Mistake Proofing Your Life

You're anxious.

How do you cut down a huge tree? One chop at a time. Just get started.

You want changes and you want them like yesterday. Some stuff is not going well in your life and your waistline shows the damage.

You wear a lot of hats, have a lot of things to get together:

  • Your work life
  • Your home life
  • You're a father
  • and a husband
  • You've got a social life (well sort of)
  • There's your spiritual self
  • There's your fun self, hobbies and other things you'd like to be getting to
  • You have a lot of roles to play

And some are going well while others aren't.

Actually some are downright crappy. And these can really drag you down both physically and emotionally. This is where the tension comes from. These are the stressors in your life.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The good news is that you don't have to be scoring A's in all categories to have a happy and fulfilling life.

It's true that you need more good going on than bad to keep the angst down.

The bad news is that a few of the categories really carry a lot of weight and can do damage:

  • Financial stress in the home is a killer
  • Not seeing eye to eye with your spouse can create overbearing tension
  • Some family issues can be tough: maybe a teen is drinking and wrecking the car; taking care of your aging parents (or hers); a special needs child may bring unique burdens that spill over into the family.
  • Work stress; there may be nothing worse than working in a dead-end job you hate, feeling trapped that it's too late to do anything about it.

The ugly is the real physical manifestation of these hardships on your body. It takes a toll.

  • Your sleep suffers which magnifies the stress.
  • Binge eating crappy food becomes commonplace.
  • Your workouts never get a priority and eventually stop.
  • Muscle mass is disappearing; your waistline is expanding; you're looking flabby and weak. And this just kills your psyche when you look in the mirror.
  • You're circling the drain and feel overwhelmed. What do you do? It's hard to know for sure.

You Take Action

You can't take anymore of this crap and finally spring into action. You're going to take matters into your own hands.

Using your limited supply of willpower, you swear that extra 60 pounds of fat is going bye-bye. You start your training.

You get a few days in and maybe lose a few pounds. But that goal line of losing 60 lbs is still a long way off. It seems insurmountable.

One of those stressors raises it's ugly head, maybe a shitty day at work or lost sleep thinking about needing new tires on your daughter's car.

You miss your workout. It's falling apart again.

And then miss another one. Back slipping again.

You crash and burn. You're back to square one.

And you're still 60 pounds overweight. Fuck.

The only light in this long, dark tunnel is that you're not alone. This occurs daily with lots of guys. It's real life.

Habits over Goals

Focusing on the end goal, the 60 lbs of fat loss, is too big, too far away to be useful. It's actually counterproductive and depressing. You feel like you'll never achieve it.

Instead, focus on the habits needed to achieve your big hairy goal.

What will it take to drop 60 pounds in 6 months? You have to answer this question with actionable answers.

Things like:

  • Starting every meal with some protein - protein increases satiety and fuels muscle building
  • Working out 3 days a week - your body craves it and it calms your mind
  • Walking another 3 days a week - move more, sit less.
  • Sleeping 8 hours a night - go to bed earlier, it's a no-brainer
  • Reduce consumption of highly processed food - you know what shit is bad for you, stop fucking eating it.

Now these things are highly actionable and trackable. Get a journal and track them.

Protein at every meal means having eggs, chicken, lunch meat, jerky or something always available as a go-to protein source. Preparation is the key to success for good nutrition.

Training 3 days a week means setting aside a certain time and then going. Make it easy at first. Just 15 minutes is fine.

The key is picking 3 days and times that work and scheduling it. Don't try to fit it in after the fact. Make it a priority.

Pro Tip: Make it the same time every day. It's way easier to form the habit if it happens at the same time consistently.

The Secret

Again, measure the habit, not the goal.

Good habits done consistently makes goals happen.

Weighing yourself everyday doesn't do a fucking thing. Making sure you eat the right stuff and hitting the gym when you're supposed are habits that make things happen.

Here is a great article on this very topic.

Here are some great quotes from this article:

Magic bullet hunting is masturbatory self-improvement. All the pleasure, without the production of metaphorical progeny.

​Good stuff. Translation: There is no hack that will magically get you there. Small steps, done consistently gets results. Do the work.

Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you’re trying to improve. That’s it. Just 1%.

​This is about breaking down that big, audacious goal of losing 70 lbs into manageable daily actions. Move a little more; lift a little more; sleep a little longer and eat a little cleaner. Just a little every day will do it.

Change comes through small, continuous improvement. Instead of wasting your time searching for the “one thing” that will change everything, Kaizen calmly directs your attention to the task at hand and offers this needed reminder: “You already know what you need to do. Get to work and find small ways to improve along the way.”

This is totally true. You really do know what to do. You just can't seem to get yourself to do it. Get out of your own way​ and just start doing.

Do the work.

A great quote from the king of coaching and building men.

When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts. —John Wooden

Read the article. There's some good stuff in there.

Need some help figuring out what to do first?

Get your free 15 minute Fat Loss Breakthrough Session. It's really free.


photo credit: ArtofManliness.com

About the Author Mark Fickler

Mark aka The Old Spartan and Over-50 Fitness Savior is a 61 year old coffee guzzling father of five wandering the outdoors around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mark helps Men Over 50 get lean, healthy and strong so they can be cool dads and grand dads using his signature Spartan Method system.

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