For those of you who don’t know this is a picture of the Bugatti Veyron and yes this is a supercar. Designed and developed by German engineers the super sport version of the Veyron is the fastest legal road car in the world, clocking speeds of over 250 mph. Taking 3 years to make, with a cost of 5 million pounds and a price tag of 850, 000, Volkswagen make a significant loss with every one however, this elite and high spec performance vehicle pushes the boundaries of what is possible in a car and as a result has a reputation almost as big as its price tag.
Think of this car as analogy of your potential, you at your best. All your parts working in sync, the right fuel to make you reach your top speed and the well groomed exterior to attract the attention of passersby. This is the ideal. The point I am trying to make here is that you should aim to achieve your highest potential, the perfect you that you can be. This means instead of comparing yourself to others you have to look inside, take responsibility and get real with yourself.
I don’t know what stage of fitness you’re at. You could be 3 stone overweight or more even, miserable and self conscious, or you could be a healthy weight struggling to shift those last few inches. It doesn’t matter. The real issue here is how can you achieve your goals and how can you maintain healthy habits once you have them in place.
There is a myth that if you can do something for 21 days then it becomes a habit. This is nonsense and is actually based on an anecdote from an American plastic surgeon (if you really want to read more see the link below ). The truth is, there is no magic number and no day that you will wake up and suddenly find being healthy easy. If it was easy, no one would be overweight! The reason people give up is because they like it easy, no one likes doing things that are difficult. You don’t want to be one of these people, challenging yourself makes up the backbone of being fit and maintaining it and it is crucial you get into your head now that it is never going to get easy.
The proven way to start new and healthy habits is to start small. Habits in every shape or form are based on cues, from your environment (hearing the phone ringing and answering it), other people (high fiving your best friend every time you see them) and biology (getting food when you feel hungry) and overcoming cues that you have held for your whole life is tough! This is why the little changes are so effective. Once you start with something small something bigger won’t seem so daunting and that little voice inside your head that always said “hey there’s no way I can do something like that!” will start to sound a little more like “Hey, if I can do this maybe I can do that!”.
This small beginning could be anything from taking the stairs or leaving the car at home a few times a week. The important thing is to challenge yourself, gradually building up to cycling to work or joining a fitness class at the local gym. Another great way to start new and healthy habits is with a change in your life. Starting a new job, moving away or leaving for college are all great as the environments change significantly and as a result there are no cues built up yet, prompting you to engage in unhealthy behaviours.
Another important thing to realise is you are going to fall off the band wagon. It is not a matter of if it’s a matter of when. Christmas, birthdays, hell even Sunday dinners are a challenge! Although it is important to eat right in order to stay fit and lose weight if that is your goal, if you want to maintain it you shouldn’t be too strict on yourself, if you are you will only go crazy and eat 5 cakes. Think of it like a rebellious teen who is grounded to her room for being bold for a month. Eventually the teen is going to get so pissed off she’s going to tell her parents stick it and leave anyway. It is impossible to be 100% good 100% of the time. If you eat well 90% of the time and let yourself have a cheat meal once in a while at a family event or special occasion you are more likely to be able to live your fitness.
Take home points:
- Don’t compete with anyone except yourself
- Strive to be the best possible you you can be
- Don’t think fitness is ever going to be easy
- Understand that forming good habits is a gradual process
- Realise you are going to cheat, it’s how you deal with it afterwards that matters
Maxwell Maltz American plastic surgeon 21 day habit myths debunked: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/hbrc/2012/06/29/busting-the-21-days-habit-formation-myth/