Millions of people put the pro in procrastinating. They’re experts at telling themselves that they’ll take action ‘tomorrow’ or ‘one of these days’. Excuses are used to justify why they can never get started now. This scenario is prevalent when it comes to weight loss. People decide to start at the beginning of the month, or on a Monday, or they’re waiting for the summer solstice or some other day in the future, rather than starting immediately where they are and with what they have. So, why do they do that? After all, most people desire to be fit, healthy and look attractive. Why would they procrastinate?
Inertia is the number one reason we struggle to get started. We’ve vegetated for too long in our comfort zone and any extra effort that requires us to step out of this zone seems to be a laborious and monumental feat. If you’ve led a sedentary life for years, suddenly deciding to run 3 miles every day can scare you into the procrastination zone. You’ll fear the struggle and be desperate to avoid it.
The key to overcoming this inertia is to start with very small actions. Instead of running 3 miles, just go for a 10-minute walk today. The following day, try for 15
minutes and so on. It may not seem like much, but the little action you take will give you a sense of confidence and accomplishment. It’s easier to do and the next day, you’ll be much more likely to do it again. By making small improvements and pushing yourself a little every day, you’ll make tremendous progress over time. You’ll go from walking 10 minutes to walking for 45 minutes to running a mile, then two, then three and so on. Our natural tendency is to seek progress. Once you’ve gained momentum, you’ll naturally lean towards pushing yourself to improve every single day.
The 5 Second Rule
This is a concept that author, Mel Robbins, wrote about in her book, The 5 Second
Rule. It’s a very powerful technique for beating procrastination and getting work done.
Mel’s theory is that your brain is designed to protect you. Whenever it perceives a
task as causing you discomfort (such as cleaning up your diet or exercising), it
quickly tries to cook up plausible excuses to prevent you from going through with what you need to do. This is procrastination due to a convoluted sense of self-preservation. The secret to overcoming it is to start immediately with a countdown followed by physical action. ….. 5, 4, 3, 2… 1… and you’re off.
You have about 5 seconds before your mind starts discouraging you. That’s why it’s called the 5 Second Rule. For some people, it’s even faster. It could be for 3 seconds. There are so many ways to apply this principle. Need to go workout? Within 5 seconds, quickly get up, change into your workout attire and start running or heading to the gym. Do not think. Just get up and go.
The same applies to your diet. Contemplating eating the slice of cake in your fridge, but you know you shouldn’t. Immediately get up, grab the cake and toss it in the trash. Do NOT eat it! The 5 Second Rule should be applied in a way that benefits you and aligns with your goal. Quickly jumping into bed to sleep within 5 seconds of thinking you need to exercise is not the way to apply it.
The game’s not big enough unless it scares you a little. Wait a minute – you’ve been declared dead. You can’t give orders around here. I’ll alert the crew. What? We’re not at all alike! Flair is what marks the difference between artistry and mere competence.
Start before you’re ready. Don’t prepare, begin.mel robbins
The hard truth is that most of what you need to do will not be fun. This is especially true in the beginning when you’re stepping out of your comfort zone.
You may not like giving up your carbs or eating smaller portions. Cardio may make you feel exhausted and sweaty. Weight training will cause your muscles to ache. Self-help gurus will often tell you to do what you love, but in reality, you may dislike a lot of what you need to do. The truth of the matter is that you do not need to like the process. You just need to go through with it until you achieve your goal. Once you realize that the weight loss journey is not a cakewalk, you can grit your teeth, bite the bullet and get the job done without expecting to have a boatload of fun.
The fun only comes once you’ve achieved the body you desire and when you look at yourself in the mirror and feel a sense of achievement at how far you’ve come. This feeling is priceless, and no food will taste as good as how you feel when you’ve attained your dream body.
Start on your goal today. Overcome inertia, take action quickly and suffer the pain of discipline so that you can savor the fruits of achievement later. You can do it.