Ever hear of Newton’s Law of Inertia? You may not know the proper name for it, but you’ve definitely heard the phrase “an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion”, right? Well, Newton it seems wasn’t just a genius scientist, he was a genius coach, because this principle doesn’t just apply to physics, it applies to your mind and your body as well.
It’s like when you decide to wipe a spot on the table. It’s just a little spot. But then, once you clean that spot you notice another and another until you’ve not only cleaned the entire table, but your bookshelf too, because it’s right next to the table and you have a wet rag in your hand anyway, and if you sit down now you know it’s never going to get done later, so what the hell, you’ll clean the bookshelf too. Oh, and the mirror next to the bookshelf. And did you see that dust bunny roll behind the lamp? Once you start you can’t stop.
So many times when working with clients I’ve seen them quit at the last 3 reps. They say it’s because it’s “too hard”, “they’re muscles are on fire”, or they’re “out of breath”. As a trainer though you learn to spot the signs when someone is truly at their limit or if they’re just giving up because it’s difficult. It’s one thing if you’re at true failure (in fitness failure is a spectacular thing – think about that!), then I can understand not being able to lift any more, but if you’re giving out because it’s hard, I have news for you, it is always physically hard. If it isn’t then you’re not growing. That doesn’t mean you need to be in pain, but you need to challenge yourself. That never ever changes and never goes away. If you always stop at the last three then you’ll always stop at the last three, because you give yourself permission to do so. Without fail, every time I need to work out there is still this thought in the back of my mind, “really? Maybe I’ll just stay home. I’m really not in the mood.” And that’s after 10 years! The difference though, is that I go anyway, because put simply, that is what I do. I am an object in motion staying in motion.
Finding a healthy balance in your life (food, exercise, sleep, work, play, family, etc.) isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s something that takes careful honing and work. If you really want to change your habits, it is deliberate, and takes a shift in attitude. Over time though, it gets easier, not because there are no obstacles, but because it becomes second nature. Giving into your excuses and not challenging them only leads to you sitting on the couch watching yet another episode of How I Met Your Mother. You settling for a bit of immediate gratification keeps you from moving forward, and all that serves to do is keep you on that couch. You have to expect some discomfort and know that you can overcome it, because if you stay on that couch you’ll remain on that couch, but if you decide to just shut the excuses up and move you’ll be more likely to move the day after and the day after that – discomfort and all.