1 - Set Goals, Lots of Goals
The road ahead is long, in fact it's never ending. This is not meant to sound daunting, it should excite you. An invigorating life spent looking great and feeling great, that's what lies ahead.
Goals help you stay the course and keep you motivated. Breaking down even the most complicated of projects into simple and obtainable goals, is a framework for success.
At least one goal per month but no more than three will narrow your focus throughout the year.
2 - Don't Deprive Yourself
A great quote from Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, "I would rather spend half my life at the gym and eat whatever I want than sit on my ass and starve."
Amen. Being fit is a lifestyle, not a diet. Focus on what goes into the lean and mean machine that is your body. There is a time and place for everything and so many delicious foods in the world. If you're reasonable and work hard at the gym, you should never feel deprived.
3 - Don't Fear Food
A lot of fitness information and healthy eating tips are centered around what you shouldn't eat. While the information is often valid, we've always found it more beneficially to focus on the positive. To focus on what you should be eating.
Don't eat with fear and overly concern yourself with what you shouldn't eat. Spend your time and energy learning about food and cooking techniques practiced throughout the world. It's far from difficult to make healthy foods delicious.
My grandma once told me that all food, all real food, is good for you. I believe that through and through. If it grows in nature or lives on farm, it has nutrients and minerals that are designed to nourish your life.
4 - Don't Miss Out, Life is Too Short.
Life is too precious and too short, so don't ever spoil a perfect moment. When you're obsessed with food like I am, a lot of those perfect moments involve eating. A summer picnic with cheese, fruits and chilled Verdejo makes the rest of the world disappear. A fall barbecue when the air is crisp and filled with aromas of slowly cooked tantalizing fatty meats... joy. Why would you say no to that moment? Drink it in guilt free.
5 - Progress is Not Linear.
God does not draw in straight lines and human progress is anything but linear. There will be bad days, weeks and months. There will be great days, weeks, and months. If the good outweighs the bad, you're heading in the right direction.
6 - Listen to Your Body
Make a conscience choice to listen to your body, it can tell you a lot. A great trainer once told me that you should train based on how you feel. If you feel good on that run or that day in the gym, take full advantage. Add an extra mile, an extra set, or a few rounds of something new. Think of it as a gift and a shortcut to a more fit you. On the opposite end, if you feel like a hot mess, be honest with yourself. Do as much as you can but don't risk injury if it's just not in the cards that day.
Tomorrow will bring another day, it always does.
7 - Make Training a Priority
Who has time to go to the gym? Of course there isn't enough time in the day to go to the gym...Budget your time, it's the most important asset you have. Be deliberate and scrupulous with your time. Make sure that your training is a priority and plan accordingly. If it's an afterthought, it will be just that.
8 - Love Motivation
Motivation is everything. It took me 15 years of training to figure it out but I'm glad I did. Find out what drives you, what motivates you, what inspires you to be a better person. The "why" is different for all of us, but once you find it, your world will never be the same. Be vigilant in your pursuit of motivation. No amount of caffeine in the world can compare to feeling truly inspired and understanding why you're in the gym that day.
Side Note: Motivational books, audio recording and videos aren't reserved for those who are "about to jump". Explore and watch some videos on youTube. Better yet grab some books from your local library. Remember books? I dare you to not get inspired.