Starting anything new in life will be difficult and can make us feel awkward. Losing weight, getting stronger or overcoming an injury. None of them easy when you first start out.
It’s good to aim high but if you set the goal too far ahead there is a chance you will become discouraged at some stage when things don’t go your way. And as sure as the earth is round and the moon orbits the earth, at some point, things won’t go your way.
This doesn’t mean that you should accept the failure and set for mediocre results (don’t ever!) but rather to be ready for what you are up against.
But you can prepare yourself for all of this by accepting the following two points. These will help you when the going gets tough. (Mental) Preparation is half the battle!
1. You will be uncomfortable.
This is a fact. Everything in life worth getting is going to push you out of your comfort zone. Whether you are trying to lose ten kilograms, rediscover your fitness or trying to set a personal record in deadlift. All these involve actions that you are not always comfortable with. So push boundaries and learn to get uncomfortable, that’s where the results happen. Corny as it sounds, I even got a coffee cup with a quote “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”, so it reminds me everyday to not get complacent.
I am currently a bit over halfway through my push up-pull up-lunge challenge where I add an extra rep to each exercise for 60 days. I started at 10 and as of writing this I am doing 46 reps of each. Yesterday was 45 and tomorrow is 47. I’ll finish at 70. As I do it on top of my normal training it is starting to affect my life a bit. I have alter the structure of my days to fit the extra training in. But at the start I did acknowledge that it will get uncomfortable around the halfway point. I didn’t expect it to be like walking on marshmallows.
Sure, sometimes it’s just nice to chill and smell the roses but those times should be far and few between if you want to get anything in training. I mean, I am not always sitting on hot coals but you get the point.
2. You will fail. More often than you think.
I think this is what a lot of us are missing when planning and starting a new training plan. We are promised amazing results from left, right and center. Do this one simple thing and you will [insert any fitness goal, ever]. Six weeks to six pack workout plan, anyone?
Once we hit the first hurdle we quit because our expectations were too grand to start off with. Yes, some of us will hit all the marks and get all the promised results but for the majority of us it’s not going to be easy. So once you fail it can crush you and you might think it’s all too hard for what it’s worth. Because from what you can see it’s easy for everyone else, right? Wrong! High achievers always get highlighted but you never see the flip side of the coin. The fact that for every person with outrageous results there’s at least ten others who struggled beyond comprehension.
The key in here is to acknowledge that there might be failures along the way but it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. As I’ve written before, don’t let a single failure go to waste but learn from each and every one of them. That way each failing turns into a learning.
To think of my push up-pull up-lunge challenge again, I accepted in the beginning that there is a chance I might fail. I might get sick. I might get unbearable knee or elbow pain and can’t keep going. If that would happen what can I learn from it for the next time? Would I be better off switching my grip more often with pull ups? Or to alternate between back, side and lateral lunges instead of just going forward all the time. Maybe I would need to spend more time on the foam roller? Or sleep more? Who knows. But if I do have to stop I will look back at where did I go wrong and what can I change for the next time…
There is a lesson to learn somewhere. Don’t waste a single opportunity to improve your odds for success!