A little over thirty days ago I took on a challenge to demolish, irradicate, and DESTROY my love handles.
It wasn’t easy but the end result was a brand new bouncing baby habit.
Here’s what happened:
- I lost 18 pounds and my clothes fits much better now. Feels great!
- Love handles? Still there, but I trimmed my gut down by two inches. Woot!
- Eating junk food is pretty much a thing of the past. The other day I attended a fundraiser for my friends garden growing, kid saving, non-profit organization, and I’m happy to report that my mind gravitated towards the grapes, strawberries and carrots instead of the chocolate cake, apple pie and cookies.
Thirty days isn’t a terribly long time, but I’ll tell you what, the first two weeks felt like an eternity. You’re constantly at war with your bad habits that want to revert back to your old ways. It’s not easy, but not impossible, either.
So, here’s how you can do it, too, and in the end say to yourself, I did it!
- Set a specific, measurable, goal, i.e., get rid of your love handles or grow a perfect Chuck Norris mustache and beard.
- Give yourself an end date, like 30 days or a week. Don’t set it for too far out. It’s demotivating when your end date is infinity. Knowing you’re approaching the finish line fuels your drive and motivation.
- Eat only what you can kill, pluck from a tree, or pull from the ground. It’s called Paleo, learn about it and try it out.
- Exercise at least thrice a week. Don’t know what to do? That’s okay, just visit my favorite fitness nerd to get some ideas.
- Keep track of EVERYTHING, like your micro-managing boss does with your TPS reports. I tracked every food I put in my mouth and every weight I lifted. MyFitnessPal is THE go to app for tracking both.
- Count down the days left. If you have an Android phone, use an app called Countdown Widget. Set up a reminder on your home screen for the number of days you have left before reaching your goal. It breathes hope and inspiration into your soul every time you unlock your phone. It seems trivial but I’d probably say this was a KEY factor to my success. Most of this challenge is a mental game so do whatever you can to psych yourself up.
- Get rid of all junk food and eat the same thing everyday. I ate hard boiled eggs and fruit in the morning, a spinach turkey salad for lunch and tuna lettuce wraps in the evenings. Boring but highly effective.
- Eat a full meal before you go to any parties or grocery shopping. Never put yourself in a position to be tempted.
- Add a fruit or nut snack in the mid morning, mid afternoon and mid evening. You never want to be hungry.
- Stay well stocked with plenty of fruit. NEVER let more than a day go without having fruit in your house.
- When you get cravings, automatically jump for the nearest banana, apple… or coconut! Teach your mind that when it wants junk food, it will receive unjunk food.
- Cheat. Yes, I said cheat. But only do so after eating a full healthy meal and drinking a tall glass of water. If you still want to cheat after your meal, I guarantee it’ll be to a much lesser extent than you originally intended.
- Validate and acknowledge your cravings. Write them down on a list of things you’ll eat when it’s all over. By then end of the challenge that list won’t have much pull and your mind won’t feel any resistance from you when it wants something. It’s a neat little mind hack that really helped me get through some of the toughest cravings.
- Preserve your willpower. Studies have proven that willpower is like a muscle. Imagine trying to climb a flight of stairs shortly after doing 157 leg squats. Every time you attend a party, happy hour or eat out, you’re doing the willpower equivalent of leg squats. So keep your activity to a minimum. Remember, you’re only doing this for 30 days.
- Tell everyone what you’re doing. Especially your drinking buddies. You need all the external support you can get. And don’t forget to publicly celebrate your mini victories. If you lose a pound, tell everyone you know! You did it!
This challenge was definitely rewarding in more ways than one. Not only did I lose a few pounds, a couple of inches of belly fat and formed a healthy new habit, but I’ve also developed a passion for experimentation!
I want to try new things!
So, in the spirit of the 30 day challenge, I’d like to announce a new one.
How to never fail
Have you ever heard the question:
“What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”
If you haven’t, take a moment to answer this question, now.
Would you quit your job and travel the world? Would you teach guitar for a living? Would you dedicate your life to community service and volunteerism?
Maybe you’d spend more time with your kids and play a bigger role in their lives. How about those sky diving, bungee jumping and bear wrestling adventures you’ve always dreamed about? Would you become the author, singer, performer, dancer, artist or musician you’ve always wanted?
This question opens up a world without shoulds, rules or limitations.
It inspires you to do great things.
It reminds you of those dreams you once had, that you traded in for “safety and security.”
But let me ask you, what if you really lived as if you couldn’t fail?
What would change?
Would you take more risks and dare to be more adventurous? Would you posture up and walk around with confidence on your shoulders? Would your energy and presence alone demand more respect, validation and acknowledgement from everyone around you?
Maybe you’d be more upfront and honest in your relationships, without the need to walk on eggshells.
Would you stop worrying and start living? Without a care in the world about what others would think, would you simply do what you want? What makes you happy, gives you purpose and gives your life a sense of fulfillment?
My guess, and this is only a guess, is that YES, you would.
I have a strong belief that you’d kick ass for a living.
Well, today’s your lucky day. I’ve decided to be your guinea pig. You can choose to live vicariously through me for a moment.
I’ve decided to embark on a 30 day I can’t fail challenge. I will emulate the attitude of someone who fears not failure, and who acts more than he thinks. It won’t be easy, but I think I can do it.
The goal here isn’t to get any specific result like in my last challenge, but instead to document the results like a science experiment. The byproduct I’m hoping for is the creation of a thought habit, where the norm is to take action, instead of over analyzing every decision into oblivion.
Why is this important?
Because life can be wasted away in the hollows of your own mind while opportunities to BE pass you by with every breathe you take. Life is a contact sport, meant to be played, and not to be spent on the sidelines stuck in an observational role. The clock is always ticking and there’s never a perfect time to act – so act now before it’s too late.
Your “becoming” is passing you by unless you seize every moment you’re given, and that can’t be done with your mind alone.
So, here’s what I’ll do:
- Pay attention. This’ll probably be the hardest part as I’ll need to pay attention to my emotions, attitudes, and mindset at all times. The reason for this is because I’m looking for moments of self-doubt, hesitation and insecurity.
- Once I can identify those moments of self-doubt, hesitation and insecurity, I want to replace them with the affirmation, “I can’t fail.”
- Then I want to act accordingly and emulate the actions, decisions and verbiage of a person who’s incapable of failing. Roll playing is the name of the game here.
Tracking mental activity without a team of brainiac scientists and advanced space age machinery is much harder to do than tracking food intake and activity output, as in my last challenge. So I’ll have to use self awareness as my main tracking tool.
By the end of this challenge I’d ideally like to have fully adopted the following mentality.
“Failure is a myth, because as long as you can learn from it, you haven’t failed. The closest you can come to failing is to never try when you know you should have, and to give up when you know you shouldn’t have. So fear not taking action, because the notion of failure itself is the only thing that makes it true.”
If you have any suggestions you think may help me make the most of this challenge, then please, leave your comment below. It doesn’t matter how small you think it is, just give me an idea to work with. Remember…
YOU CAN’T FAIL.
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