2020 was an interesting, unique, and challenging year for everyone. Like many others, the fitness industry and its customers were hit especially hard. Widespread gym closures and restrictions across the country forced folks to get creative with how they got their exercise. Unfortunately, this also halted people’s motivation to workout with no gyms to go to, leaving some folks hopeless and sedentary, possibly resulting in the newly quoted, “COVID 15” weight gain train. But, with every hardship comes some positivity! Regardless of your current situation, your environment around you, or your lifestyle, one thing that will keep you driven and on track is your mental toughness.
Mental Fitness vs. Physical Fitness
There are a ton of new and exciting workout programs and diets that flood the market this time every year. All of that is great, but in my opinion, why is there not more information and tips about building mental toughness and mental discipline? You can have the best workout regimen and be on the best nutrition plan, but if you lack the discipline and consistency, and you can’t resist temptations, then all of those programs are irrelevant. This is a huge reason why so many “New Year’s Resolutions” fail!
Every single time you pick up a piece of food or something to drink you have the power to decide whether that item will enter your body. Can you train your brain to think “if I eat this, will it benefit my body?”. Can you get away from the mindset of “well it’s only this one time, it won’t hurt me.” No!! That one time turns into multiple and the next thing you know you’re right back to where you started.
The key is out of sight, out of mind. You have to fully eliminate the cancerous temptations in your life because constantly “resisting” will drain you of your energy and eventually you will cave. Throw out all of the bad food in the house, go to the store, and only buy quality, healthy options. Make exercising the first thing you do in the morning to avoid putting it off to later in the day when you’re already exhausted. Mental fitness will get you way further than physical fitness. It’s not all about how you look on the outside that makes a healthy, strong individual. Stay strong mentally, create solid, effective, intentional routines, and stick to them like your life depends on it because it does. If you don’t take care of yourself first, then you won’t be able to take care of anyone else later (your family!). It’s alright to be selfish about your health
The No-Excuses Era
ADAPT and OVERCOME. Be resilient! There is no better time than now to start making positive changes in your life. Stop waiting until tomorrow, stop pushing things off until you’re “more ready.” Finish reading this article and go pick up a damn pen and paper and start making an action plan today.
Here is what I advise, list out all of your goals that you want to accomplish in the next year. Then write the reason WHY you want to accomplish it, and then at least 3 ways you will accomplish it. Once you have that, the last step is easy, put the pen down and do it.
2020 should have taught all of us how to roll with the punches and ADAPT and OVERCOME. I personally love the opportunity that this year has presented, because quite honestly, hardships like these can and will make us stronger! It’s not about how many times you get knocked down in life, it’s about how many times you get back up; stronger and smarter every time. It’s YOUR decision whether you are going to stand up and find the positive in every situation.
As far as fitness goes this year, I call it the “No Excuses Era.” You don’t have a gym to go to anymore? No worries, we’ve seen a new “revolution” of home gyms arise out of 2020! Of course, I’m biased because I have a sweet garage gym at my house, but I truly believe that the home gym could be an incredibly positive change that some people need when looking for that consistency to stay on track. Convenience seems to be the theme of life these days, so having some gym equipment within the confines of your own home could make working out quicker and easier to achieve than ever before.
What Do You Really Want and Why?
GOALS. We all have them, but very few of us actually strive daily to follow them. Why? “A goal that is not written down and easily visible to you every day is merely a FANTASY!” Let that sink in and resonate for a hot second…… Only about 5% of people who set New Year’s goals actually reach them every year….only 5%!! That is just crazy. Why are so many people failing each year to get to where they want to be in life? Is it because of a lack of discipline? Maybe.
Live your life always knowing the WHY behind your actions. Don’t just do something because everyone else is doing it or because it looks cool. Visualize every day what you want and what motivates you! For us hunters, that’s easy right?! I visualize a giant 7 x 7 bull elk.
Fear can also be a very powerful motivator. What is your deepest fear? For me, I fear hospitals and being incapable of doing what I love. Every time I feel lazy or unmotivated I picture myself laying in a hospital bed. NOPE!! No f-ing way! I’m getting my ass up and getting that workout done, eating right, recovering properly.
Does your support system encourage your goals? Studies show that you become more like the top 5 people you are around the most. Who do you spend most of your time with, and are those people making a positive impact in your life? If the answer is no, and they are dragging you down then cut out the cancer. Trust me, I know that can be really hard to do and you don’t have to be rude in doing it, but it is necessary for you to get out of your current rut and get on the path to making real, long-term changes happen in your life.
When it comes to goal setting I am also a fan of the S.M.A.R.T. method as Coach P. talked about in the article Sharpen the Saw. My biggest piece of advice for setting goals is to make them REALISTIC and ACHIEVABLE. If you go so big that it feels impossible to achieve then you’re only hurting yourself. I believe in setting multiple short term goals that are relatively easy to achieve. Crush those goals first, gain some confidence, and set more goals making them a little bigger and a little harder each time. Establish the ROUTINES and create HABITS and those big goals won’t be far off with some discipline and consistency.
Lastly, think about your body in increments of 5 year periods. What were you like when you were 15-20 years old? What about from 20-25? Were you at your ideal weight, or in shape then? Were you happy with your health? I say this because our bodies are always changing. We go through cycles of healthy and bad habits without ever really making changes long term! Sure you might have lost 15 pounds at one time, but put it right back on 2-3 years later. We want to establish routines and habits that we can sustain for our whole lives! That should be the end goal.
You only get one life and one body. The clock is constantly ticking and we never know when our time could be up on this great planet. Make your time count and write out your goals, know your why, create a plan, eliminate distractions, stay positive and sprint full speed towards your passions and desires. Happy New Year!
~ Ty Hoelzen, CPT, FMS