This was originally published in my Winnipeg Free Press column HERE: https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/health/time-to-stop-making-excuses-515201411.html
There are a lot of guides on how to lose weight in 90 days, but here’s what makes this one different:
This one has nothing to do with what you should eat or how you should exercise. And despite that, I’m going to give you the blueprint to reach any weight loss goal in 90 days or less.
Don’t believe me? Let’s jump in and I’ll show you.
The problem with focusing on the diet or exercise plan first is it doesn’t address human nature.
The power is in the deadline. Without a deadline to act now and keep going, you will wait, hesitate and procrastinate or quit shortly after you start.
Think back to that college paper you had to write. You had weeks to prepare, but the real work began a few days away from the deadline, right?
I’ve heard from a lot of people who want to make changes with their health, but go about it the wrong way.
They may read some diet tips online, listen to Karen at the office, or even take the first small step and inquire about coaching, but then they go radio silent. They may as well say “my dog ate my application.”
Procrastination rears its head in the absence of desire and a deadline.
Listen, the reason most don’t follow through is the pain of staying the same doesn’t outweigh the pain of change just yet. Deep down, they’re comfortable with the way things are now.
But many confuse comfort with contentment. The comfort zone is a prison fuelled by indifference. That’s a bad place to be.
As you age, your indifference becomes habitual. You accept your circumstances and do nothing to change it.
You use age as an excuse to not start that business or get in the best shape of your life, rather than using age as a reason to act on those things now.
If your younger self had that same indifference, you’d never learn to walk, talk or grow.
For me, my default setting was to hesitate and procrastinate or quit when the going got tough. It took a lot of inner dialogue and mental gymnastics to take ownership of my life and become a solution seeker and action taker in every situation.
I still revert to my default wiring at times. I’m not saying it’s easy. But here’s the thing. Time will pass anyway. It’s never the right time to go for it.
When you are just out of school, it’s not the right time. When you are starting a family, it’s not the right time. When your kids are off to college, it’s not the right time. When there’s an elderly parent living and depending on you, it’s not the right time.
You can’t use that excuse your entire life.
You say you want to lose the weight you’ve carried around all of your adult life, but you aren’t doing enough to change it.
You say you want to get healthier and be a better role model for your kids, but you sit in front of the TV at night instead of going for a walk.
You say “if only I could afford to invest in a solution” like those celebrities and their trainers, but you’re spending $200 each month on takeout.
News flash: until you prioritize your health and match your words to your actions, nothing changes.
The problem is you’re dabbling in it. If you want to solve that problem for good, it takes commitment.
If you’re ready to make a change now, it’s time to set a big deadline.
So here’s what I need you to do if you want to reach a goal before the calendar turns to 2020 and another year is lost.
1) Set a hard 90-day deadline around your primary goal right now. If it’s weight loss, something like “lose 20 pounds in 90 days.”
2) Enlist some accountability to follow through (publicly share it with friends and family or join a program).
3) Set up a reward or consequence for yourself at the end or at specific intervals. If you want a behaviour change to stick (especially in the early “grind” months before it becomes habitual), there has to be something on the line.
Some people are motivated through pleasure, others through pain. This is known as “the carrot or the stick.” The carrot means you get a significant reward for accomplishing your goal, while the stick means you get a significant punishment.
Think about which one better motivates you and put a plan in place focused around your reward or consequence.
Of course, in the end, your body may not co-operate and you may fall short, but by pursuing your goal with urgency around a hard deadline, you’re more likely to succeed than if you just tried to “eat healthier and exercise” with no clear direction.
You’ll create more results in 90 days than you have in years if you tie your goal to a deadline. So, get serious. Set a tough deadline and go for it. If you need some accountability around your goal, reach out.