy of the ice cube melting. All the way from 0 degrees to 31 degrees nothing happens and that would appear to be 31 steps of nothing, of failure. However, as soon as it hits 32 degrees, it melts. That final degree was no more important than the other degrees, rather every step preceeding it was crucial, with each one building up to something more.
So if you're attempting a fat loss diet for 3 weeks and haven't seen any movement in the 21 days so far, it might not be that it's not working, it might just be awaiting it's own tipping point. (As a note, every time I've dieted I've gone through phases of 3-4 weeks with no movement which has then been followed by a sudden drop).
So, what's the alternative to all or nothing? Give yourself a grade - think back to university, sixth form/college or school, it was very rare that people got 100% marks in their work. They often got A, B, C's etc but once you had that grade, that was all people cared about in terms of your output.
So if you have a day where you've hit 90% of your goals, give yourself an A* for that. If you've had a day with 70%, give yourself a C but know that you're a lot closer to your goal then you would be with a 0%.
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