Think it! Do it! Become it!

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

In order to achieve long term success when it comes to getting in shape, your thinking has to be focused on the image you want to create. Even more than that, you have to base your thinking on what goes into creating that image.
For example, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most effective long term activities for getting in shape, but in order to maximize the benefits of BJJ, it’s better to take the attitude of making BJJ a lifestyle, than to think of BJJ as something you’re doing to get in shape.
Once you make it a lifestyle, you must begin to identify with it. The more you immerse yourself in its’ culture, the more you begin looking forward to training and improving.
As a matter of fact, the training can become addicting and you’ll find yourself making sacrifices just to get to the dojo to train.
I am not advocating Jiu Jitsu per se, but it is an art that I am intimately familiar with, so it is easy for me to comment on and that is why I chose it as my example.
I do recommend that you find an activity that you can have a passion for and one that allows for steady improvement, so basically find something you can enjoy for life.
The point I want to make is if you’re going to choose tennis, for example, then become a tennis player, not someone who plays tennis. There is a difference. Now understand, I’m not saying go out and train for the pro tennis tour necessarily, but instead, start to identify yourself as a tennis player or whatever activity it is and simply think to yourself, I’m a tennis player I play for fun, I play to get better, I play because this is what I identify with and this is what I do.
Also, play for competition even if you’re only competing against yourself (ie… I lift weights, but I don’t compete, although I’m constantly trying to improve upon my last lifts, so in essence I am competing against myself).
Once you “become it” you get more focused on participation and building a skill set than you do on getting in shape.
This is a good thing because it helps you to overcome mental blocks that you may have toward exercise.
A lot of times the perspective you and a lot of people may have is that exercise is hard monotonous work and it would be for me too if I had to get up everyday to grind it out doing something I don’t like. It is hard tedious work and I’m only going to lose a few pounds, furthermore this is a short term fix to a long term problem so if you don’t initiate a lifestyle change then you are most likely going to gain the weight back because the behaviors that put the weight on still remain.
Once an activity becomes a lifestyle, getting in shape is a side effect which is what you want to a point.
I do believe some focus should be placed on getting in shape, but if you place too much focus on getting in shape then it ceases to be enjoyable and at some point you’ll most likely stop doing it.
It is very hard to motivate yourself to keep doing something for life when you dislike it.
That is why I believe it is important to have a lifetime activity that you have a passion for, because then you have a lifetime workout plan, but you don’t view it as such.
I’ve spent the better part of my life in the gym/dojo and the one thing I have noticed over the years is I see a lot of the same people.
The people that stay for a little while and quit never identified with it. They never truly embraced the culture, but the people that stick with it they see their activity as a part of their lifestyle because the benefits of that lifestyle is a part of who they are.
I’ll use myself as an example.
I am a lifelong martial artist and sometimes I like to take a break from training, but try as might, I cannot stay away too long because martial arts start calling me back and I go crazy trying to ignore the call.
It is not just the training that I identify with, but also the skill set that I have acquired through training. Not just the physical skill set, but the mental attributes as well because training conditions the mind and the body.
Focus, emotional control, drive, pain tolerance, and temperance are all endowments of training.
When you identify with a certain activity, there are always other people that share your same interest. This is something you should take advantage of, especially if you participate in group activities, because then you have to be accountable to other people.
This is so powerful because we are social creatures and social acceptance within your chosen group can seriously motivate you because then you are operating off the expectations of other like-minded people.
Sometimes we can live with disappointing ourselves, but when it comes to disappointing others, especially those we’ve come to like and respect, we take accountability much more seriously.
Once you belong to a group of people that are banded together for a common interest, whether it’s cardio kickboxing, yoga or sculpting, the social immersion will help you to identify with your newfound interest.
One last thing, you may have to try several different things before you find something that really piques your interest, so if you try something and you’re not feeling it, then it might not be the right fit.
Don’t stop. Keep looking. You will find something that fits your interests and abilities.

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