Your biggest battle isn't your training methods, or your diet, or even the fact that you are unfit and overweight. All of that stuff is really pittance compared to the inner dialogue you are going to have to deal with along the way. The stuff you don't like doing, that you know you need to be doing, creates a very real, very convincing inner voice that tries to dissuade you every step of the way! It is like your own internal Gremlin picking away at you and sabotaging you.
I went for a run today, something i have just started because i have always disliked it but know it has plenty of benefits that will add to my present goals. It was only 3km so not exactly a marathon and this is how it went:-
- Before i started "Do you really need to do this?" over and over!
- First few steps "I can do this!"
- At about 50m "Why the hell am i doing this?"
- From then till about the 800m mark there was very real internal argument happening in my head. Just stop, NO, just turn around, NO, You don't have to do this, YES I DO
- From there i found a rhythm and by the time i was nearing the end it was "just do another lap?"
You've probably experienced the same thing at some point? This is what you need to learn to overcome to achieve your goals more than anything else because it is this constant dialogue that you can't escape. You can surround yourself with like minded people, you could have the best program in the world, be following the best diet ever but at some point it is going to get hard! Actually no its going to get HARD!! Then none of that matters because you have to take control and push these internal thoughts aside.
When things get tough, it is easy to listen to these voices and go back to doing the things you find easy! We all tend to gravitate towards the things we find easy because initially these are the things that get us the initial results and help us become consistent. At some point though we have to accept the fact that we need to get uncomfortable, do the things that push and challenge us and often this will mean doing the things we don't like so much. Dieting, Cardio, weights, HIIT, waking up early, the list goes on but it is at this point that the Mental battle starts.
James Fell Wrote a great piece recently on Six pack abs that explains just how tough things can get on your way to achieving your goal and YOU have to make the decision each and every day about just how far you are willing to go! For most the start is actually relatively easy, you see progress happen fairly quickly and this is enough to quell the inner voice "See it is working!" but then things slow and the more progress you make the slower progress comes. You have to accept this fact and when the negative talk starts you need to have a very strong WHY to fight back with!
The first step to overcoming and winning this battle is action! Just do the thing you are avoiding. This seems so simple but so many people do just roll over, hit the snooze button and don't take the initial action to make their goal a reality. Realise that the inner dialogue is going to happen and the best way to stop it is by actually just jumping into action.
From there it is just a matter of working through the initial internal argument until your actions and mind make the negative talk back off. Our mind is a simple thing and really we are mostly guided by pleasure and pain as humans, our mind realises that we are going to be uncomfortable (Pain) and naturally tells you to back away but soon enough we feel the endorphins kick in, see the results of our work, feel the pride of success (Pleasure) and the inner voices die away and are replaced with that drive and excitement that keeps you going!
In reality your health and fitness journey is fighting a heap of little skirmishes in an internal war. Our bodies like to be comfortable and really don't like big changes (Homeostasis) so we need accept it won't be easy and realise that our body and mind are going to put up a fight. You need to decide that what you are doing is worth the discomfort and effort and develop the skills to just get you going, as once you are going you are much harder to stop!