Willpower– it’s the holy grail that all successfully healthy and fit people have found a way to tap into — right?
Motivation can’t even hold a candle to willpower, because motivation is fleeting. Willpower is like a muscle. You can train it to be rock-solid, right?
And if you do, then you’ll never let you miss a workout…
It’ll always inspire you to choose the “clean” option on the menu…
Willpower will make you a goal-achieving machine, right?
In theory, sure.
The problem is, life’s not a freaking factory!
Achieving and maintaining success isn’t about rigidly adhering to your well-oiled routine that’s proven to produce perfection, day-in and day-out.
Instead it’s about knowing your body, your goals and what works for you.
Having this level of knowledge and self-awareness allows us to be consistent, flexible and creative, so that we can get the results we want — regardless of our circumstances.
So yeah, willpower will help you maintain mental toughness and stay committed to a plan on days when your motivation wanes. But to be successfully fit, long-term, requires more brainpower than willpower.
Here’s a rundown of the key things that successfully fit people know. Plus, how that knowledge helps them to stay in shape, long-term:
They know their body.
In my opinion, committing to a workout or “diet plan” purely because you know someone who got great results with it (like your BFF or some celebrity who endorses it), is setting yourself up to fail. That is, if your intention is to get those same results.
Why? Because everyone’s body + life is different. So, the results you get will probably look a whole lot different than the results someone else got.
The truth is, if you want to achieve specific results with a particular “fit lifestyle solution”, (“fit life solution” is an all-encompassing term for any product/program/etc. you’d use to improve your fitness or general physical well-being — like a workout program, nutrition app, etc.), the first step is to understand your body.
Recently, I listened to a podcast episode on this topic. It affirmed what I’d come to intuitively understand (or assume) since starting my own health and fitness journey over a decade ago:
Certain workouts + nutrition plans are naturally going to produce better results for some body types more than others. In other words, fit life solutions are not “One Size Fits All”.
So, how do you know which fit life solutions are best for your body type?
And just like the experiments you did in 10th grade chemistry, it helps to start with a hypothesis
You can form your own hypothesis about the type of results you’ll get with a specific fit life solution by first, identifying your own body type.
The types listed above are the three somatotypes. These are general categorizations of bodily physiques. You can identify your 1-2 types by assessing the extent to which your body conforms to one category over another. By identifying the category or categories that most closely relate to your personal body type, you can begin to strategically choose the fit life solutions best-suited to produce results for your body type.
Not all successfully fit people have “identified” their body type, but the key here is that they have an intuitive understanding of how their body responds to certain fit life solutions.
This is important because it gives you permission to try different workouts, nutrition plans, etc. without feeling any pressure to make a specific one work for you. You can approach it with curiosity, and then see how your body responds to it.
Next, I’ll show you how to systematically find fit life solutions that work for you. And you’ll discover how to simplify your fit life for long-term results.
They know how to put things on “autopilot”.
Successfully fit people are busy. But honestly these days, who ISN’T?
That’s why fit people don’t leave things like their workout and nutrition up to chance. Typically, they’re planning that stuff in advance. Plus, they’ve got a few go-to fit life solutions they depend on whenever life gets nuts.
When our schedules are jam packed, any activities that require extra decision-making are the first to get tossed on the back burner — or tossed out altogether. We all know this. So, we’ve got set ourselves up for success by being able to put our fit life on autopilot from time to time.
And we do this by first, discovering our go-to fit life solutions — workouts, nutrition guidelines, etc. that we can default to whenever:
- We’re out of our normal routine or traveling
- We’re super focused on making progress in other areas of our lives (work, family, etc.)
- We’re in health and fitness “maintenance” mode
Basically, whenever you want to place significant limits on the time and headspace you devote to your physical health.
I’ll be honest, finding your own go-to fit life solutions will take a little time at first. But having them stored in your back pocket, is THE ticket to getting fit and staying that way — for good.
That said, it’s worth taking the time find at least one workout and one “lifestyle diet” (i.e. nutrition guidelines that are fairly sustainable long-term) that you can default to if/when you decide to put your fit life on autopilot.
Based on the information you learned about your body type and the best way for you to get results, list 3-5 different workouts and lifestyle diets that you think would help you get/maintain the health and fitness results you want.
- NTC App
- Tone It Up
Once you have your lists, experiment with a workout and/or nutrition plan for 21-30 days at a time. You can seriously treat it like a science experiment. And you can rally some friends who will test these things out with you.
As you experiment with each fit life solution, note the following:
- The physical results you experience (consider taking before/after photos or measurements)
- The mental/emotional results you experience (are you enjoying it? dread it after week one?)
- How simple/complicated it is to fit into your normal day-to-day
- How much effort/accountability it would require for you to stick with it beyond this experiment
After you’ve experimented with several workouts, pick one you think you could do pretty consistently. Do the same thing with a nutrition plan. Follow the combo you pick for a full 90 days. Aim to stick with is 80-90% of the time. For example, if you’re doing an at-home workout program that comes with a schedule indicating which workout to do each day, try to follow that schedule 80-90% of the time.
Yes, this will require some discipline. But during this time, you’ll gain a heightened awareness about what YOUR body and YOUR mind need. They’ll start to work with one another to set you up for success, and you’ll have a new sense of clarity and trust in yourself.
Knowing what you need to be your best, and learning to trust yourself will allow you to put your fit life on autopilot at any given time. You’ll be confident in your ability to improve and/or maintain your own health and fitness — without having to dedicate a whole lot of time or focus to that area of your life.
I’ve got my own set of Fit Life Essentials that I use whenever I need to put my own fit life on autopilot. My essentials include a few other resources beyond a workout and nutrition guidelines. Just simple stuff to keep me happy, healthy and motivated even when life is crazy.
If you want a full a rundown of my own Fit Life Essentials + a guide to establishing your own trusty toolkit of Fit Life Essentials, grab my Fit Life Essentials Guide by entering your info below.
They know their motivational style.
Motivation, by definition, moves us into action. It’s like inspiration, but with less momentum and more predictability.
Inspiration shows up on a whim — when you’re listening to unique song, cooking a family recipe, riding a rollercoaster — literally whenever.
Motivation, on the other hand, can be manufactured. We just need to know what type of motivation moves us to take specific actions.
In general, what motivates you (aka: your motivational style) can be defined using any combination of the following six different types of motivation:
- Incentive: acting to receive a reward (like increased income or a promotion)
- Fear: acting to avoid punishment or negative consequences
- Achievement: acting to improve skills and/or prove competency to others and/or to yourself (if you more likely to take a specific action to receive an award, recognition, and/or positive feedback, you’re probably motivated by achievement)
- Growth: acting to increase knowledge about yourself and/or the outside world. (If you get uncomfortable when things are the same for too long, or if you frequently seek to make changes or small improvements to yourself or the outside world, growth might be a strong motivational factor for you)
- Power: acting to increase autonomy, control or the ability to make choices that have the potential to impact how your life might unfold in the future
- Social: acting to relate to, belong to, be accepted by, or affiliated with a specific peer group or people. (You could be socially motivated by your personal sphere of interaction or by the world as a whole. Acting out of the genuine desire to make a contribution to the world around you is also generally a sign of social motivation)
Just like your body type, your motivational style can be (and probably is) a combination of a few of the types of motivation listed. In fact, our motivational style can vary depending on which types of actions or behaviors we’re trying to motivate.
To keep things simple, consider the motivational factors that are most likely to move you to work out, plan meals and take other actions that contribute to a fit lifestyle.
Knowing your own motivational style will make it easier to set yourself up for success on your fit life journey. If you’re socially motivated, join a studio or virtual fitness challenge with friends who can help you stick with your goals. If you’re motivated by incentives, set up a reward system for staying consistent with a workout, nutrition plan, etc.
They form fit life habits.
Eventually, it’s important to move past the point of relying solely on the stick-with-it cocktail of motivation + discipline + will-power.
Otherwise you’ll head down the following path:
Get motivated → Discover your fave fit life solutions → Get Disciplined → Establish your list of fit life essentials → Stick with it using Discipline + Will Power → Exhaust will-power → Burn out → Reverse results by throwing in towel or overdoing it
That’s what I did, multiple times over.
Until I learned that this fit life thing could actually be fun — and last forever. If I just made it easy on myself.
By enjoying it.
Because enjoying it is the key to forming fit life habits.
And there’s actually a step-by step process to LEARNING to enjoy aspects of your fit life. So those things become habit and your path will look more like:
Get motivated → Discover your fave fit life solutions → Get Disciplined → Establish your list of fit life essentials → Stick with it using Discipline + Positive Associations → Live the fit life for good with your new fit life habits!
Trust me, this second path is way more fun.
And you could use a little pep in your step along that path (or, you know, more real solutions to other real life problems) join me over on Facebook here. We’re building quite the community over there, and I’d love for you to be a part of it!
Btw, don’t forget to grab the free Fit Life Essentials Guide. Use it to get fit and healthy and STAY fit and healthy — for good. Enter your info below and I’ll send it straight to your inbox.