It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers when you’re trying to change your body. The weight, the inches, the clothes size.
Don’t get me wrong, this stuff absolutely matters. But to reshape your body we need to shift focus. We need to reshape your habits.
The exercise and nutrition habits you have now were probably developed without your conscious attention. They’re your default habits. And they’ve delivered you to your ‘default’ body.
This is good news. Because if you’re not cool with your default body you can change it simply by changing your default habits.
In today’s post I want to share with you one particular habit – exercise – along with a tried and tested approach you can use to turn your habits, health and fitness around in just 21 days.
Sure, creating new habits (and breaking old ones) can be tough. Particularly if you don’t have a proven strategy to take the ‘behaviour change’ bull by the horns.
One of the primary reasons people fail to create and sustain the habits necessary to achieve the body they want is because:
– They don’t know what to expect when implementing something new
– They don’t have a winning strategy for implementing and maintaining their new habit
From years of reading, research, study and experimentation with myself and a whole host of members from the DF community I’ve reached the conclusion that you absolutely can master new exercise and nutrition habits that’ll lead you to the body you want. And it only takes 21-30 days to lay the foundation, even if you’ve failed in the past.
But here’s the catch: this time you simply must have the right approach.
You’re about to get the most effective strategy for taking back control of your body: the 21 day challenge
One of the biggest obstacles to you getting life changing results is a lack of strategy for implementing and sustaining the habits that align with the body you want.
A big piece of this is not knowing what to expect, and not being prepared for the mental and emotional challenges that lay ahead. All of which are part of the process.
So I want to equip you with a primer to help you succeed. By breaking down one particular habit: regular exercise into 4 distinct phases. And understanding what to expect at each stage.
Here’s a quick overview:
When you first start out you’ll feel nervous, but perhaps a little excited. You’re taking action towards your goals. You feel positive that you’re finally doing something. It’s all new.
There’s the usual struggles of having to re-arrange your schedule, sort childcare or remember to take your gym kit to work. But you manage it. It’s all going to be worth it.
You’re even willing to put up with the discomfort of having everyone else see how unfit you are (even though they’re too busy worrying about what you ought be thinking about them!).
Your body feels challenged by the exercises. It’s shocked. Being hot, shakey and out of breath isn’t something it particularly likes.
Frankly it’s gotten used to having its own way. And it’s wondering what the hell you think you’re doing to it. But you manage… For now.
You’ve been working out for a few days now. The newness is kinda wearing off. And all that’s left is the discomfort, the self consciousness of being ‘new’ to exercise, the feeling of being out of breath and unfit.
Your mind starts to reject the change. You think “I hate this! I don’t like how it feels” and more than once you’ll feel like you can’t go on.
You don’t want to keep going. You’re tired, stressed, busy and adding exercise into the mix just feels like another thing to add to your already over loaded workload.
The problem for most people is they don’t realise these unbearable feelings are only temporary. That they’re part of the process. The universe is testing you out, to see how serious you are about changing.
It’s the part of your identity we’ll call the ‘old’ you kicking up a fuss, attempting to prevent the new, improved you from breaking through.
The voice in your head reminds you that this is why you’ve never succeeded at it before. That you may as well forget getting in shape. The old you is adament that this is how exercise is always going to be.
And at this point you think “sod it!” and throw in the towel.
And this is the cycle we end up in. Try make a change. Struggle, fail to see it though then back to square one.
When you know the first 10 days are going to be crappy you can be prepared. You understand that’s it’s just the price you’re going to pay for succeeding.
But most importantly – you know it’s only temporary. And if feeling good about yourself and your body is worth it you’re willing to put up with anything for a measly 10 days, right?
Knowing that these feelings are only temporary you decide to knuckle down, push through it and advance on to phase 3.
Once you’ve made it through phase 2 things start to get a little better.
You’ll be getting used to your new exercise habits, and you’ll have developed a little confidence in your ability to ride out the challenging times.
While days 11-20 aren’t unbearable, they’re not exactly comfortable. It’ll be tempting to fall back into your old ways. Either letting work take over, catering to everybody else’s needs, or just not being bothered anymore.
It’ll still feel easier to skip a workout than to get it done. Just because you’ve been someone who doesn’t train regularly for so much longer than you’ve been someone who does.
But stick at it. You’ve already done the hardest bit. You’ve got through the unbearable stage, and now it’s just uncomfortable. And you’re oh-so close to making it through to the next stage – where you become unstoppable.
You’re on the home stretch now. And this is where the real transformation occurs.
You’ll start noticing some of the benefits of regular exercise. You’ll feel better, more positive, notice you have better posture and you’ll likely be sleeping better too.
Few people actually make it this far, struggling to wade through the challenges of phase 2 & 3. But you’ve persisted. And are starting to reap the rewards.
You have a new identity. You’re someone who trains regularly. So you treat yourself to some new workout gear. And feel proud that this time you’ve stuck it out for longer than you ever thought you could.
You feel good about how you’ve made and kept a commitment to yourself. And for the first time in a while you remember that you’re actually a pretty decent human being!
At the 30 day mark is the point at which I believe it’s time to consider if this a lifetime habit for you. Not phase 1,2 or 3. Don’t base your decision on that. The early days are not representative of how it’s actually going to be long term.
But once you’ve got to phase 4 you’ve overcome the initial challenges with little to no reward. Now you’ve got your new habit working for you the changes in your physique and other benefits are going to be noticeable month to month.
I’d like to encourage you to step up and take on a 21 day challenge to implement something you’ve been meaning to work on. Exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, whatever you think will move you closer to the quality of life you want.
If you think you’d like more support to seeing this through then apply for a place on the Lean & Lovely 21 day fat loss challenge to kickstart your new health and fitness habits.
Learn more and apply for a place here: Lean & Lovely 21 day fat loss challenge