Exercising has always been about as enjoyable as having a blindfolded cocktail with Bill Cosby.
In my opinion.
When I was in middle school, I used to cut gym class.
That’s the kind of thing a kid does when the muthafucka has the physique of a Buddha statue.
It was such a horror show whenever it was time for gym; the ultimate pressure cooker for me.
In the three decades since then, little has changed in that area of my life.
Eleven weeks ago, I decided that I was going to start the process of changing that long running but humiliating truth.
I decided that I would show up at the gym for one workout. Just to start small on a desired habit.
It’s all a part of my personal development strategy. Crushing my limiting beliefs into oblivion is the mission.
What follows are 8 things that I learned from 48 workouts (and counting) in 68 days. I believe this might help you.
When The Universe Sends a Signal, Pay Attention
In 2019, I asked the Member Engagement Director at the gym if she could give me a discount on my membership.
My price was $55 monthly but she worked her magic. I got hooked up at $35 monthly. Happy as hell.
Over the next 12 months, I showed up at the gym exactly three times, and that was for a water fitness class! Yes, goofball me paid for my membership every month while staying almost completely absent.
I just couldn’t get myself to go. But this year on September 17th, I resurfaced to ask her to reinstate my recently lapsed membership. Turns out, my happy ass was eligible for a scholarship!
I was renewed at a teeny tiny $13.62 per month. With shit that cheap, I knew damn well that the universe conspired to send me a message.
I decided that this was a giant blessing and I had better take full advantage of it. Been rocking it ever since.
Starting Super Small is Super Important
Oftentimes, I’ve mentioned the amazing book, Atomic Habits by James Clear and how it has exponentially improved my life.
Clear explains that the best way to establish a habit is to begin at a very low level. With that in mind, I began with the intention to go 5 minutes on the treadmill at low speed.
It wasn’t about losing weight or beating my chest after a rigorous workout. It was only about showing up for one day, then hopefully, a couple more days that week.
I had to establish the habit of simply becoming a person who consistently goes to the gym to work out.
I also shot hoops for ten minutes. Starting small was super important because I wouldn’t have come back two days later for another workout if I had tried to do too much.
Habits are not a finish line to be crossed, they are a lifestyle to be lived. — James Clear
The difficulty and pain would’ve caused me to shut down, especially since I hadn’t had a true workout in almost two and a half years!
Don’t Overdo or Underdo
I knew that if I overdid my planned activities at the gym, that would’ve been a losing strategy starting out.
My focus had to be simple; show up and do what was planned. It was just as important to not underdo it either.
That means to never do less than planned simply because it hurt or I might be tired. I wasn’t going to let myself off the hook. After three weeks, I switched from three to five days per week once I worked my way up to that.
Adversity is Guaranteed, But if it Doesn’t Stop You, You’re on a New Level
There were multiple obstacles that came up which challenged my resolve in staying consistent.
Every damn time, I overcame the obstacle and made it to the gym. There were times that it’s been very inconvenient, but I did it regardless.
One day, I was left without my car because the shit broke down on my way to the gym and even that didn’t stop me.
I just leveled up, took two buses and showed up for my workout! By pushing through the B.S., I feel as though I have broken through to a new level of growth.
I Have Inspired People. And that Has Inspired Me More
It never dawned on me that I would be an inspiration to anyone at this early stage. I’m still a very overcaloried guy and I’m very far from my ultimate goal.
But my buddy at the gym (the director) told me that I inspired her to get back on track with her eating, which she had slacked on recently.
My very fit cousin told me that I inspired him, now he works out at least five days per week. As a result of all that, I’m more inspired to keep it going.
The longer I do it, the more I will accomplish personally. The more I accomplish personally, the more I will inspire others and their lives will elevate.
I have even launched a private Facebook group focused on a commitment to fitness and us members holding each other accountable.
Momentum is Everything
During a 13 month period spanning early 2017 to early 2018, I dedicated myself to eating very clean on a consistent basis and subsequently lost 78 pounds.
Soon after, I had begun to lose my focus and because I had stuck with it for longer than I ever had previously, I held a false sense of security.
That meant that I believed I could eat whatever and get right back on track. One too many times of doing that caused a chain reaction and I packed on the pounds again, plus more.
More than two and a half years later, it continues to be a supreme challenge trying to get back to the dedication that built such an outstanding weight loss.
I now realize that I took the importance of achieving momentum for granted. I read about it in the classic book, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and here I was fucking it up in 2018.
Once I established extreme dedication with my daily workouts, I knew that I re-gained momentum and I wouldn’t surrender it again. Otherwise, I couldn’t do any of this.
Consistently Doing Things Most People Won’t Do Builds Huge Confidence
I have gotten into the gym on many mornings early as hell. Sometimes as early as 6am. That means I’ve gotten up even earlier than that.
Because I know most people will never do that, including people that I have put on a pedestal in the past, I have an automatic mental edge and it gives me a huge level of self confidence.
Even taking the bus when my car broke down would definitely cause others to use that adversity as an excuse to not have to do it.
It’s very difficult to feel that anyone is superior to me when I’m pulling off winning actions such as those.
I Set Bigger Goals
Sticking to a five day per week workout plan is such a gigantic accomplishment for me, especially since I’m the kid who often cut gym class 30 years ago.
I was a lot more capable of exercising at 13 than I am now, and I was obligated to do it then. No one is forcing me now except myself.
As a result, I believe that I can do substantial things. My ceiling for achievement at the highest levels, including entrepreneurship, is infinite.
I have already committed to several ridiculously challenging goals for 2021; and my belief in my success is razor sharp.
That’s the power of doing shit that is hard, and doing it consistently.
I have experienced tons of self discovery during these eleven weeks and so can you. We are just getting started.