By: Ben S. Fogel
Are You Bored From Success?
Being in the fitness industry now for 15 years and seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of fitness “trends” and health “hacks” come and go, I am going to make a bold statement and say the greatest threat to your success in health and wellness is not failure, but boredom.
Boredom from Success
Boredom from those workouts your coaches keep putting you through – push, pull, hinge, squat, carry and all of the things we know work. You keep asking “Isn’t there something more sexy than this?”
Boredom from that nutritional plan that actually WORKED. Eating protein, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, healthy sources of fats. You aren’t sure if it will work long term, so you want to try something else.
Here is my theory – We get bored from these habits because they literally stop delighting us. The outcome becomes more expected while our habits become ordinary and mundane. We lose the weight, we get our jeans to fit, and we reach our goals but then we start derailing our progress by seeking novelty.
Novelty may be the biggest hinderance to achieving long-term, sustainable results. It is also known as “shiny new object” syndrome, and it is literally killing our progress. Perhaps this is why we get caught up in a never-ending cycle, jumping from one workout to the next, or one diet to the next.
As soon as we experience the slightest dip in motivation, we begin seeking a new strategy, even if the old one was working! As the old Italian Philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli noted:
“Men desire novelty to such an extent that those who are doing well wish for a change as much as those who are doing badly.”
Companies are turning these “novel” ideas into multimillion-dollar ideas. I never knew that our muscles needed to be “confused” until Beach Body came out with P-90X! Who would have known that the Paleo diet was going to be all the craze in the 21st century – like eating animal protein, fat and vegetables was some new nutritional strategy – when it was really popularized with our ancestors thousands of years ago!
What is the best solution to the problem we find ourselves facing then? How do we get rid of all the clutter around us, all of these new “novel” ideas that are being thrown down our throats by the marketing machines of the 21st century? Honestly, I don’t think I have a solution to this. We are going to be constantly bombarded by crazy ideas that so-called “professionals” throw out there every day, just to try and make a buck.
The best advice I can give you is to form your own wellness principles based on ordinary habits that you can actually do 80-90% of the time. These principles will act more like your “north star” directing you towards long term, sustainable health and wellness practices – and when practiced daily can lead to some pretty dramatic results over the long term!
To come up with these principles, I would suggest asking yourself the following question as you come up with your own unique principles:
Will I be able to replicate this principle daily in my life and make it a sustainable habit over the long term?
If the answer to this question is “Yes”, then you are well on your way to building some pretty amazing principles to guide your daily habits. Strength Coach Dan John likes to call these principles “Pirate Maps.” A pirate map would look like this:
“Fly to St. Johns Island. Drive 2.5 miles south until you see a large coconut tree. Walk 7 paces east of the tree and start digging.”
Think of a pirate map as all of the daily repeatable habits that you can do to get you closer and closer to your own defined goal or finding your “buried treasure.” Some ideas of principles that you can add to your own “pirate map” may include:
- A sleep hygiene strategy – something you can repeat each night to get yourself ready for the next day (like having a “to-do” list!)
- Carving out time in your day for taking care of your own health and fitness
- Committing to eating certain food groups (like more vegetables)
- Having time built into your day for mindfulness
It really depends on where you are at in your journey, but what we suggest are habits that you can also “stack” onto other things you are already doing. For example, since you are already brushing your teeth at night, why not place your time of being mindful (meditation, writing your gratitude for the day in a journal, etc.) and stack it with that habit that you are already performing. This will help the new habit “stick” and become a daily part of your routine.
Remember, the hardest thing that will happen once you start to apply many of these new habits is you will get bored. You will want to try something “new and shiny.” DON’T DO IT! Stick with your plan, stick with the pirate map that you have created, and before you know it you will be achieving things in your life that you once never thought possible!
**PRO TIP** Here is a little secret about habits sticking. They will ONLY stick if they become repetitive, have a stable context, and elicit positive emotions. As James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits” has said the 3 things that help habits stick are:
1) Repetition. Habits form based on frequency, not time.
2) Stable context. If the context is always changing, so is the behavior. You need a reliable environment.
3) Positive emotions. If it feels good, you’ll want to repeat it.
Looking for some expert help on how to make each of these things a true, sustainable habit? We are here to help! Check out our 21 Day Epic Challenge below to get started to take control of your body and mind.