Creating good habits is the longer, more difficult route to success. This is a dirty little secret that no one in the fitness space wants to talk about or hear right now. Everyone is too interested in cashing in on our need as humans for immediate gratification. This is where 10-day detox, 6-minute abs, and fitness challenges make their money.
I can speak from experience on the challenges because we’ve run 2 separate 6-week challenges at Fortitude and each time we made a couple of thousand dollars. Within 6 months though almost ALL of those people who signed up for those 6-week challenges had left the gym and I felt like shit about it. I felt like shit because we had, at least for the time being, lost the opportunity to help those people reclaim their health and fitness. The main problem behind the structure of any fitness challenge is that it establishes a finite end. In 28 days, 6 weeks, 3 months the challenge is over and thus so is your journey. So, if you can just really commit for the next X amount of days and go all in you can come out on the other side with some progress.
Now, the only reason I got involved with running any sort of challenge is that I believed it was what we needed to do as a business to get new members interested. If I could get them interested, then I could get them to join the class, and if they joined we would deliver some killer results and they would naturally want to stick around to continue the process. That is where I epically failed every single person that came through our doors during a challenge. I did not set the right expectation from the beginning. The expectation that I should have established is that in 6 weeks we won’t be able to accomplish a fraction of the work needed to begin changing your life. You might get some great results, but without the deep work, those results will not last.
Before you get too deep into this article we run nutrition challenges throughout the year and we might even run another fitness challenge at some point BUT with an entirely different focus. The Nutrition challenges and any future challenges that we run will be set up in a way that creates the understanding that this is only the beginning of a much longer process. If you’re just interested in winning a nutrition challenge, ours isn’t the one for you. If you’re interested in creating better habits and starting your journey towards a better lifestyle, THAT is what we’re here for.
Did you know that almost every single contestant on The Biggest Loser has regained all if not more weight than when they started? Why? During the season they had every possible advantage. The conditions were perfect and they got tremendous results, like hundreds of pounds lost. Shit, when I first started nutritional coaching I gave clients a perfect meal plan tailored to them, we checked in every week, made tweaks, adjustments, whatever was needed. The program had a 3-month commitment and we went all in. I helped them create perfect conditions for a finite period of time. Guess what happened? Great results. Then, many of them regained the weight they lost within a year or two. Again, why? 3 reasons.
Habits, Growth Mindset, and being Process Oriented.
Habits take a lllllllllooooooooooonnnnnnnnngggggggg time to build. You are the accumulation of however many years worth of habits that you’ve built up. To change that takes diligence and TIME. If you’ve been on this Earth for 50 years, you ain’t gonna override your shitty programming and habits around food in 3 months. Building good habits and reprogramming bad ones takes MASSIVE action and consistency. It’s f-ing hard. For example, currently, I have cultivated a bad habit of coming home and turning on the tv within the first 15 minutes of getting home. Then, I’ll watch it until bedtime. This is a REALLY shitty habit. So know what I did? Canceled all of our streaming services, moved the TV out of the bedroom, and spent $200 on books that will help me grow as a coach business owner and human being. That $200 is the accumulation of what I’ll save in the next 6 months by canceling those services, good trade in my book (pun intended). MASSIVE action toward building better habits.
Growth Mindset. This one is easy. If you don’t understand the ins and outs of Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets check out THIS podcast or THIS blog post. At the basic level, it’s understanding that I/we are never done. Things can always be different, our lives can always be better but we have to take control of the stories that we tell ourselves. Stories like, I am going to commit to my fitness for the next 6 weeks and then see what happens (fixed) vs I am going to spend the rest of my life valuing health and fitness using the next 6 weeks as my launching pad (growth).
The growth mindset leads nicely into being Process Oriented. There are 2 ways to look at your trips around the sun. Goal-Oriented behavior says, “If I achieve _________ then I will be happy.” It could be more money, losing 20 pounds, getting a 6 pack, completing a challenge, or playing in the NFL. Whatever the goal is, becomes the focus and its achievement associated with the desired feeling of adequacy. It’s also the easiest way to set yourself up for failure. Remember the Biggest Loser guys and gals? Hit the goal. Then what? How about the people who set those goals and fall just short. Ever heard someone say, “I lost 16 pounds, but my goal was 20.” WTF?!?!
Process Oriented behavior focuses on who you become in the PROCESS of achieving that thing. It’s the fact that you lost 16 pounds, not that you didn’t lose 20. It’s appreciating and using the new skills and recipes that you can take back to the kitchen. It’s writing a new story and focusing on your habits. It’s realizing that it’s never the destination that makes the person, it’s who we become along the way that matters most.
5 years ago I came up with the name Fortitude because when given the option, I want to be the kind of man that chooses the harder path. And I want to help others cultivate that in their own lives because I know that the best versions of ourselves are waiting on the other side of adversity. You know it if you’ve ever taken one of our classes. This sh*t is hard! It’s WAY easier to sit on the couch and pound potato chips… But that’s not who WE are.
If I could make the journey to your best self faster or easier and produce the same result I’d be a Bazillionaire but I can’t and the results wouldn’t last. Think back to your most memorable days in life, school, or at work… How were things going? Was it easy breezy or were you in the middle of a storm? I’d wager it seas were raging and things were hard as hell. Know why you remember those times? Because you made it through. Because you become a better version of yourself on the other side.
Your Fortitude allowed you to overcome those times. Your habits, mindset, and how you view the process will allow you to overcome the next ones. Not to mention, it’s how you will get results that last.