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Adjusting Training and Eating Habits for Lifelong Success

Adjusting Training and Eating Habits for Lifelong Success

Adjusting Training and Eating Habits for Lifelong Success

Not every life situation is ideally suited for an all-out attack on your health and fitness goals. There are times when improving your training and eating habits have to take a back seat. Then, there are times when you can focus almost exclusively on training, habit changes and generally winning with health goals. Adjusting habits to whatever else is happening is an important skill to have. Here’s how to do it all

1. Know When To Pull Back

These are the times when you’re already chasing your tail, trying to catch life’s curveballs as they hit your way. The times when you have a tight deadline at work that takes 28 hours of your time each day or when you are required to travel. Times when you have to care for someone close to you. Or on an upside, the holiday times. Switching your training or diet to a higher gear during these times just doesn’t work, you’ve maxed out on the available gears.

What should you do with your training during pull-back times?

Do the minimum to maintain what you’ve got so far. If you are used to training 5 hours a week, take it back to 2-3 or even less. You might even be better off planning your training so that during pull-back times, you are recovering and taking time off, your body needs it every now and then. Stay active in other ways.

Have a plan in place to set aside a few minutes each day for meditation or another form of stress release.

What shouldn’t you do with your training during pull-back times?

Don’t stress if you can’t keep up with your normal training schedule. Don’t tackle the new(est) Hollywood Belly Fat Blaster or Gunz of a Ghetto He-Man – training plans.

What should you do with your diet and habits during pull-back times?

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Have pre-cooked meals that can be heated with no effort. If your pull-back situation has taken you by surprise, you need to keep your cooking simple, efficient and nutritious. But tasty too. Keep recipes that are fast and that can be cooked without sparing a thought whether you should cook them. It might come in handy during these times. Cook big batches or find restaurants or delivery services that can cater to your diet needs.

Make it as simple as possible to maintain the habits you’ve worked on developing so far. As always, if you have the option to do so, planning trumps everything else.

What shouldn’t you do with diet and habits during pull-back times?

Too many people resort to fast food and microwave dinners during these hectic periods. It’s unfortunate since you may already be stressed or tired, and might be pushing your mental and physical limits. Piling poor diet choices on top of it all will make you feel lethargic, and you won’t be at your best when others might need your superhuman skills.

Don’t worry about winning any Michelin stars with your cooking. Or mastering advanced vegetable chopping skills. “Good enough” will suffice.

Don’t add new habits unless you are 100% confident you can stick to them.

2. Know When To Aim For Reasonable Progress

This is where we find ourselves most of the time. You might be busy, but nicely balancing family, work, training, and habits. You work normal hours on most days, and there’s room for regular training in your schedule. Things are not chaotic or out of control.

What should you do with training during reasonable progress?

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It’s good to alternate between easy and moderate, Occasionally when the stars align, test your limits. Stay at a reasonable level most of the time. Meaning, you show up, get your training done and move on. Don’t bang the dumbbells together trying to ignite the fire or get into a fistfight because someone else is using the bench press. Try to progress during these times by doing a little bit better, each session.

Have flexibility built into your training, that you can use to adjust to a situation that might arise at work, or at home. Some weeks you might be motivated to train more and during the others you might train less. It’s all good, as long as it all balances out over a longer period. Think life-long cumulative of training as a marathon and not a sprint.

What shouldn’t you do with training during reasonable progress?

Don’t be a hero and try to tackle epic and complicated training plans that are going to get thrown out the window as soon as something unexpected happens. Don’t sign up for a “6 weeks to a 10-pack” boot camp.

Also, you don’t have to feel as if you’ve been run over by a freight train after each session.

What should you with diet and habits during reasonable progress?

Add and track new habits one at a time until they become part of your routine. Keep working on the habits that you have tackled in the past and figure out ways to make them better suited for you. Find your “sweet spots”. Plan ahead so that you know how to react when an unusual or stressful situation comes around.

What shouldn’t you do with diet and habits during reasonable progress?

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Don’t take on habits, unless you are at least 80-90% confident that you can succeed with them.

3. Know When To Go All-In

These are the times when work is easy or non-existent. You have a private chef (or a very supportive wife) cooking all your meals and helping you with every request you might have. You have a nanny with a British accent who looks after the kids while you overhead press in the penthouse. You might even own a pool and a dolphin. Or you might be an 18-year-old living in your parents’ basement. Mum’s your chef and Dad is your spotter. You have no money issues, work troubles or dependents to look after. What you do have is all the time in the world.

What should you do with training during these times?

Always wanted to try the hardest of all training plans? Want to tackle the insane 6 month-long plan that ‘The Rock’ is on? Spend an extra hour at the gym each day just to work on your triceps? Go for it; this is your chance!

What shouldn’t you do with training during these times?

Don’t try to break the world record for squatting on a stability ball, because, well, it’s just dumb! And dangerous! Otherwise, do whatever you want. Because there isn’t any reason not to. Nothing is going to slow you down. But just don’t get injured.

What should you with diet and habits during these times?

Go on the strictest eating plan and calculate and weigh every single calorie and macronutrient. Let your life revolve around eating, and skip every possible social gathering in order to become the version of yourself that you want to be. I mean, for you, success should be measured in weights lifted and protein consumed.

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What shouldn’t you do with diet and habits during these times?

Don’t search for the secret supplement to increase your arm size. Don’t eat magic mushrooms or go on a juice cleanse to lose weight. Also, don’t do steroids.

By now, you might have realized that for most of us #3s, it is as rare as coming across a double-headed donkey. It is unlikely that you will be so fortunate. And you most likely wouldn’t be reading this blog. Then again, maybe you are a bored 16-year old billionaire living in your parents’ basement with your dolphin, who just enjoys my down-to-earth approach to fitness.

The times that are ideal for combining a tough training plan with a strict diet might come along once every few years, at best. Yet, this is what most people do when they start a journey toward their fitness goals. They sign up for mad challenges or follow a training and diet plan they found online. Those plans that are designed for a person who has the luxury to train for a living. Or the plans are clearly made for those who have some form of “chemical adjustments” flowing through their veins. And that is why most people who start also fail.

You are going to have more success by adhering to a reasonable and well-balanced approach that adjusts to your life as it happens. Sometimes you do more and sometimes you do less. Occasionally, you just work on staying where you are without worrying about progress. I mean, I love training more than most people, but it’s not my whole life. It’s just a part of it.

Reasonable progress doesn’t sound sexy or sell a lot of books, or even make great TV programs, but it does work if you have the patience for it.

What’s the best part? If you do it right, it will stick.

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@jessebowser via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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