“I never get results like I always wanted to”, said a client of mine, two weeks ago during one of our online consultations.
“Okay. Let’s see what we’re doing that we can improve on.” I told her.
After spending about a week analysing her nutrition diary, exercise tracker and emotional and physiological records, I found a loophole.
She never finished the workouts as she’s supposed to.
And her nutrition adherance? It was at 50%. In other words, she was only doing the things we decided to do 50% of the time, and somehow the other 50% of the time she manage to get away with it.
Bottomline is, if you decide to start on something, finishing it is one thing, but going all the way and giving it your best shot is another. Why? Because half effort equals to half results and that’s a fact.
I’ve talked about finishing what you started sometime in the past, so today I would like to touch on how you can seriously, really and actually get things done all the way. Not a 50%. Not a 67%. And not even 90% of the time. All the way.
Before we start, I want you to think back to the last time you decided on doing something big. Something epic. Like starting to eat better. Or taking that first step into transforming your life to be a better person.
Whatever that big thing is, think about it.
Once you’ve done that, ask yourself — did you throw 100% of all the effort that you have in the world into that? Or did you seem to be half-hearted about it, only giving it a little bit of effort?
Don’t worry, I’m not judging. In fact, I am guilty of it too. Most recently in fact. And no, do not judge. I’m not perfect either.
Three weeks ago, I decided to start back on a strength training program and eat better, tracking my meals and making sure I track my fitness and exercise.
It went very well, I did track my meals. I recorded every single thing I did in the gym. But then, on Day 10 onwards, I began to slip. I still went to the gym but I gave myself an excuse to just not worry about tracking. I still ate well, or at least I thought did because I don’t have any records, but I wasn’t into it. I gave myself an excuse every single time I decided to eat out. And then things became a downward spiral from then on, and I started blaming the system I’m in, saying things like “This plan does not work!”
Lucky for me, the plan that I said did not work is the plan I actually made for myself. I made that workout routine. How can I even say things like that?
And that’s when I realised, I’m doing this half-heartedly. I’m just not in the moment and I have to do something about it.
You see, as humans, when it comes to giving something our all, we’re afraid. We’re afraid of failing. We’re afraid that we might lose it all — time and effort I mean, when we give it our all and then don’t get what we want. So instead of giving our best and honestly giving our best, we kind of protect ourselves and our life by taking a dip in the water and do something just half the effort.
I had a conversation with another client recently too (yes I love random convos!) and one of the things we spoke about was just trying ‘a plan’ out and then if it works we go full swing. While we both agree to that, and yes it’s good to try things out before committing to it, my client then told me she would try it out for several days in a week, and if it works, she’ll do it every day.
It wasn’t even a fitness plan.
It was about sleeping habits.
It all came up from this article about making a plan to get a good night’s rest, published in NY Times.
I told her the effect will be way different if we would try it for three days in a row and three days separately. It was a back and forth friendly argument, but in the end we agreed to try it out for at least three weeks. It worked out well, as expected. And we still make sleeping a priority every single night.
If You’re Going To Start, Go All The Way
I have to pause right now to share with you a video I watched before I started writing this out. It’s by Charles Bukowski and it’s titled ‘All The Way’. Watch it if you have a moment, otherwise, you can read a little excerpt below.
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
There’s no other feeling than going all the way if you’re going to start.
Bukowski might not even be referring to fitness and nutrition and health, but he sure is talking about that one thing you thought about earlier about improving your life.
Giving our everything when we decide to do something is definitely the only way you can tell whether or not the thing we’re planning to do is working. And yet for most of us, it’s not something easy to do.
But here’s the thing: Failure after trying and knowing that we have given our everything can help us improve ourselves in future tries.
Instead of being afraid, let’s try and figure out how we can overcome this fear and give the ‘it’ our best using this four easy steps.
Figure Out What You Want The Most
The first step in making sure we give what we want our best is to just figure out the ONE THING we want the most. Not three. Not two. Just one. I know, it’s very tempting to come up with so many things at once but remember what I said about our willpower before? It gets exhausted and that’s when you will naturally give up.
So you want to lose weight? Don’t try to change your diet AND pick up gym 7 times a day at one go. Go easy on yourself and pick just one. Fitness or food. It might seem crazy but it works better, and then when you have mastered the fitness part, slowly bring the food part in.
One way you can decide which one you should pick is to be honest with yourself and choose something that you’re worse at. So you know you’re fine waking up every single day to go for a run, but you suck at choosing better food options, then work on your nutrition first.
And once you have that, focus all your energy into it.
Putting it into perspective, the reason why I failed at my tenth day is because I was changing a lot of things at once. I admit, it was my mistake and I should’ve known better but now I know, and I am working on ONLY tracking my diet for the next thirty days. Why? Because tracking a diet for me, is much harder than waking up every day for legs day. And I’m being completely honest.
Figure Out Your Game Plan
Now that you have your ONE biggest want, figure out a plan that works for you. Again, if you have picked fitness as your choice and you can only afford 4 days of exercising per week, don’t go all too ambitious and pencil in 7 days of workout. It’s not going to happen. And if it’s not going to happen, you’re only going to do it half-heartedly.
You have this shot in giving your best in just one thing, use it to your advantage.
If you’re like me and you want to track your diet, then figure a way you can track it without making you go crazy. I decided to use MyFitnessPal.com to track my diet (and you can even follow me to see my food diary), but I know it’s going to be hard to track it at every meal. So I figured another way around this – take pictures of my food as I go along. Smart idea and I know it’ll work because everyday before I sleep, I will transfer those pictures into MFP and not worry about whether or not I will forget what I ate.
Game plan. Important. And just one. Next.
Now Give It Your All By Sticking With It
Got what you want? Good.
Got your game plan? Awesome.
Now commit to it — by making sure you adhere to it 100% of the time. Not 50%. Not even 90. One full hundred percent of it. If you think it’s impossible to be perfect, don’t. Because at this point you should’ve already decided on what you want badly and your game plan. If you still think it’s impossible to be 100% perfect, then revisit step number two in figuring out your gameplan. You might be too over ambitious there. Change your plan till you are absolutely certain that you can commit to it 100% — even if it means hitting the gym once a week.
Why? Because if you do get 100% even hitting the gym once a week, over a few weeks your mind will feel totally accomplished by that fact and by the time you revisit your game plan, you’re more confident in yourself. It’s like an ego booster. Totally worth it.
Revisit Your Plan Every Four Weeks (Or When You Feel You’re Ready)
When you’ve successfully completed what you said you will at 100% after four weeks or when you feel ready, revisit your plan.
For example, you’ve given 100% in your game plan of hitting the gym 4 days a week over the last 4 weeks, that’s something to celebrate. It’s not easy but you’ve come this far. Now see if you can make some realistic changes to your plan for example, instead of hitting the gym four days a week, try five.
Whatever it is, apply step 1 and 2 every single time you revisit it and always work at YOUR level. Not anyone else’s. Only then can you potential give every effort you have and get full results that you deserve.
Now that we have a game plan, and you know what works for you in order to get what you want, start doing it. Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. There might be days when you feel like it’s a little too much and it happens. But if that happens, instead of giving up, keep pushing through because you’ve decided to commit to a plan you know you can 100% adhere to.
This is your ultimate chance in seeing amazing results in whatever you do so do not give up just yet. You’re on the right track and you can come out stronger. There will be times when people laugh at you or don’t believe in you but the believe you have in yourself when you first set your plan is enough to get you through this. I know it is.
And remember this: There’s no better feeling then going all the way on something you have started.
Put half the effort, get half the results. In business, in your fitness, in doing squats, in life.
Go all out. Don’t pick the middle. You’re way awesome and you know that. I do.
Here’s To You…
I told you the one thing I’m going to stop putting half the effort in is in the recording of my food intake every day. Now it’s your turn.
Tell me what is the one thing you’re currently only putting half the effort in and what is it that you’re afraid of?
Once you’ve done that, tell me what you’re going to do now that you know how NOT to put half the effort in?
Leave me a comment below. No one is perfect, but we can put in some perfection into how we do things to get what we want.
Speak to you soon! Have a great week!
Photo credit: hjl