Why place our happiness and self-worth on hold until we reach a particular fitness goal?
Why let our work determine whether we’re valuable or not?
Why let media, the guru down the street, your co-workers, or peers determine what’s good and what isn’t?
Whatever happened to living our own truth?
In 2015, my fragile psyche caught up to me. I quit writing. I quit working out. I quit eating healthy. I lost my identity. I was searching and clinging for something, but I didn’t know what that something was. I began to question if I made the right decision to leave school (along with many other things).
Just as a phoenix goes through a re-birth, I needed to experience the same. I was emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically depleted.
Reinvention is not easy, nor is it pretty. A reinvention isn’t going to happen overnight, it’s a daily practice that requires consistency and dedication. A reinvention starts with getting your internal world in order and building from the inside out.
Here are ten actions I implemented to slowly get myself off the floor and begin to get back into my fitness routine and changing my life for the better.
Steps to a reinvention in life & fitness
1. Stare at the man or woman in the mirror
Michael Jackson reminded us to stare at ourselves in the mirror and that’s how we were going to make a change.
In the art of reinventing yourself, the same logic applies. Reinvention starts with taking a trip into our internal world.
If you want to lose weight, it’s up to you to make it happen. You can read plenty of books (including my upcoming one) and health magazines while psyching yourself up with fitness inspiration quotes, but at the end of the day, it’s about you taking action to make it happen.
Talking about it isn’t enough (that’s merely pretending, something I was an expert at).
I talked about trying to learn how to salsa dance for years and secretly envied dancers for years. I envied friends and peers who wrote books and shared their ideas through speaking.
After enough time, you realize that it’s no one’s fault that these events aren’t manifesting—the onus is on you.
It’s freeing and scary to realize that everything you do and don’t is 100% your fault and in your control. Realize that you and only you are the captain of your operation.
2. What do you love doing?
Take a second and brainstorm at least ten things you love doing. Yes, I know you want to level up your fitness, but there is more to life than macros and squats.
An unbalanced life where everything dictates around fitness isn’t ideal and eventually leads to burnout (trust me on this one).
Seek a balanced lifestyle; thus ensuring yourself that you’re mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually addressing your components for a world class body and life.
After you wrote your list of ten things, pick two or three of them and start to pursue them.
3. Commit to movement every day
It’s not about the quantity or duration of your session, it’s about the quality and intensity of the session. It’s better to do a little every day than to do an astronomical amount a couple days out of the week.
Incorporating daily movement into your life programs your brain to become accustomed to exercise and rely less on willpower.
Daily movement doesn’t mean going to the gym every day and strength training. Daily movement on off days could be salsa dancing, learning how to tango, walking for 30-60 minutes, yoga, hiking, or riding your bike. Your only objective is to get moving each-and-every-single-day.
4. Write down 5 things that scare the living hell out of you
I love people, but yet they equally terrify me. I’ve wanted to speak for a great deal of time, but fear has cemented me in asphalt and kept me in neutral.
Nevertheless, when it comes to your new goals and aspirations, you must attack your fears with aggression. Realize that those moments of feeling uncomfortable, uncertain, and nervous are positive signs that you’re heading in the right direction of growing in fitness and within your life.
Change isn’t going to happen inside your safe bubble of comfort and familiarity.
5. Pick two or three of those scary things and start doing them
I choose public speaking, asking for help, and a dream project that can’t be announced yet (I’m very superstitious).
What about you?
You can accomplish anything you set your mind to, but not all at once. Pick only a couple new things that scare you and put your focus on those.
As with any new habit, do a little each day. Don’t place unbearable expectations on yourself. Keep it small, consistent, and over time, these seemingly insignificantly actions magically add up into an impressive body of work.
6. Write down how you envision yourself in three months, six months, and 12 months
This is about you making a declaration for your fitness and your life.
Without a vision, you’re walking aimlessly into the forest without a compass or the stars to guide you.
The odds of succeeding without a vision isn’t likely. How will you know what succeeding in fitness looks and feels like if you haven’t determined it?
Without establishing what your goals and success metrics are, you run the risk of letting the external world determine if you’re a success or not.
People often over-estimate what can be accomplished in the short term, but under-estimate what can be accomplished over the long haul.
Establishing a vision provides a “why” to justify the actions that you’re taking on a daily basis.
7. Find a Yoda, form a team, or find a partner in crime
Nothing is accomplished in this world by yourself. I learned this the hard way. I’m slowly starting to build an accountability network and support team for my fitness, writing, speaking, relationships, and general well-being.
Everyone needs someone that they can lean their shoulders on or fall back into during hard times.
Whether it’s finding a workout partner or joining a community of like-minded individuals—find some form of accountability and support along your fitness journey.
If it’s in your day-to-day life, seek out a mentor or someone who has been through what you’re going through and is currently at a level you desire.
Layout challenges for each other and clearly state what you want and let them help you form a blueprint for succeeding.
8. Take a 30-day challenge
No, not the kind that forces you to follow unbearable and restrictive dietary guidelines. This actionable challenge is focused on improving your habits, behaviors and quality of life.
Here are a couple 30-day challenges which could be implemented depending on your most pressing need at the moment.
Emotionally: Say no to something you don’t want to do each day or to a task or person that isn’t that important but you feel obligated to say “yes” to. I decreased my social media time & made a concerted effort to speak with one good friend each day (even for as little as ten minutes).
Spiritually: Give gratitude each day for two to three new things. You could even try meditating for as little as five minutes each day.
Mentally: Read every day and become aware of the information you’re consuming. As you’re watching TV or reading gossip columns, take a pause to notice how you’re feeling. Does this piece bring you joy and provide a benefit or is it mindless entertainment serving as a procrastination tool from important work?
Physically: How can you improve by 1% each day and make it feel effortless?
Simple. Pick an exercise and aim for small incremental progressions.
Perform a plank every day, adding one second each day. Start at a number you feel comfortable with. You can do this with push-ups or squats. OR, even better, commit to walking each day for as little as 20-30 minutes.
9. Feed your brain with only premium information
Junk food in, junk food out. You are literally what you consume. If you’re on a heavy binge of bad reality TV, obsessing over the latest celebrity news, and vicariously living through Instagram photos (newsflash, that isn’t the real world)—then expect your life to be a manifestation of your consuming habits.
Is the majority of your information making you a better person, smarter, benefiting your job, improving your relationships, and making you healthier. Or is it just serving as a distraction to occupy you at night, prevent you from facing your true feelings and emotions about life, or are you just bored?
Figure out your ratio of consumption and tilt the barometer in the favor of benefiting the life and health you desire.
The worst thing about junk information is that it clouds and distorts your thoughts, which is the first step toward getting you to take action on your goals.
As I mentioned numerous times, thoughts lead to feelings which lead to your actions and behaviors. Without being mindful of this, you’re going to be circling in a negative feedback loop and spinning your wheels.
10. Track your results and hold yourself accountable
As you’re trying to make an 180 in your life, tracking your results and habits is essential. Accountability is essential and necessary for change.
Pick a couple daily habits and behaviors to focus on. Here are a couple of resources and ideas.
- Track your chosen habits and behaviors
- Make an excel spreadsheet to track your results
- Use Chronometer to track your food intake (yes, the foods aren’t exact in numbers, but they’re close enough)
- Find an accountability buddy or group and chart your results, wins, and difficulties weekly with each other. Definitely, share what’s been holding you back and get some input and needed help.
Try these ten things out. As with most things worthwhile in life, change and results aren’t going to happen overnight or with the flick of the wrist. But, if you do the work, put your hard hat on each and every day while trusting the process—a new you will magically appear before you even realize it.