Many of us wait for the “perfect time” to get our health, nutrition, and fitness back on track. But this approach rarely gets us the results we hope for…. More than often it gets us rather nothing at all.
Did you ever feel you were putting off that dream trip, or a new project, or that skill you’ve been meaning to learn? If so, some of these phrases may sound familiar:
I’ll do it ….
- When I get a different job.
- When things are less busy at work
- When I find a workout partner.
- After I finish this project.
- When I feel a bit better.
- When I feel more confident in the gym.
- When I lose a few kilos first
- When I have a bit more time.
- When my fridge is full of the right foods.
- Tomorrow, next week, during my next holiday, after new year…. Never
As human beings we are always “waiting for the perfect time.” But why is that?” For many of us, it’s a great distraction and justification. It helps us avoid the real—and risky—work of doing. For some of us, perfectionism and avoidance serve as strong armor against potential embarrassment, criticism, and failure. The “I could ___ but ___” attitude, keeps us safe from pain.
Sadly this is also what keeps us from growing, thriving, and being who we know we have the potential to be. And that’s why all-or-nothing thinking—If I don’t do this perfectly then it’s worthless—rarely gets us “all.” But it usually gets us “nothing.”
Keep this in mind. There is no perfect time. There never will be.
Oh sure, there might be some magic moment in your fitness journey where the universe comes together… and you’re wearing your favorite B3F t-shirt… plus your extra-comfy Reebok Nano’s… and your favourite song comes on… and your body is full of exuberant, bubbling energy… and you have the entire gym for yourself … and you bang out a set of ten reps like the angels are hoisting the barbell for you.
But I can assure you that that magic moment will be one in countless other less-magic moments that make up your real life.
So lets say that very perfect moment last about 10 seconds, that means that someone who lives 80 years could have around 252’288’000 potential 10 sec moments in his/her lifetime
Which means that a single perfect moment is, well, a very very very small part of the whole thing.
Yes, celebrate that perfect moment when it comes. But sure as heck don’t wait for it. Instead, take your moments and make your moments. And just so you know, nobody is going to give you any moments. You have to take moments and actively hunt them, chase them and make them happen.
What frustrates us, of course, is the fact that we want everything all at once…. And in a time of instant gratification and social media health and fitness marketing that promises us immediate results. (A 6 week plan here, a 12 week programme there, a 12 day weight loss challenge that will change your life… etc etc… ) we always look for the golden pill …. Sadly that golden pill does not exist.
You don’t have to wait for something that will drastically change your life… You, yourself have to make the moments and make them happen… instead of thinking that everyone else’s moments just… come to them. Everyone else has enough time. Enough money. Enough motivation. Enough information…. It’s false…. Everyone has an equal amount of time in the day…. Some people however make their health and fitness a priority and for them every moment is a perfect moment. The perfect moment is now.
Because right now is all you ever have, the only thing you have to do is to just start. And when you do, moments will keep coming, as moments do.
One moment will stack on top of another and before you know it, you’ll have arrived at your destination.
“But I can’t!” You say. “I can’t get started! That is the problem, you see!”
No, it’s not. If you can’t get started, you’re just jumping too far ahead.
You’re not starting with starting. You are trying to start somewhere in an imaginary middle.
For instance, let’s say you choose to start with reading about nutrition.
That can be a good start—if it keeps you moving on to the next moment.
But it is not a good start if it keeps you stuck in your chair, clicking through a blur of blogs and charts and plans and testimonials until it’s time for lights-out and you haven’t made a single good nutritional choice today.
So maybe, starting for you shouldn’t be reading.
It should be something else, like walking to the fridge and picking out a shiny fresh apple and eating it.
Or making a shopping list and putting it next to your car keys for tomorrow.
Or reading a menu from the restaurant you’re about to visit, and picking out the salad option in advance.
Starting means initiating action. Starting means committing to a choice of some kind or another. This is how you know it is a true start.
Starting is when you drop the coin into one pinball machine, not when you stand there looking at the all machines in the arcade, deciding which one to play.
Starting is when you lift up one foot and put it in front of the other, not when you stand there debating which road to take or wondering if you should have worn different shoes.
For some folks, starting needs to be an even smaller action. Starting might be just lifting the foot. Or shifting their weight to one leg.Putting the first foot in front of the second foot might require some help. Which is OK.
As long as something is moving, that’s a start.
Push through. Embrace resistance.
Many people who are just starting out assume that because they feel resistance, they have failed.
That because broccoli tastes bitter when they first try it, and because they accidentally overcook it, they just can’t eat vegetables.
That because they forget the printed list of exercises on the kitchen table, they can’t work out once they get to the gym.
That because their legs ache on the ascent, they are not ready to climb that hill.
No. That’s just how it feels sometimes.
Starting will often feel like resistance, at least at first. Like grinding the brain’s gears.
Give it time. Resist the urge to press pause. Push through. It will switch tracks, eventually.
Remember: You don’t have to fight the resistance of the entire trip.
You just have to push through the resistance of the first few moments.
If you’re really struggling, then get support. (For now).
In order for a rocket to leave the earth, it has to fire extra-hard against gravity. It needs a boost. Similar for a heavy train to get moving, it might need an extra engine. We can start—and stay moving—on our own. But it sure helps when someone gives us a push or a pull. Someone who can call us on our procrastination and perfection. On our information-cruising and waffling.
Someone who can snap us out of our all-or-nothing trance with a gentle nudge and reminder.
For a while, we can even affix ourselves to this someone or something else, like hooking that extra engine to our front. As we go along, we can unhook superfluous cars that we realize are weighing us down. We grow lighter, leaner, more mobile. Eventually, we don’t need that extra engine any more. Our train is now whizzing along just fine on its own. The scenery blurs past the windows and we are heading on a grand adventure.
But in the beginning, we just had to start.
Are you someone who is struggling to start or you have a friend or a family member who is waiting for that perfect time to start, then here are some of my tips.
- Revise your expectations.
Recognize that there is no perfect time and there never will be. There is only now.
2. Carve out time, even if it’s imperfect.
Nobody will give that time to you. You’ll need to take it. Give yourself permission to make yourself—and your fitness and health goals—a priority. Find the time you need in your schedule. Don’t have time for an hour-long workout? No problem. How much time do you have? 20 minutes? 10 minutes? Work with what you’ve got. Don’t expect things to go perfectly smoothly. Instead, anticipate and strategize. Ask yourself: “What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?” “What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?”
Instead of waiting for things to ‘slow down,’ start making something happen right now, in the middle of the mess.
3. Just start.
If you feel stuck, just do something. Anything. Find the smallest possible thing you can do right now, in the next 5 minutes, and do it. Now you’ve started!
With some of the people I am coaching, I concentrate on finding “5-minute actions.” Instead of coming up with the biggest, grandest scheme, think about what you could do in just 5 minutes to help move yourself—even just a tiny bit—in the direction of your goals. Then, go do it.
Remember: action is a “vote” in favor of a different, healthier, fitter life. Vote early, vote often.
4. Expect resistance.
It’s normal. Push through it. Resistance doesn’t mean this won’t work. It just means you’ve started. You only have to get through this moment. This moment of starting will be the hardest. Luckily, it won’t last long.
5. Get support.
Let go of the concept of the lone hero. Instead, start building your support systems. Whether it’s a friend or family member, workout buddy, or a coach, find someone to fire up your booster rockets until you can fly on your own.
And eventually you’ll become the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?