90% of success is showing up, as Ned Kelly said the day of his execution. When you're beginning a programme of physical training, the truth is that what you're doing is far less important than that you show up and do something. But this is the biggest problem for people. After all, they have more important things to deal, like their jobs and their children and staying out late eating KFC and drinking tequilas.
Remember the "I want sixpack abs by Christmas" guy? He's still coming... sometimes. He's gained three centimetres on his waist, and 2kg. "In January, I will..." No, you won't.
I just tell people to schedule it in their diary, like a business lunch or date. What do you do if you can't make a business lunch or date? "I can't come today, bye"? I hope not, you'll be jobless and single for life. If you can't make it, you don't just cancel, you make a new appointment.
I have to do it this way myself. It couldn't be any more convenient for me, nor could I have much more motivation. I can wear a t-shirt under my work shirt, and at the end of a shift walk 2-10 yards to the rack and do my thing. I can get another trainer, my colleagues will be happy to leave me lying in a puddle of my own sweat after half an hour. I have a toddler, when he's 12 and wants to kick a football around I'll be 52, if I'm like the typical Aussie bloke of 52, no chance. And I have back and knee issues which if I train regularly are no problem, if I miss a week there's pain.
But still sometimes I won't do it. So each week when I'm planning the next week with gym shifts and PT and my son and friends and the rest, I sit down with my diary and plan the times I'll work out. I'm realistic about it. If on Tuesday I have someone at 0600 and 0630, then next at 0730, well physically I have time to do something 0700-0730, but let's be honest, it's not happening. I'll spend an extra 5-10' with the 0630 person, then go get a coffee, and relax for ten minutes until the 0730 client. But if I have 90 minutes free, okay, that's doable. And obviously if I'm working 0600-1800 one day, a workout at 1800 is not likely.
Something about writing things down makes them more likely to happen. There was a study of some university students. "For extra credit, write an essay about what you did on Christmas Day, essay due January 7th." Half of them they sent off like that, the other half they added, "... but before you go, write down for us when you're going to write the essay, for example "in my bedroom at 6pm on Boxing Day."" Obviously the researchers had no way of knowing if the person actually did it at that time and place, they only knew if the essay was handed in or not.
The half they just asked to do it, 30% did it. The half who were asked to write down when and where they'd do it, 70% did it.
Now, the essay was written and done and that was that. If they'd had them writing an essay for an hour in the library three times a week, I'd expect the numbers for both groups to be considerably lower. This is one reason people hire PTs, to help them be consistent, and have a useful effort over time. Consistent effort over time is so rare that when people do it, the results they get are declared unbelievable, impossible, must be poor measurements or steroids or lies or something. In fact I would say that the use of steroids is more common than consitent effort over time.
Incidentally, do it now. If you're waiting till New Years', it's not going to happen. What we find is that the New Years' rush lasts from around January 15th till Valentine's Day. New Years' Eve people make their resolutions, for the first week they do nothing. In the second week they start looking for a gym, spend a couple of days shopping around and then sign up. They wait a few days or a week for their first appointment. This brings them to at least the end of January before they've even done one workout. They go in once or twice more and then are never seen again.
Why? Because if it can wait till the new year, you don't really want it. Let's imagine things which are important to you, and whether you'd wait for them. Imagine we're back in October.
Brad and Angelina just split. Their children are all returned to their orphanages. Ladies, Brad asks you out. Guys, Angelina asks you out. "Yeah, we'll got out in the new year."
On a whim you apply for a job you think you won't get. You get it! It's twice the pay and half the hours you're working now, and with a bunch of people you really like. "I'll start in the new year."
You buy a lottery ticket, and win $40 million. "I'll collect it in the new year."
No. If you really want something, you do it NOW. If you're only going to a gym, or hire a PT or whatever in the new year, then don't do it. If you're not going to make use of it, then you should not join a gym. If you are, then -
- Look at your schedule.
- Make a time.
- Show up.
Simple, not easy. I'm here to help you, not bullshit you.