I created a free Body Beast nutrition tracker for those of you following the program.
I found a lot of terrible ones online that were just far too complicated. Despite being a tech geek, I really like tracking my workouts and food intake on paper – so I designed a paper-based tracker to do just that.
If you followed my recent series on self-determination theory, the concept of intrinsic motivation is likely a familiar concept to you. Building an inner framework for success based on your own perceptions and values is infinitely more valuable than relying on external motivators to achieve your goals.
Yeah, it’s that time again. Time to make some resolutions to lose some weight, to get fit, eat right, so on and so forth.
However, my favourite little webcomic, XKCD, had this to say about resolutions:
You know, I’ve been mulling the whole idea of creating effective personal change. I’ve been plugging away at the book and at a new mobile app I’m developing to help track my mental state throughout the day, to help identify my peak periods of productivity. And the more that I work on these various projects, the more I realize that cycles or loops are really a basic part of the human condition.
Think about it for a minute. Any “personal improvement” project you’ve ever started probably had the following pattern or rhythm:
Start new habits with the best of intentions
Stay on track for a while
Wobble a bit as you lose your focus
Curse yourself as you completely fall off the wagon
Take a break, and then start back at Step 1.
What if maybe – just maybe – we need to embrace that cycle instead of cursing it?
Really. I’m serious. Stop laughing.
The longer I hang around on this planet, the more I realize that humans are great at sabotaging themselves. We inevitably will “fail”, yet each and every time that we start our plans anew, we declare solemnly “THIS time will be different”.
But this time won’t be different. It will be the same as last time. You’ll muck up. The reality of the human condition is that you will “fail” again, and again, and again.
The fact that people do this to themselves hundreds of times in their lives leads me to posit the statement below:
What if we started out on our personal improvement journey with a PLAN to fail – and fail often?
It’s not as crazy as it seems. One of the best principles of successful people is that they learn to “fail early, and fail often”. If you build in the expectation, and capacity for “failure”, then you already have a plan “b” – or at least you’re expecting to have to create a plan “b” on the fly when the need arises.
I’ve realized that in my case, three to four weeks is about the maximum amount of time that I can stick to ANYTHING (writing, eating right, exercising, or even keeping this blog alive).
So I think I’m going to take a little different approach to my resolutions this year. I’m going to give myself three weeks at a maximum to work on any one of my health-related resolutions.
Once the three-week point hits, I’m going to drastically change up whatever I’m working on and move to something completely different. Bodyweight exercises for the first three weeks – then flip to kickboxing cardio sessions. Food journal for a few weeks, then switch to a primal diet.
I’m excited about this approach, as I think there’s a lot of merit in it. I’ll be writing about it as I go along; I’d be interested to see what your experience is with your resolutions. Leave me a note in the comments below.
Wellness Rebels the world over know that there are really no excuses when it comes to sticking to their fitness routines.
That’s why I was so excited to see the picture and the caption below from my good friend Meghan, who is a wonderful embodiment of the phrase “No Excuses”:
Today I added a new exerciser to my routine. It is for those days I don’t want to leave the house… or even wear pants. I put my laptop on the table at the top of the stairs and then proceed to walk UP and then DOWN the stairs for a whole episode of something I really want to watch. At the moment I can only manage a sit-com, roughly 22 mins ’cause there are no commercials but I am hoping to work up to a full episode of The West Wing.
I’m a big fan of using stairs as part of my fitness routine, but this goes WAY beyond anything I’ve done before. It’s ingenious on two levels; one, it makes use of a great piece of “equipment” that most people have in their homes, and two, you’re earning that TV time with every step.
Gravity is one of the cheapest, and most effective, resistance trainers out there. With each step you take up the staircase or up the hill, you’re lifting almost your entire body weight with each step. It’s a great example of making thousands of little actions add up over the course of time.
By my rough calculations, that’s well over a thousand steps – 500 up and 500 down – so you’re burning around 250 calories for that ONE episode of watching TV. Pretty decent tradeoff, I must say.
How do you keep fit inside, when the wintr’y winds blow?
Hey peeps! I’m back! Did you miss me? (On second thought, don’t answer that!)
Well, it doesn’t look like the NHL hockey season is going to start anytime soon — so in order to keep you entertained, I’m bringing you a brand-new season of Body Moment posts, guest articles, book reviews, and program evaluations! Yeah baby! I though you’d be excited about that!
First, a few housekeeping things that I just haven’t had time to take care of while I was on my summer break:
YAYOG Book Giveaway Winner!
The winner of the “[amazon_link id=”0345528581″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]You Are Your Own Gym[/amazon_link]” book giveaway was faithful reader Anita C.! The YAYOG book is now another great part of her personal inventory of health resources. Thanks Anita – and thanks to all who entered!
Restarting Old Habits
I’m also getting back into my regular exercise program, after leaving it on the back burner for the summer. Not that I was sedentary all summer – there was lots going on!
I mentioned to my wife that they should have a chopping machine at the gym — I recently felled three trees in the backyard and manually chopped the stumps out with my axe. That’s a hell of a arms and shoulders workout!
I admit that I find it really easy to slip back into my exercise habits, but I know that many others don’t. I’ll get a series of articles going on “getting back on the wagon” for all those who want to start their New Year’s Resolutions early!
More Digital Products
I’ve spent a good part of the summer break thinking about some really neat things that I can offer to the Body Moment Community; I have a few that are already in the works, including finishing off “The Wellness Rebel Manifesto”.
However, I’ll need your help and input — I’ll be looking for some volunteers to test-drive these products! Stay tuned!
An In-depth Look at Gyms
My amazing wife has just recently joined a gym, which has us talking a lot about the pros and cons of gym memberships, and going to the gym in general. I’ll be working on a few pieces that take a good hard look at gyms, their membership practices, and whether or not a gym is the right choice for you.
…And Much, Much More
Oh, peeps, I have so many ideas for this coming year that my notebook runneth over. I’m really excited about what the next year of Body Moment will bring! I note that I’ve TOTALLY missed the one-year anniversary of Body Moment, so maybe we’ll have a big 13-month anniversary party instead!
This is the third and final post of the “Myths of Motivation” series. In this article, we’re discussing the third pillar of motivation – relatedness.
I am a really independent type. I love to run by myself, I work out by myself, and I seldom get involved in team sports. That’s just the type of person that I am. But even though fly solo a lot, there’s a tremendous amount of personal connections that I’m passionate about:
I maintain an active Facebook presence where I discuss all things fitness with my friends;
I run this blog and solicit posts from the fitness community at large;
I act as a motivational coach for new runners;
I participate regularly in multiple online forums related to fitness and wellness; and
I even participate in the odd family and friends fitness challenge when it comes around.
There does not seem to be any obvious link between my performance on the fitness front and these social activities. But in fact, the link between motivation, performance, and social engagement is HUGE. This is what we know as relatedness – the need to feel connected and to belong to a community. Continue reading “Part Four: The Myth of Motivation – Relatedness”
In part three of this series on the Myths of Motivation, we’ll talk about the second pillar of self-motivation: Competence.
Think for a moment about something that you’re reasonably good at – something in which you’ve never had formal training. Maybe you have a knack with fixing car engines. Or you can crank out the reps on the machines at the gym like nobody’s business. Or perhaps you are one hell of a cook.
Self-mastery of any craft or art brings us a sense of deep satisfaction. But that’s a much different feeling than passing a test, or meeting your sales goals. In the case where the external motivators (the test, or the sales goals) are present, the feeling is more one of relief than of accomplishment, isn’t it? Continue reading “Part Three: The Myth of Motivation – Competence”
“I’m Fine, Thanks” is a new documentary being produced by Adam Baker from Man Vs. Debt. There’s a short trailer that’s already been produced, and there’s an exciting Kickstarter project on the go to fund the rest of the film.
Last week I talked a little bit about the myths surrounding motivation, and the way that this myth is kept alive by the idea that external factors are the biggest secret to success.
The best way to achieve success with ANY task is not by using external motivators, but rather to find things in your life that satisfy your basic needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. How do we do that?
What is Autonomy?
Think back to a time when you solved a problem in a rather clever way. Maybe you used duct tape to fix Great Aunt Edna’s dentures. Or perhaps you figured out a new shortcut to work that saves you ten minutes on your commute. Maybe you worked out a way to recycle that ugly table you inherited and turned it into a great shelf. In all of these cases, you had a certain freedom of choice to figure things out for yourself. You weren’t given a set of instructions to follow. You alone decided how you were going to solve the problem. You were completely free to choose what path to follow to accomplish your goal.
Think again to how you felt when you figured out a solution to the problem. You felt pretty good, didn’t you? Empowered, perhaps? That’s autonomy right there. You were given the freedom to define the problem, craft a solution, and decide what path to follow without consequence. No one was there to judge the value of your solution or methods – you approached the issue in your own way, using your own skills, and found a solution in line with your own values and morals.