Search the Internet for how to lose fat and you are bound to get about million hits with everything from how to time your macros to which way to hold a fork when eating an egg.
Some of the points in this post are more philosophical and some are more practical. I first wrote hundred points but came to conclusion that the last thing we need is another post on the best protein sources and whether boiled potato has better nutritional value than a grilled sweet potato.
My reason for this post is to help you to build your own principles and rules to follow. From now on I want you to be indifferent and ignore the latest and craziest fitness trends that come and go. Learn to sit on your principles and watch the fools do the running. Find what’s right for you. Let’s begin.
Understand How Motivation Works
- Other people can inspire you to action but they can’t keep you motivated. Motivation has to come within you and not from an outside source. Just looking at quotes on Instagram isn’t going to cut it, son.
- Schedule time each week to turn off all the “noise”, sit down and contemplate life. What moves you?
- A year from now, what do you want to feel?
- Don’t shame yourself into action. Don’t let anyone else shame you into action either.
- Know that things will get uncomfortable and motivation will fade. This high tide won’t last forever. Be ready for it.
Roundhouse Kick the Right Goals
- Set achievable and specific goals. How do you know you’ve arrived once you’re there?
- Find your why. What is the reason behind your goals? Avoid chronic disease or early death? Why is not “to look good on the beach”. Why is “so my partner would touch me again”. Once you find your why, ask yourself why five more times to drill down the answer. It will be enlightening when done properly. If your why is not big enough, the goal won’t be something you’ll stick with when life gets busy. In which case, what’s the point of spending time on it in the firsts place? Choose your goals wisely.
- Answer these questions before setting your goals:
What kind of person do you want to be?
What five things does that person do every day? 
- Be realistic. What is achievable with the time and resources that you have?
- How do you define success in life? Have a clear picture.
- Accept that it doesn’t have to be perfect. 15-minute session of swings is better than an hour of squats, presses and sprints that never gets done.
- If it’s better than what you are currently doing does it matter that it won’t be perfect?
- Optimal is worthless if it’s impossible to do.
- Allow yourself to ‘take the edge off’ each day. If trying to lose fat, let yourself have something you crave for. Having a bit of something each day is better than waiting for the cravings to build up to unbearable and uncontrollable.
Create, Eliminate and Change Routines
- Your life is a string of habits, some work for your goals and others work against you. What negative habit, if removed, would make future changes easier? Or what positive habit can you add to make future changes possible? Look for the domino effect.
- Change habits one at a time instead of a complete overhaul. Don’t add a second habit until you have been doing the previous habit for at least two weeks with a success rate of 80% or more.
- Choose habits that seem too easy.
- Habits are all about finding your triggers and being proactive with them. I found my triggers to stop a nail biting habit. Adjust it to your situation.
- Work on each new habit for at least two weeks before adding a new one. But after each week check with yourself if the habit is too easy or too hard. Adjust accordingly to make it just right. 
- Keep an accountability tracker. Are you nailing your habit?
- What is the consequence of not following the habit?
- When in doubt, simplify everything. Have routines in place. Here’s what I do every single morning.
- Change the environment. If certain people or locations are more likely to get you doing things that are not good for you, change it.
Be Proactive with Stress
- Conquer your stress by finding what type of relaxation techniques work for you. Some examples are meditation, walking outdoors, having a hobby (crafting, writing, music, drawing, sport or volunteering at a pet shelter). Find activities that you enjoy. If you hate running don’t sign up for a marathon.
- Replace fear of the future with curiosity.
- Balance your health, fitness and life. Build fitness around life instead of life around fitness. I wrote a short book about this, it’s free.
- Don’t stop. Keep showing up and doing the bare minimum when life gets busy. Keep the momentum going. What’s the least amount of work you can do to make progress or to maintain what you’ve gotten so far?
- “It’s all in how you perceive it. You’re in control. You can dispense with misperception at will, like rounding the point. Serenity, total calm, safe anchorage.”-Marcus Aerelius
- I am biased but I believe weight training is an exceptional kryptonite for stress and anxiety. Strength train at least twice a week. Here’s a free plan.
- Go for a walk, even if short. Good for the body, even better for the mind.
- Not everything will be fixed by habits and meditation. If anxiety or depression are standing on your way, seek help of a psychologist who is qualified to deal with these issues. Sometimes you have to fix something deeper to move forward. These things are not usually fixed by reading a blog.
- Don’t tie your worthiness to being busy.
- You only ever have now.
It’s Easier to Find Your Way with a Map
- Have a look at the week ahead, what sort of days are coming your way? How can you prepare for these? If you don’t plan ahead, you will be a follower of other people’s decisions and agenda.
- Accept that some actions will hinder your results. For fat loss, if you eat out all the time you shouldn’t be angry and confused why you are not getting anywhere. Eating out is fine, there’s nothing “bad” about it. Just accept the facts that come with it.
Same goes with all your other goals. If your action doesn’t align with your goals don’t kick and scream and wonder what’s wrong.
- If you are not a morning person don’t schedule a life changing event for 7am. Make your schedule work for you and not against.
- Planning beats willpower. Every. Single. Time.
- Expect the unexpected and always have a backup plan.
- The more seasoned you are the more you learn on how to “wing it” on the go. If you are just starting out, you need more planning. Winging just doesn’t cut it yet.
- If you have a day coming up with a lot of important decisions to make, you will deplete your willpower in a record time. It will be harder to make sensible decisions later in the day. Plan for it. Don’t be Bill Clinton.
- Each night write down what tasks you need to accomplish tomorrow to consider the day successful.
- If you struggle finding time for what you value, you might have to give up some other activities. We waste a lot of time doing small unnecessary tasks each day that compounds to a lot of wasted opportunities. Here’s how to find more time.
It Doesn’t Hurt to Have Support
- Have people around you that value the same things as you do.
- Get your wife, husband, fiancé or partner on-board to help with your goals. If you want to lose fat but all that gets eaten at home is microwavable mince pies, you have problem. And probably some indigestion.
- Have someone to keep you accountable.
Your Brain is a Sponge
- Talk to people who have successfully done what you want to do. What commonalities do they have?
- When things don’t work out, study them. What happened? What could you do in the future to avoid it? You never fail, you only learn.
- When you are getting good results write down what’s working. This will become your blueprint for the future.
- Answer these questions each week:
What worked, why?
What didn’t work, why?
What will this help me to do differently?
How can I share this experience with others?
What else do I need to do differently as a result of this experience?
- Become a better technician: study a topic that is relevant to what you are currently trying to do. Ignore everything else. For now.
- When changing something do it one at a time. Otherwise you have no idea what worked and what didn’t. There’s too many variables.
The Upside of All
- When something works, stop and appreciate the moment. Tell yourself that you’ve done a good job. Too often we are so focused on the end goal that we forget how well we are doing along the way. Learn to recognize each little win and celebrate every single one. Chant “I am a trooper!” while doing aerial fist pumps and scissor kicks around the house.
- When something doesn’t go your way find gratitude in it instead of sinking into “poor me, why does this always happen to me” -thinking. What’s the good that came out this, seemingly negative, event?
- Find joy in the smallest things. Saw a wicked-coloured parrot chasing a raccoon? Savour the sight. Bonus points if you can do this without looking it through a smartphone camera.
- Start a gratitude journal. Each evening write down what you are grateful for. Not a writer? When going to sleep say one thing that you are grateful for.
- If you struggle with emotional eating or body image start a gratitude journal. Each day write down one thing that you are happy about your body. 
- Answer these questions at the end of each day:
In regards to my goals, what went well today?
What did I learn? 
Before You Go
- Don’t get hang up on the facts. Create your own philosophy.
- Listen to how you talk to yourself. Is the way you talk to yourself something that you would say to your best friend?
- Even the smallest activity accumulates over time. Walking for a minute each day is over six hours of walking a year.
- What activities and things in life make you content and happy? Write them down. Are you doing them at the moment? You should.
- You don’t need to have all the answers and information before starting something. Just start.
- Most things in life worth getting to are a marathon and not a sprint. Are you comfortable with this?
- Check your ego at the door. Focus on getting better instead of impressing others.
- This is not unconventional but worth mentioning: prioritize sleep. You make better decisions when well rested. Some need seven hours and some need ten. Rarely does someone do well with less than six. If you think you only need four hours a night, maybe you’ve never felt what it is like to function after eight hours of sleep.
- Be authentic and don’t change your actions/approach/opinions/personality only to please others. Yes, sometimes it is going to be extremely difficult, but you will always be true to yourself.