When you make the decision to lose weight, improve your fitness and ultimately your health, How do you enjoy your fitness journey? It's important to enjoy the journey and not just the destination. If you love the process of changing your health you are much more likely to reach your goal and continue beyond it.
I remember a conversation I had with a lady who came to me looking to improve her health. She was in her fifties when she first started working with me. Her husband had already been training with me for about a year. He was loving both the training and the results he was getting. So naturally he wanted his wife to be involved as well. When I met with her, this is what she said to me:
‘I’m not a gym person, I don’t enjoy training, I’d much rather be outside BUT I’ll do it because I know it’s good for me BUT I tell you now, I’m not going to like it!’
You can see why it stuck with me.
Forget the pay cheque.
It’s a strong belief of mine that unless you enjoy the process you won't stick at anything for long. The vision of the end result might spark you into action but its all the work you will need do to get there that will actually provide the result.
Do you know someone who does a job purely for the pay cheque they receive at the end of the month? Every time you see them they do nothing but moan about their job. They hate the process (the work) but love the result (the money). That’s not a good way to spend your very limited time on this planet. It's certainly not the way I choose to live.
I’m also a realist and understand that sometimes the result is so compelling, necessary and even required for survival. So you have to undertake a task, job or process that on the surface you don’t think you will (or could) enjoy. This opens up the real purpose of this article. How can you make training (or anything) more interesting so you enjoy the journey and not just the destination?
The challenge of imagination.
One of my favourite movies is called ‘Life is Beautiful’ made in 1997 by Roberto Benigni. In the story a Jewish-Italian waiter and his son are imprisoned together in a concentration camp. He tries to shield his young son from the horrors around them by pretending that everything going on is part of a big game. It’s powerful and emotional stuff but touchingly funny and uplifting at the same time. Imagination is one of the most powerful gifts and abilities that we possess.
This is a very dramatic example but you have to play games in your own mind. Turning up at the gym or studio 2, 3, 4, 5 or even 6 days a week and simply going through the motions will get stale very fast. You need to set yourself small challenges, targets and goals while training. I’m yet to meet someone who won’t raise their game a few notches when a suitable and timely challenge is introduced. It might be to run a little faster, a little further, lift a little more, complete a few more reps or any combination of the above.
Keep a record.
Another tip for enjoying the journey and becoming more motivated with the process is to log all of your training. Keep records of what you're doing within your workouts, the exercises you do, the number of reps and sets you complete. This is another way to assess your improvements and to help keep you on track. If you can see progress being made it can actually become addictive and spur you on further.
A little help from your friends.
The final method I want to talk about is to exercise with other people. Train with friends, train in a group, find a community with like minded people. If you make the process of training social you get many more benefits than just training alone. Even if you're at home you can be a part of a group on line which will help you to establish common goals. You then become accountable to those around you. It's easier to raise your game slightly when some friendly encouragement and competition is introduced. Also you will make friends which is great for our mental health and overall feelings of wellness and connection. You will also get the opportunity to help and inspire others within the group to rise up and reach their goals.
The results of consistent, purposeful training and healthy eating are undeniable and well documented. I know, from working with many people over the last 18 years that hard work and dedication pays off and makes lives better.
The challenge is sticking with your healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life. Not just letting it be a flash in the pan. Learning to enjoy the journey is vital to rising to that challenge.
Learn to love the journey and the results will come.