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Why Our Fitness Addiction Is Going Too Far

Why Our Fitness Addiction Is Going Too Far

Working out, building muscle and fitness are going too far. That seems like a big call, but some people work out five times a week and get addicted to it without having an underlying purpose. Now, don’t get me wrong, working out is the best thing that can happen to a human body, but expending all your energy building up your body just for the sake of it, or only in order to look good for a 10-day beach holiday, is definitely not healthy. It’s proving that you don’t do it for your health and the great feeling you get after a workout, but that you do for other people.

I have personally worked out for eight and a half years now, and I found myself going too far with my fitness addiction in the last two years. But thankfully that time has passed, and I have other goals now. Being healthy is one thing, but being obsessed with calories, and sugar intake, and posting photos of healthy oatmeal and shakes all the time is not healthy. It’s spammy, purposeless, and it’s taking up a big piece of your time (and time is a nonrenewable resource). Here are some tell-tale signs of a fitness addiction gone too far, and some steps you can take to pull back.

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How many people would eat healthy if there weren’t any social networks?

Have you ever felt that people wouldn’t work out or eat healthy if there weren’t any social networks? That if they weren’t able to post every morning’s healthy meals, or share the pace and mileage they run via Nike Running or Runtastic, then they wouldn’t even bother to eat healthy or jog? The healthy reason for working out has been overtaken by keeping up appearances on social networks and the thrill of the cheering crowd around the performer. If you work out to be healthy and feel vigorous, then you shouldn’t make your focus in the endeavor that part of the day where you eat your meals or you do your workout.

Health is lifestyle, not an obsession

When I was obsessed with my health, I considered myself a healthy lifestyler and I surrounded myself with “healthy” people. We would meticulously check labels and aspire to specialty products we couldn’t really afford. However, I think that every human on this earth should make a difference in their lifetime. Spending time calculating calories and eating healthy without any underlying purpose is selfish and unproductive. From the individual’s point of view it’s a healthy obsession, but health is not something to think about all the time. Not only is it a pure waste of time, but it’s formulating the mindset of a purposeless human being. Good health is a lifestyle, with regular diet, dealing with problems and stress, and working out on a regular basis — without the “obsession” part. Sweating is great for the human body, but it’s not worth turning it into an obsession.

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When do we know it’s an addiction?

From my personal experience, during the first two years of my gym obsession I was addicted, boring, and even toxic around other people. I was telling them that they were crazy for eating bread, sweets and chips without them even asking me for advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you find yourself starting in on the healthy lifestyle subject without being asked, trying to ram down other people’s throats how eating healthy food and working out is the best thing and they must do it, then you are addicted.

If we want to encourage others to switch to a healthy lifestyle, then we have to be a great example of what that lifestyle looks like. Obsessing, constantly posting pictures on social networks, bragging about how we eat healthy all the time and that everybody should do it, won’t change a thing. But it will give a bad example to people and possibly put them off. Instead, by feeling energetic, fresh, and cheerful around others, we give them the best example we can of a healthy lifestyle. If people want to know your secret, then you can start with your speech!

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When you feel like you are going too far, try to determine what your motive is when it comes to working out or fitness. If you really want to be a healthy example for others, become a personal trainer or try to get a job in the health industry. But do it because that’s what really thrills you and that’s your vision. Otherwise you are just obsessing and wasting your time worrying about what the girls or the boys on the beach think about you. Ask yourself if you would you still work out and be obsessed with it if you were the last person in the world? If the answer is yes then you probably need to make living out of it. If the answer is no, just work out to feel good and don’t be obsessed with it.

Work out to feel good, eat healthy to be healthy, and don’t do it for others. Health is the starting point to happiness!

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Featured photo credit: Santa won’t be stuck in the chimneys anymore/Berge Gazen via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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