Don't Let Instant Gratification Interfere With Your Results
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This is Teresa Cedeno. I'm a personal trainer, and I'm going to help you manifest a healthier life.
We live in a world of instant gratification, thanks to technology. You can get food delivered in under an hour. Amazon ships anything you can think of in two days or less. And magazines like Women's Health promise you flat abs in two weeks. With everything at your fingertips, it's easy to assume that the same fast results translate to your health and fitness goals. Unfortunately, our human software is still running on version 1.0. Our physiology hasn't adapted to processed foods and our sedentary lifestyle.
So how can we remain level-headed and motivated in a world where instant results aren't a feature of the human body? Well, it means you need to learn skills that enable you to stick with new habits until they become your default way of life. A habit that you can begin with is this episode's manifest challenge. So stick around to hear all about it.
Clarify Your Goals
In order to counter your desire for instant results, you need to identify what you want to accomplish. Being able to define what you want will help keep you motivated throughout your journey. The best way to get results is creating daily habits that work towards your goals. But working as a personal trainer, I've come across clients who are lost in what they want. The broader the goal, the harder it is to establish daily habits, therefore, it takes longer to see results you want. The most common goal I hear is "I want to be healthier," but healthy is such a broadly defined term. What I mean is healthy for Nicole means transitioning to a dairy-free diet. In contrast, Robert states he wants to get healthier by lowering his cholesterol. And for Lillian, it means having energy throughout the day and being able to climb stairs without being out of breath. A clear goal must be specific, measurable, and realistic so you can identify which daily habits will help you.
Clarify Why You Want to Reach Your Goals
To make these goals stick, you also need to determine why you're committed to a lifestyle transformation. Changing for self-centered reasons will outlast any superficial motivations. If you change because you want your body to be healthy the struggle will seem worth it. Whereas, if you're motivated to change because you want to impress your crush or comply with society's archetype of beauty, these same healthy habits will seem like punishments. Once you have figured out your goals and the intrinsic reasons driving your decisions, write them down somewhere. You will refer to them periodically throughout your journey to encourage you or to revise them. Breaking down long-term goals into daily habits will satisfy your craving for instant gratification.
Another misconception of instant result culture is assuming that your progress will be smooth sailing. Although you hear change is difficult, people expect they will be the exception and showed great progress in little time. But that's fairy tale thinking. Life is not perfect and changing your habits is no different. I find not a lot of people talk about this, but it's important to realize you will have setbacks and that's normal. Your setbacks are by no means a reflection of your abilities or value. It's just a part of doing something new. If you're getting back on track, you aren't exempt either usually, you're managing a new living situation or schedule. The best thing you can do is to write down all of your obstacles and figure out solutions for them. If you have a busier schedule, figure out if you can multitask or add some exercises to what you're doing. Remember, instant results only appear in before and after photos. The reality is prioritizing your healthy habits, doing them every day, and finding solutions when obstacles stand in your way.
Find Your Tribe
Another strategy to implement is surrounding yourself with like-minded people. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Jim Rohn who says, "You are the reflection of the five people you spend the most time with." Now, I'm not telling you to ditch your friends and family if they aren't joining you. But it's important to have people who will encourage you, celebrate your accomplishments, and be there to answer questions. Humans thrive when we are surrounded by a community. And your fitness success is no different. You can find health and fitness enthusiasts everywhere like social media, work, or your local gym. Having people to engage with about your fitness journey will refocus your attention from the pressures of seeing instant results to the enjoyment of the activity. Seeing someone progress throughout their journey will help you manage your own expectations and value the progress you've made.
Be aware though. Your support system isn't there to do the work for you or convince you to follow your healthy habits. You still have to do the work and push yourself. That's why it's a good idea to clarify how your support system will help you. Are you going to work out together? Will you be learning from them? Will you motivate each other by sharing funny means and positive messages? Remember, you are not alone in your journey. And although before and after photos may have inspired you to begin, a community will inspire you to stay consistent.
Now that you've found your tribe, what can you do about the people around you that aren't helping like that one friend who always invites you to go out for dinner and drinks? In situations like these, you need to practice moderation. Without it, it's likely you will fall prey to temptation, a dinner here, a lunch there, a few drinks tonight. It doesn't seem that bad. But just this once thinking is instant gratification actively foiling all of your efforts. Instead, set firm but realistic boundaries. Figure out how many times this month you will have events or are planning to let loose. And once you figured it out, stick to it. Remember, you are in control and you have the power to set the pace. While you're setting your own pace, it's a good idea to create systems that celebrate your progress. In pursuit of instant results, people follow a clean diet and reward themselves with cheap meals but create a cycle of deprivation that trains the brain to associate diet and health with punishment. Punishing yourself until you reach your goal is not beneficial for your mental health or the sustainability of your progress. That said, instead of rewarding yourself with food, find a non-food-related treat for the milestones of your journey. If you've reached a record time for your walk, treat yourself with a nice bubble bath. The point is to choose rewards that help you, not sabotage you.
The world operates quickly. But we need to remember our bodies are way behind operating on ancient physiology. On the bright side, there is a beauty in sticking to a plan for so long because it builds your confidence. You'll realize you can do anything you set your mind to. And the results you obtain will feel like a bigger accomplishment. Even though we're bombarded today with instant results, remember they don't happen in a day. But if you stick to it, you'll be able to enjoy your before and after photos and your new lifestyle.
Now it's time for this episode's Manifest Challenge. The challenge is to write down your goals, the intrinsic motivation that drives them, and what daily habits will help you achieve them. Share them with the Fitness Manifest community using the #ManifestChallenge. And let's be each other's support system. Thank you for listening to another episode of the Fitness Manifest Podcast. I'm your host, Teresa Cedeno. And I'll be cheering you on.
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