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Let’s face it:
The fitness game is difficult.
Sometimes we can’t resist the allure of the snooze button. Sometimes we procrastinate in the parking lot, waiting for our preworkout to give us the will to get started. Sometimes we have to fight tooth and claw just to get through workouts.
Some of that may never change, but the right mindset can make all the difference.
If you can just stay focused and motivated to succeed in the face of adversity and setbacks, then you’re already halfway home.
And that’s what this article is all about.
In it, I’m going to share six lessons I’ve learned over the years that have always helped me keep the flywheel turning, both in the gym and life in general.
These lessons are going to feature a lot of unladylike language, inappropriate metaphors, and crass vulgarity, too.
Inevitably, at least a few someones are going to say, “You didn’t have to use so many VIOLENTLY OFFENSIVE AND PSYCHE-RENDING words, you know.”
I do know.
But that leads me to the first item on the list…
1. Say It With Me: “Fuck It, I’m Doing It Anyway”
Throughout this POWERFUL AND TRANSFORMATIVE AND OCCASIONAL MISERABLE FITNESS JOURNEY, you’re going to meet a lot of people that are going to tell you a lot of things.
Many of these fleshy automatons will have so much advice that if you scribbled it all down on pieces of paper, you’d singlehandedly decimate entire swathes of the world’s forests.
Keep your eyes and ears open, but don’t let their moonshine move you off target.
“You shouldn’t do that,” they’ll say, wheeling out a litany of reasons why it’s not going to work out, why you should put time and effort elsewhere, and why you’ll regret it if you keep going.
And then you’ll say, “Fuck it, I’m doing it anyway.”
“Fuck it, I’m going to count my calories and lose those 20 pounds.”
“Fuck it, I’m going to follow that workout program for a couple months.”
“Fuck it, I’m going to clean up my diet.”
You’ll probably be afraid, too. Anxious. Uncertain.
All that is normal. Remember the first time you rode a bike? This is no different.
You move past all the head trash by getting to work. You put in work, and you get better. You get better, and you build confidence. You build confidence, and you want to do more. It’s a virtuous cycle.
The hobgoblins of fear and doubt will always hop around in your mind, sometimes more noisily than others, and that’s okay.
Some of it is even good; it keeps you moving, doing, working. It reminds you that the way out is always the way through.
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2. Stop Giving So Many Fucks
Life doles out enough pressure and stress, so why should we allow fuckfaces to carve out pounds of mental flesh, too?
That’s right, we shouldn’t, and that’s why we need to learn how to not give a fuck.
You only have so many fucks you can give at any given point in your life, and if you give them too freely, you’re going to make everything harder than it has to be.
You’re going to constantly feel victimized by everyone and everything, including trivial pissers like the snipe that bitch made about how your dress fits, the smelly asshole in the gym sweating on everything, and the shitbird curling in the squat rack.
If you learn to reserve your fucks for things that are actually fuckworthy, though, you gain a tremendous freedom. A superpower, even.
You become one of those singular, superb individuals that simply doesn’t give a fuck.
I’m not talking about apathetic indifference. It’s not “who gives a fuck?” but “who gives a fuck about that?”
I’m talking about caring about the things that are worth caring about–the big, important things like your health, fitness, family, and future–and otherwise, not having two ratfucks to rub together.
Being liked, being accepted, being admired, being comfortable and comforted, these things really don’t mean shit if your goal is live a happy, healthy life.
Strength of character and integrity; personal, emotional, and spiritual growth; exemplifying your values through your behaviors; building meaningful relationships; helping others–those are the things that really matter. Those are the things that deserve your fucks.
Who gives a fuck. Fuck that fucking fuck.
Your fatass coworkers say that you should stop body shaming yourself and just be fat as fuck, too?
Zero fucks given. They fucking suck and want you to suck, too.
You have to wake up at the crack of dawn and snort a pile of caffeine so you can drag your ass into the gym?
Who. Gives. A. Fucking. Fuck.
The ants wake up every day and go to work until they die, too, and I don’t hear them complaining.
3. Stop Fetishizing Future You
One day, we say, we’re going to live a beautiful life. The best life.
We’re going to wake up at the best time every morning, do the best workouts, eat the best foods, and do the best things with the best people.
One day, we say, we’re going to lose that belly fat, learn that instrument, get that corner office, write that poem about the goat that fucked the pumpkin.
The kicker, though, is that day will never come because it’s always tomorrow, next week, next year, next lifetime.
So fuck “one day.” You have today. Now. Don’t let it go to waste.
4. Make Time, Not Excuses
Whenever someone says, “I would do X, but I can’t because Y,” it’s almost always bullshit unless Y is “I don’t really want to.”
That’s what most everything in life really comes down to: necessity, the mother of all invention. There’s very little we’re actually incapable of, there’s only our sense of urgency.
When you lie to yourself and say otherwise, what you’re really saying is that you find alibis more attractive than achievements, excuses more seductive than excellence, and comfort more desirable than challenge.
When you refuse to believe that it’s okay to give up, though, to take the easy road out, to look for reasons to be weak, to blame anyone or anything else for your circumstances, you tap into something primal and powerful that sets extraordinary people apart from everyone else.
That’s the big secret.
So think twice before you say “I can’t.”
I can’t get into the gym a few days per week, or I don’t really want to?
I can’t make a meal plan work, or I don’t really want to?
I can’t stop eating sugar and junk food, or I don’t really want to?
5. Ships Suck. Burn Them.
Want to know ONE WEIRD TRICK for being more of a badass?
Stop dreaming up exit strategies.
No second guesses, maybes, or loopholes. No “if’s,” “or’s,” or “but’s.”
In your mind, you should see it–no, feel it–as already done, and all that remains is simply going through the motions of manifesting it physically.
When you can do that, you can do anything.
6. Laugh When You Fuck It Up
You’re going to fuck shit up.
Yes, you. And me. And everyone we know and love. We’re all going to be this guy from time to time:
Fortune’s wheel is always spinning, and she brings ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and valleys. Such is life. How you respond to the wonderful mess is up to you.
For my part, I choose to laugh and learn.
Sometimes a fuck-up confirms suspicions and helps you realize that your instincts are sharper than you thought. Sometimes you gain a new perspective, broadening your horizons. And sometimes you just get a chance to chuckle at the absurdity.
A great life isn’t always pleasant. Sometimes you get kicked in the crotch and you just have to ask, “What Would James Bond Do?”
AND ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE:
See how that works?