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Fitness is a Journey. Bring a Map.

Fitness is a Journey. Bring a Map.

    From the several hours I spend a day at my gym I get to observe all types of gym goers.  One thing most of them have in common is that they all appear to be lost.  The gym, much like a dense forest, can be a very scary place and if you don’t have a plan you can end up forgetting where you are or where you are going.  Here are a few things you must do if you want to guarantee success at the gym.

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    1. Have a clear destination

    If you’re going to venture into the forest it would seem smart to have a general idea of where you are going and why you are going there.  The first question you must ask yourself is “why”?  Why are you even working out?  It sounds simple but if you cannot come up with a good enough answer than you may be wasting your time.  You see, if you are working out based on other people’s values of what a healthy lifestyle is, then you may be setting yourself up for failure.  Once you understand why then you must figure out what you would like the end result to be.  You should choose something specific and you should write it down.  How many pounds would you like to lose?  What size clothes do you want to fit in?  How many points off your cholesterol would you like to drop?  Ask yourself specific questions and have answers for them.  Next you must decide when you would like to have reached these goals.  Create specific times and dates.  Mark them down on your calendar.

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    2. Have a plan

    Once you know where you want to go you must now figure out the path you would like to take to get there.  In fitness there are many paths to choose from and it can be quite confusing.  While some paths may be quicker or more appropriate to take then others it is most important to just pick one and stay with it.  Every time you enter that gym have a clear idea of what is going to happen. Know what pieces of equipment you need to use, know how many sets and reps you must perform and have a good idea how long it should take you to complete the workout.

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    3. Stay the course

    There will be times when it may seem hard to stay on track.  Whether you’re traveling, someone is using a piece of equipment you need to use, or work gets in the way.  It will be important for you to learn to improvise in these situations.  Plan ahead when traveling, have alternate exercises in mind, and learn to adapt when change occurs. But in the end, always trust in the course you have previously mapped out for yourself.  Come back to it and adhere to it as accurately as possible.

    4. Record everything

    Always keep a fitness journal. Otherwise you will find it very hard to keep track of where you have been and where you are going.  Write down all exercises performed, how much weight used, how you felt, and if you think you can do better the next time you workout.  This is one of the most overlooked and powerful tools when it comes to attaining your goals.

    Fitness is all about getting from point A to point B.  Unless you have a clear and defined path to get from one to the other you will find yourself going in circles. Using the tips outlined above create yourself your own fitness map and stick to it until you reach your destination.

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    Last Updated on July 23, 2019

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

    Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

    How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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    • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
    • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
    • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
    • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
    • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
    • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

    When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

    1. Realize You’re Not Alone

    Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

    2. Find What Inspires You

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    Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

    On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

    3. Give Yourself a Break

    When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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    Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

    4. Shake up Your Routines

    Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

    Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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    When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

    5. Start with a Small Step

    Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

    Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

    More to Help You Stay Motivated

    Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

    Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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