photo © 2008 Scarleth White | more info (via: Wylio)
Do you have a problem with maintaining fitness. Are you able to make some progress but can’t keep yourself consistent? You may even have gotten to your dream level once or twice, but you slipped back into your previous state after that, maybe became worse than you were before.
Why do you need fitness?
Do you remember how the idea of fitness first came to you? When did ‘keeping fit’ start mattering to you?
Very small kids don’t think too much about keeping fit. They will go out to have fun, play, but never with the intention of keeping fit. They are focusing on fun.
I remember how it started for me. When I was growing up, I was lean and thin. Thinness was not considered good in my parts, fat was good. I wanted to look stronger, like my brother. As I grew up, I wanted to impress girls with a body like the muscled movie stars of Bollywood. I took up body building. Initially there was a lot of progress and I gained some muscles. It was all good for sometime. It did get me appreciation and praise from people. Girls started noticing me more. Then I realized that although girls found me more appealing, I wasn’t having any success with them. I also found it increasingly hard to keep gaining muscles. I had to spend a lot of time in the gym. It was not something I enjoyed, I had enjoyed sports before and found the gym boring. I had to work really hard, and against my natural flow, to keep myself that way.
Some of my friends had problems with obesity. They also faced a somewhat similar scenario.
If you look at it, fitness is not an aim in itself. You want fitness to get something, a general feeling of well being, appreciation and acceptance, romantic interest etc.
End goals matter
I think our end goal determines, to a very large extent, how successful we are in realizing our goal of fitness.
The problem. There are people who seek fitness because of reasons that themselves need addressing. A lot of people seek fitness because of low self worth – they intend to gain acceptance and/or attract people of the opposite sex. While fitness will definitely play a part in these pursuits, it’s part is usually overstated. The goals mentioned here will require an overall pleasing and appealing personality. In fact, if your personality is interesting, your fitness levels will play a small role in the way people perceive you. Have you ever wondered how, seemingly plain looking guys or girls, land up with very attractive partners? A tendency to attract by virtue of good looks, speaks very low of your self confidence. Is that the best you can do? Look good? There are other, better ways to attract people, develop your personality such that you are a magnet for the type of people you want.
If you believe that fitness alone will set everything good for you, you may neither be able to achieve your end goals(your overall personality may still be weak) nor will you enjoy your pursuit of fitness(because you have made achieving fitness a requirement before you can be happy). This makes maintaining desired fitness level difficult.
The reason behind failure here was not a bad fitness program or lack of effort, but a low level of confidence and motivation arising out of misalignment with your real goals. These then lead to a combination of bad planning and bad execution. If you have extremely low self worth, even a small failure is enough to make you stop.
Integrate health in your overall personal development programme. Treat fitness as part of a general personal development programme, as against treating it as an isolated goal that you need to achieve before you get on to other things.
If you just have a good body to offer for value, you may get some friends and romantic interests, but what does it say about these people you attract? Are these the people you want in your life? I know these are difficult questions, but very worthy and essential ones. Answer them, for your own good.
Do the activities you like doing and let fitness follow. Fitness is more sustainable and enjoyable when it comes as a by product of something you love doing. Follow the activities you like – dance, sports, running, whatever you like. This may not get you the well toned body a regular gym programme can, but it will keep you at a comfortable fitness level that you enjoy maintaining.
For long term, sustainable happiness, seek out what you really want to achieve and go for it. Respect yourself, give yourself a goal worthy of being realized.
If you are fat and love playing chess, don’t leave chess and make gym your priority. Keep your focus on chess. Maybe you will find that your sedentary life style is making your mind dull. When it starts affecting your game, you will automatically be motivated towards an active lifestyle, this motivation will not come from a weak source(need for acceptance) but from a very strong source(following your passion!). Consequently, you will be more likely to follow through your fitness programme consistently. You will be at your comfortable level of weight and fitness. You may be fat or thin by societal standards, but you have to decide whether you want to stay scared and try to conform to the general image like the majority, or do you want to do what you love doing, ignore the fearfuls and bond with other courageous souls like yourself.
Analyze your end goal. Is fitness really essential for your end goal?
Be humble and accept what is not right in your life. If you lack the confidence to talk to men/women, stop believing that a well toned body can get you the results you want. Look for the root cause of your problems and work on removing them, instead of looking for quick fixes.
If confidence is your problem, make efforts to build up your confidence.
Keep your focus on what you love. When you find yourself mulling over whether or not you should go and feast on that beloved burger, bring your focus to the larger goals in your life and how you plans to achieve them. Then let happen whatever happens, sometimes you will feast, sometimes you will let go. But neither would have guilt or want associated. Keep bringing your focus on what you want to do, rest everything will align itself towards that goal.