The ABCD Method of New Beginnings
A new year, a new you? At least for a few weeks, eh? The gyms are packed. Personal trainers are working their own tushies off. Sparks are flying.
Motivation is a beautiful thing. January brings a new oxygen to the planet. As if we require some universal signal that it’s ok to declare a new beginning. Much like the first day of school. The backpack is full of new stuff–tools sharpened and minds eager.
Take full advantage at any time of year to declare a new beginning. If it’s January 1st, that’s great! If it’s your birthday, a Monday, or the first day of class—perfect!
There is extraordinary power in beginning.
The question is will you be a soldier or a wound up warrior? Taking the world by storm in January is empowering. Come February, March and April– you know who’s still at the gym? The soldiers. Those that have figured out that mastery is a hike, not a sprint.
The ABCD Method is a simple way to begin a lifestyle change of any kind. Remember, your body will go where your mind tells it to.
1. Admit your starting position.
This took me years to learn. Defining the starting line isn’t as simple as it seems.
If you were a track star in high school doesn’t mean you’re a 6 minute miler now. If you were in great shape last year but have slipped back into old habits causing a 20 pound weight gain, look at the scale. So you’re a guy who can bench press 40 pounds and used to do 150 with no problem, so be it.
Denial is a glue that binds one lie to another until it is your foundation from which real change can never occur. Real change requires real baselines. Self confidence comes from growing your true self.
Don’t be afraid of your starting line. Free yourself from the pressure of living up to who you think you are or how others perceive you.
2. Battle yourself.
This may seem like strange advice. But you’re doing it anyways so you might as well do it with some control. Once you’ve admitted where you really are in relation to where you want to be, deal with your negative thoughts and self-criticisms now so you’re prepared over the long haul. Get them all out on the table because this is a battle you’re going to win.
Unless you’re confident you can referee yourself, I suggest you allow me to assist. You fill in the blanks. (Note: use specific examples that reflect a generalized pattern when filling in the blanks).
A. I felt like such a failure when I _________.
a. If I would have done __________ instead of __________, I would have felt successful.
B. I start out all gung-ho and then over time I lose motivation because __________.
b. I tend to keep my motivation longer when __________ occurs.
C. When I see someone else who has what I want, I feel __________.
c. I feel empowered by others when they __________.
D. If I disappoint myself, I tend to __________.
d. When I get back on track right after disappointing myself, I feel __________.
E. If I’m having a bad day and I look in the mirror, my first thought is __________.
e. The top 3 things I most admire about myself are __________.
We all have negative thoughts, experience disappointment, and at times even feel hopeless. Like everything in life, it’s always about how you spin it in your mind. You can take any negative thought or destructive pattern and turn it into a positive motivator for change. It’s a skill that takes practice. This exercise is designed to initiate that practice.
Mastering a FIT life requires you to get really, really good at catching negative thoughts that provide the fuel that excuses thrive on. Catch it, spin it, and drive on. Excuses are the death of progress!!
3. Create a vision.
Dream. Imagine. Envision.
Nothing wrong with wanting perfection. Just don’t expect it. There’s nothing wrong with shooting for your ideal vision of yourself. Acknowledge that you are in charge of the journey and the effort. We don’t ever reach perfection. We just keep chiseling and improving. Progress is not always obvious. Time is required!
Your vision can be crossing a finish line, seeing a number on the scale, fitting into a pair of jeans, or a grocery cart full of colorful produce. Maybe it’s playing a beautiful song on the piano. It’s your vision. Let it loose in your mind.
4. Define one daily action in line with your vision in a no excuse zone.
Goal setting has become way too complicated. All it takes is one action daily consistent with your goal to develop a habit. Without the habit, the details won’t matter.
We are not lacking fitness options or diet plans. Americans are lacking the discipline to use any of them consistently. Except those soldiers who understand repetition and doing the drill over and over and over again.
Mastering a FIT life is a process of daily actions that ultimately add up to what we call a “healthy lifestyle”.
How do you stay disciplined? How do you stay consistent? How do you prevent yourself from resorting to old habits?
I have a 5 part answer for you. Stay tuned.
May the new year be a new beginning for you. May that beginning morph into a path you can be proud to travel.
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