One of my favorite sayings when someone does something that is has, all of a sudden become old school, such as using a paper map or saying “all lower case” after spelling out their email address is “c’mon man, it’s not the year 2000 any more!”.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the year 2000 was regarded as the benchmark for “the future”. And even now it still strangely feels like a futuristic date.
But now that future has come and gone we are in an age where the average person:
- Knows that exercise is good for them – Heck, even the medical fraternity is happy to “prescribe” it and set aside their once widely held view that modern medicine alone could keep people happy and healthy.
- Knows how to exercise. The internet is awash with information and guru’s who can show us precisely what to do to achieve that bikini body or train for a marathon etc.
- Has easy and affordable access to a whole raft of nifty tools to help measure, monitor, analyse, track and compare all manner of interesting things about our bodies using the latest gizmos such as heart rate monitors that transmit data to our phones, apps that measure our sleep quality and even monitor our daily water intake.
So now that we know that we should be exercising and we know how to exercise the rest should be easy right?? Unfortunately it’s that old chestnut called “modern life” that can trip us up as we head out the door for a run and land us back in front of the TV or let a morning walk slip past us as we hurriedly try to wrangle the kids for school or, or, or…. It almost seems illogical that all of us would rank our health as being hugely important yet it often doesn’t get the priority it deserves in our day to day lives.
Why is that???
I think it primarily comes down to two things:
- Not being selfish enough
- A lack of goals
From an early age we are taught to put the needs of others ahead of our own – to not be selfish. This is all well and good when you’re 3 years old and arguing with your brother about whose turn it is on the trolley kart but, as we grow up and take on more and more roles we are often left with a severe lack of “me” time. Rather than prioritizing exercise as something we’ll do if we get a chance, we should be treating it as one of the highest priorities in our lives!
So it’s time to be a bit more selfish. Your family and your friends actually want and even need you to be happy and healthy more than they want/need you to be X, Y and Z to them. Take care of yourself first so that you can better take care of others.
Regular exercise requires discipline, and discipline requires focus and focus requires something to focus on. If you’ve got nothing to focus on then it becomes easy to get pulled in any direction Many people focus on internal goals such as losing weight or reaching a certain fitness level. These types of goals are fine but, the trouble with something like weight loss, especially for women, is that weight loss isn’t usually linear- it fluctuates up and down during its (hopefully downward) trend line, it can be very disheartening for people to work really hard and only see little patches of loss or small gains.
The BIG picture
Having a goal that is external to yourself can be really useful to focus on. That’s why I developed My Virtual Mission, so that people could get a visual representation of how far their regular exercise was taking them, so they could feel accomplishment on how far they’ve been and so they could be inspired to keep going to reach the end of their mission goal, regardless of what their internal metrics where reporting. So while the future we find ourselves in now, didn’t provide us with hovercraft skateboards as promised, it has given us a vast amount of knowledge about why we should be exercising and how we are best to do it. The only thing left to do now is, set an external goal and go out and do it!
Start your fitness mission with My Virtual Mission now.