Successful people – whether its health, career or even within relationships – make it look easy, don’t they? They seem to glide along, knocking down their goals with relative ease. But what we don’t see is the hard work and commitment behind the scenes, day-to-day.
Here are 5 fitness traits of successful people, and how to incorporate them into your own life–
Be Unafraid to Make a (Flexible) Plan
Success is very rarely an accident. It’s a thought-out plan and goal that is mulled over, broken down into detail, and ultimately executed. Nobody ever got into the best shape of their life by rolling into the gym when “they felt like it.” They sat down and figured out what they wanted from their health, wrote out the goal, and broke down what it would take for them to get there.
Some will shy away from planning, citing the desire to not feel constricted or boxed-in by plans. But the ultimate freedom comes from focusing your time intensely on specific activities for short bursts of pre-determined time so that you can devote the rest of your day to other things.
Going to the gym and not having a plan, and being that dude who walks from machine to machine, with no clear plan or objective simply insures that you have a sub-par workout, which only delays the results you ultimately want.
They Make Their Health a Habit
We live in an age of temptation. We are bombarded relentlessly by marketing agencies and big brands hawking products that although convenient, are not that good for us. From ads on Facebook, the sponsored Tweets on Twitter, to the avalanche of fast food commercials broadcast during NFL games, we are being pummeled with this stuff like never before.
Recent research has shown that willpower – that voice that tells us what we should be doing when everything around us, including the other voice in our mind, is telling us otherwise – is a finite resource. We are only gifted so much of it each day, which means that if forced to use it repeatedly and for extended periods of time we will run out. And that is the point where less than optimal decisions are made.
SEE ALSO: 12 Ways to Make Working Out a Habit
A trick to avoid having to use your willpower, or at least a lot less of it, is to institute habits with your workout routine. Each morning run for 45 minutes at the same time. Go straight to the gym right after work. Pre-cook your meals for the week every Sunday night at 8pm. Make non-negotiable dates and deadlines with yourself and stick to them until they become habit. At that point living a healthy lifestyle will become second-nature, and you will be able to wield your willpower muscles elsewhere.
Maintain a High Level of Personal Integrity
Your word should mean something, not only with the promises and commitments you make with others, but more importantly – with yourself. If you tell yourself that you are going to workout every day for the next 30 days, do you believe it? Does doubt and a six-foot pile of “what-ifs” appear in your periphery? Or does the goal feel it’s already achieved itself because you know that your word is bond?
Personal integrity – and letting loose of the perceived shackles that they bring – are a slippery slope. If you commit to going to the gym, and skip a session within your first week, your mind will race to find the excuses to justify it. Which will only make it easier to bail on another workout down the road.
If you are having a hard time keeping promises with yourself, it’s time to start smaller. Avoid the big, grandiose goals if you have a track record of not following through. Develop and strengthen your personal integrity by making small commitments and promises to yourself. Eventually you’ll graduate to the next level, build more confidence and so on.
They Capitalize on Their Keystone Behaviours/Actions
Often times we only need to make one behaviour or habit in our lives to set off a chain reaction of positive change. Like a rain drop sinking into still water, this positive change has the ability to radiate outwards into the distance, touching areas we never considered, creating new and better habits – and eventually outcomes – all over the place.
For example, someone who gets a full night of sleep each night is not only not tired the following day, but they have decreased levels of leptin in your blood while also increasing ghrelin levels, the combination of which increases hunger. Additionally, being fully rested keeps your cortisol levels low, insuring that your metabolism is operating at an optimal rate. Add this to a heightened level of energy and focus, and you have a winning combination for a healthy lifestyle.
You don’t need to change everything in your life all at once. Pick the 1-2 big things and focus exclusively on those.
A Missed Workout Doesn’t Become a Missed Week of Workouts
It’s not uncommon for us to fall for the all-or-nothing mentality. Either you make every workout and/or eat exactly according to your diet plan, or the whole getting-fit-thing gets thrown out the window. Missed a workout? Give yourself a swift kick to the butt, but not so hard that you don’t want to go back tomorrow.
If you find that skipping and missing workouts is becoming a habit, its time to sit down and re-evaluate your fitness goals. Are they not driving you as much as they could? Why are you lacking in motivation to see your workouts through? Is there anything you can do to make your workouts a habit instead of something that makes brief appearances in your list of top priorities?
Can you think of any other fitness traits of successful people? List them in the comment section below.