Turn the sound down for this one…
The video above was shot by Russ Anderson of Uber-Strongman status. (YouTube: Russ Anderson Pulling a Fire Truck)
Since this is quite possibly the first time I have ever gone for a Max Deadlift, I’d like to share some of the tips that were passed down to me.
Normally I’ll be in the gym doing 5 sets of 5 reps @375 lbs of the ole’ deadlift. Set 4 or 5 usually goes to failure, so I’m not just lowering the weight to show off a jump in my max. On this day, I went to 455 lbs and it was a breeze.
In fact, a good friend Ryan Collins went from 340 lbs to lifting 507.5 lbs to his knees!
So if you’re serious about not being a skinny gym rat asking people about their bench press max, listen up. We’ll make a man out of you yet!
Here are the tips that helped me Deadlift 50 lbs over my goal weight:
- Get the Biggest Guy in the Gym to take a video of the Lift – The “Showoff Effect” can help you lift ridiculous amounts of weight. Imagine standing in an auditorium full of people. I bet you could lift a car no problem. Just out of pure adrenaline and fear of failure, you would find a way to pick it up! To reproduce this effect, you need to get the largest man you can find and have him take a video of the event. Build it up like you’re going on stage in front of the whole United States. Fact is, we’ll be posting your video on YouTube, whether you fail or succeed. So make it good!
- Eat Well all Day – Start with a hearty breakfast with mainly protein and healthy fats. Skip the orange juice (can you spell insulin crash) and reach for some 1% milk. Be sure whatever carbs you eat before this lift are low glycemic (whole fruits, vegetables, etc.). Save the sugary processed junk for after you earn it. After breakfast, keep eating all day. You want to be filled up, but not stuffed. And this means several small meals throughout the day. Finish this off by eating a final meal two hours before the lift. You can have 1% or skim milk up to 1 hour before the lift. For the last hour, it’s water, a pre-workout supplement (I used NO Bloxx Caffeinated Chews), or nothing.
- Get Psyched Up with Music – I’m a pop princess when it comes to riding around in the car with the windows down. But when it’s time to lift, Lady Gaga can F Off. It’s Disturbed, Korn, and Heavy Metal only. Get Heavy, Get Angry, and Lift Heavy. Now, there is a secret to this. Chill out with Metallica or Acoustic Godsmack in between sets. Then when it comes time to lift, crank it up and GO! Honestly, Disturbed’s Indestructible lifted half the weight that day…
- Put on Straps – I’m all about natural lifts and avoiding unnecessary equipment, but you will need wrist straps for this adventure. The #1 weak link for most lifters is grip strength. Straps will focus your body on lifting the weight and not just dropping it constantly. Here’s the Technique: Wrap both hands over the bar (palms facing your legs), and wrap the straps from back and under to front and over the top. The straps should be like an extra set of fingers on the opposite side of the bar. One key here is to avoid mixed grip when going for super-heavy lifts. Russ Anderson ripped a bicep off the bone catching a tractor tire with his arm in a bicep curling position! Keeping your arms overhand will fix this problem, and save you the annoyance of having to unroll your bicep in front of your buddies.
- Stop This “Sumo Deadlift” Crap – Putting your legs 5 feet out to each side is a ridiculous excuse for not being able to lift a certain level of weight. Unless you are training for a very specific max-weight powerlifting competition that allows this type of lifting, don’t do it. You may get the weight up this way, but the pull will be so much shorter you aren’t proving anything to anyone, including yourself. Save this type of deadlift for the professional lifters who need to pull 700 pounds just to qualify. For the rest of us, stick to real deadlifts.
- Foot Position is Important – For this lift, you want you feet equal to or just wider than shoulder width. Keep both toes pointed straight forward, and keep your knees above your second toe (just outside your big toe) at all times. This will align your knees and keep you from getting seriously injured. Surprisingly enough, I train in Chinese Martial Arts (Under Sifu John Allen of Green Dragon Kung Fu, descendent of Master Feeman Ong) and the Chinese have been practicing stances with this correct leg positioning for thousands of years. One very important element is to keep most of your weight on your heels throughout the entire lift. As you lift, the bar should slide straight up your shins and over your knees. If you get bloody shins, good. You are doing it right.
- Take off Your Shoes – That “Arch Support” garbage your wearing is doing enough damage with every step you take. The last thing you need to do is add 400+ pounds to your body with these crazy aparatus’ on your feet. Take your shoes off for a day, and I guarantee you won’t ever put them back on for squats or deadlifts. Personally, I wear Vibram Five Finger shoes for every workout. They simulate being completely barefoot while giving me floor traction and keeping me from getting yelled at for not having shoes by the fat guy at the front desk.
- Keep Your Back Straight – This is the most important thing you can ever do in a deadlift! Your lower back must remain straight the entire time! I cannot emphasize this enough. You should have a perfect deadlift form at much lower weights before ever attempting to a max lift like this one. Even Max lifting, your back should be perfectly straight at all times. Oh, yea, did I mention to keep your back straight.
- Use Bumper Plates – Once that weight gets up to full lockout (and you’ve held it there for several seconds to prove it), you have two options; drop the bar immediately or hold it there until you drop it. Either way, the bar and weights are coming down quick. Now you can try setting the weight down slowly like a princess, but it’s not going to happen! That bar is coming down, and you’d better have bumper weights on it or workout in a gym with some seriously strong floors. To avoid paying for new floors, I’d stick with the bumper weights.
- Warm Up Properly – Despite popular belief, warming up does not involve sweating it out on a treadmill. This will just burn up the precious glucose stores in your muscles and kill your max lift. Do not stretch either. Save this for after the workout. Instead, you are allowed to go in the sauna for 2 minutes and do “sport specific” warmup exercises only. What I will do is start with the bar and lift it 3 times. Then throw 45 lbs on each side and lift it 3 times. Throw another set of 45′s on and lift 3 more times. Continue this until you are close to your max. When you get closer to your max, drop these warmups down to 1 rep and focus on intensity. You’ll need all the intensity and successful lifts you can muster up to get to a PR weight.
- Breathe – You will want as much oxygen as possible for this all-too-fun experience. And since breathing during the lift is pretty much out of the question, you will need to get plenty of oxygen beforehand. When you’re wrapping your straps around the bar, get down on both knees and keep your chest up. This opens your rib cage and allows you to get as much O2 as possible. Doing this one step will have a surprising effect on your max lifting capability.
When it comes time to lift, get serious!
Crank the music to full volume, bang the weight around, and bob up and down like a crazy monkey trying to pull a tree out of the ground.
And once that weight starts moving, leg press the earth away from you with enough force to crush cities. You should be screaming at the top of your lungs! Your head should pop off your shoulders and go flying across the room!
Now Stop Reading. DO IT!
“UUUUAAAAAUUUUUGGGGHHHHH” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Soundboard to Get You Pumped Up (Courtesy of: Soundboard Archive – Prank Call Soundboards)
Your Body Wants You to be Fat
Our bodies often have very different goals than we do. Take stored body fat for example. You want to look lean, cut, and beach ready. Your body wants to hold 30 more pounds to survive through the winter.
Unfortunately, our bodies evolved to outrun wildabeasts and fight off warring tribes. 1200 calorie McHeart-Attack burgers are fairly new in the scheme of things. What I’m about to give you is a simple workout that will literally force your body into burning stored fat. If you follow this workout, you will burn stored body fat.
“You Can’t out Exercise a Bad Diet”
That said, after this workout your body will be screaming for food. And since hunger is one of the most powerful emotions, you will most likely oblige. This is to be expected. However, what I want you to do is replace the bad food you’ve been eating with something a bit healthier. Have your meal planned out in advance, or you will eat whatever comes near your mouth. Trust me, you want to be ready with a pre-packaged (healthy) meal. Every morning I fill a cooler with good food from my fridge and stick it in the back seat of my car. This works wonders.
But without getting into specifics, you want a high protein, portion controlled meal waiting for you when you’re done with this workout. Try to limit the carbohydrates, especially the high-glycemic carbs (white bread, starches, bagels, processed junk, etc.) and fill up on plenty of protein and unsaturated fats.
Muscle Catabolism Myths
And don’t worry about your body catabolizing (breaking down) muscle if you don’t eat directly after your workout. The fitness industry has this myth that if you don’t have a protein shake every 12 minutes, your body will break down its own muscle. This is simply not true, as shown by a great many bodybuilders on the “Warrior Diet”. This diet has a 4-6 hour eating window every evening, with 16+ hour “fasts” (if you even want to call them that) in between. Men have achieved incredible results without losing an ounce of muscle on this diet. Remember, in the hunter-gatherer days, men would routinely go 1-4 days without food, and still have plenty of muscle to hunt wild game.
Without further adieu, “The Ultimate Fat Burning Workout”:
Stage 1: 3 Hour Fast
Stage 2: Heavy Weight Training
(1 min rest between sets)
- Leg Press – 2 Sets of 10 Reps
- Leg Curl – 2 Sets of 10 Reps
- Bench Press – 2 Sets of 10 Reps
- Elbow-Out Dumbell Row – 2 Sets of 10 Reps
(3 min rest after this heavy weight portion of the workout)
Phase 3: High-Intensity Interval Training
Setup: Throw a 10 pound weight on each side of a barbell
- 3 Sets of Circuit (no rest between each exercise, 2 min rest between each circuit):
25 Barbell Squats
15 Barbell Shoulder Presses
10 Barbell Lunges per side
15 Barbell Bent-Over Rows
25 Barbell Squats
25 Scissor Kicks
(5 mins rest before moving on to the cardio)
Phase 4: 30 Minutes Slow Cardio
- Hop on an exercise bike and go for 30 minutes. Your breathing should be above normal, but the pace should be significantly easier than the High-Intensity work you just experienced.
Phase 5: 3 Hour Fast
Phase 6: 600-800 Calorie High-Protein Meal
How this Workout Torches Body Fat
Our goal for this workout is to expend the glucose stores in your muscles, forcing your body to use fat in your bloodstream. Just after High-Intensity Interval Training, when we’ve switched to this fat burning mode, it’s simply a matter of burning off any excess fat with some easy cardio.
Once your body uses up all available fat in the bloodstream, its forced to pull body fat from the adipose cells throughout your body.
One caveat; your body will try and gain back these lost calories later by eating significantly more.
Remember the Warrior Diet? People have actually gained weight on this diet, because they eat more calories in those 4 hours than they need for the entire day!
Because your body will try to compensate with increased caloric intake, you must stick to foods that: are high in protein, are moderate in good fats, contain low-glycemic carbohydrates, and fill you up well. Fruits and vegetables are allowed in virtually whatever quantities you can handle.
Stay away from all forms of liquid calories, including milk and fruit juices. Milk has a terrific nutrient profile, but allows you to take in far too many calories for weight loss. You need some “chewing resistance” in your food.
You probably won’t be able to undertake this workout every time you go to the gym, but it’s the perfect tool for blasting away that stubborn pound of fat every now and again.
Got any great fat burning workouts to share? Let me know in the comments…
Gym Lore would have us believe that doing just about any “real” exercise requires the use of a weight belt.
Deadlifts? Try this big leather belt on for size!
Clean and Jerk’s Today? Now you really have to use the belt.
Or do you?
After doing a bit more research than your average mook, I’ve determined to never to use a weight belt.
For any heavy lift.
While this might seem like Sacrilege to the lifting deities, when you look at the science behind the belt, not wearing one is the only way to work out.
Every time you bend over, be it picking up a pencil or deadlifting 400 pounds, the pressure in your spinal disks increases.
Under normal circumstances, your body can handle this increased pressure. However, this pressure can increase as much as 300%. If your body did nothing to protect against this increased pressure, you would easily herniate a disk. And that just ruins your day.
So, to relieve some of this pressure, your Abdominals naturally tighten. This creates “Intra-Abdominal Pressure”, forcing your internal organs upward and downward within your torso. The equal and opposite pressure exerted by your innards actually relieves compression on your lumbar disks. Under normal conditions (no weight belt) this abdominal pressure occurs naturally when you lift.
There is an upper limit to this intra-abdominal pressure though. Too much pressure and your blood pressure levels increase. Then, you can no longer breathe downward through your abdomen (ideal) and you are forced to breathe through your chest (bad). Extreme levels of pressure and your heart can no longer pump blood at all.
As with all natural processes, your body naturally seeks equilibrium and finds an ideal level of intra-abdominal pressure.
What is the Purpose of a Weight Lifting Belt
When looking around on forums, the responses people had to weight belt questions were incredible. Most lifters touted the idea of wearing a weight belt even though they could not pinpoint exactly why the device helped them. Here’s my favorite quote yet, from a forum post:
“The ACE study says belts are not recommended anymore but I’ve always heard from my friend at the local gym that the belt is more for long term health. The guy seems to know his stuff as he is really ripped…”
–Marks1 at DiscussBodybuilding.com
That about sums up the weight lifting world. People listen to whoever has the most ripped abs, even if they have no idea what they are talking about.
After actually researching the issue, I can tell you without a doubt that weight belts do three things:
- Artificially Increase Intra-Abdominal Pressure (Detrimental Over Time)
- Give you Sensory Feedback as to When your back is bent and your form is going bad (Unnecessary)
- Give you something to attach weights to during weighted dips (Probably the only real use for a weight belt)
Weight Belts DO NOT:
- Support the Weight Itself (your body still has to do that)
- Keep you from Herniating a Disk just by wearing one
- Make you look like you know what your doing
Using a Weight Belt
A weight belt is designed to be cinched tightly around your abdomen during heavy lifts. You should loosen or take off the belt any time you are not lifting. Finally, a weight belt should be used only during exercises where your spine will undergo extreme pressure: Deadlifts, Squats, Clean and Jerk, Standing Shoulder Press, Push Press, etc.
You don’t need to keep wearing it when you bench, curl, or do pullups. You just look stupid when you do that.
Besides, leaving a weight belt on and tightened the entire time you are in the gym can lead to all sorts of long term blood pressure problems.
Why I Don’t Use a Belt
The following study appeared in the American Council of Exercise magazine:
Support Wanes for Weightlifting Belts
“Weightlifting belts do little to improve performance, concluded researchers at the Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y., after comparing the progress of 50 weightlifters, half of whom wore weightlifting belts.
All the men followed the same program, and their results were essentially the same. But there was an important difference: The men who did not use the weightlifting belt had better abdominal and back strength.
These results echo a previous study that found little to support the use of these belts.
While an individual may be able to lift about 20 percent more weight when they wear a back belt, this does not translate to 20 percent more protection for the spine.
Furthermore, other studies have found that the constant use of back belts leads to reliance as torso and back muscles begin to atrophy over time.
Only power lifters or those who lift extremely heavy weights appear to benefit from the use of weightlifting belts. But even these individuals would be better off doing their daily training without the aid of a belt.”
The study was undertaken by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and seems to echo the natural accounts of gym-goers elsewhere:
“I knew someone who worked out with a belt all the time, while I never use one. Me, I never get back injuries and can lift the same amount as him- But when he decided to take the belt off and attempt to lift the same amount of weight he was used to, he damn near sent himself to the hospital.
I also know plenty of guys who wear belts while working to avoid injury- The thing is, their bodies get used to moving stuff with the added support of the belt, and as soon as you try to lift something heavy without it, your body’s not up to the task…”
–cpl at DiscussBodybuilding.com
If you train without a weight belt, your body develops using its natural abdominal strength to keep you from getting injured.
If you train with a weight belt, you become reliant on that belt. Your abs become the weak link in the chain and you become even more dependent on the belt.
The Body’s Natural Weight Belt
Your body has a natural, built-in protective device for lifting weights, it’s called the Transverse Abdominus. This is the large muscle that runs horizontally around your abdomen. Think of your body as a house, and this muscle as the primary wall. It’s not one of those aesthetic muscles like the Rectus Abdominus (6-Pack). Nope. It’s purpose is to hold your guts in place.
When you lift weights, your abdomen naturally tightens. The Transverse Abdominus is what is causing this tightening. And as we’ve already seen, this added Intra-Abdominal pressure is what keeps your back safe during heavy lifting.
When you train without external devices, your abs will naturally build themselves up to handle the added weight.
So take off that weight belt, and lets get really strong!
Reversing Insulin Resistance
In The Glycemic Load Diet, Rob Thompson, M.D. points out a critical link between walking and reversing insulin resistance, the culprit behind type II (adult-onset) diabetes. In his book, he notes that insulin resistance occurs after roughly 48 hours of Type II (slow twitch) muscle inactivity. Enough time without exercise, and your muscles begin to resist insulin, the naturally occurring hormone that drives glucose into your muscles cells. But, if we do something to exercise these muscles, they “awaken” and become more sensitive to insulin.
“Insulin Sensitivity exhibits a sort of all-or-none phenomenon–like a switch, it’s either on or off. Once you get those metabolic processes started, there’s little need to do more. You’ve already learned that you don’t have to engage in strenuous exercise to activate your slow-twitch fibers. Walking at a comfortable pace is just fine. Now, if your could figure out the minimum amount of walking needed to switch on your insulin sensitivity, you could get away with doing that and no more.
Researchers have found that it takes between twenty and thirty minutes of walking to switch on insulin sensitivity. Exercising more than that might be good for other things–you might burn more calories or get in better shape–but it’s unnecessary if you’re just trying to lose weight.”
As you might imagine, insulin resistance causes a whole slew of other problems. MedicineNet.com notes that insulin resistance (or “Metabolic Syndrome”) has been linked to abdominal obesity, elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure. And wait, there’s more. Several other conditions are noted as being related to insulin resistance. These include Type II Diabetes, Liver Problems (fatty liver, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer), Skin Lesions, Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and reproductive abnormalities.
Doesn’t sound like fun to me either.
So what causes all this “Metabolic Syndrome”?
Well, you can thank modern life for that. With the advent of cars, computers, and desk jobs, most people don’t have to do any real physical labor on a daily basis.
A hundred years ago, humans were walking 5 or 6 miles a day just to get by. In fact, most jobs required intense physical labor. The average person got in shape herding cattle and building houses, not gym memberships and diet pills.
The Walking Habit that Will Change Your Life
Just walking 20 minutes per day literally will change your life. A whole host of medical conditions will be reversed and you will probably lose a ton of weight.
So, here are two simple changes you can make to significantly improve your quality of life:
- Every time you pick up the phone, just start walking. You won’t notice you’re walking, but the times will add up quickly. If you’re like me, you can easily log 20 minutes a day.
- After breakfast, go for a 10-20 minute walk. This will clear your head and get your body running for the day. The lost time walking will be more than made up for in increased productivity.
You don’t need to do anything fancy like buy a pedometer or wave your arms from side to side like a deranged housewife. Just get outside and move.
Walking isn’t Just for the Morbidly Obese
Now, if you are already in decent shape, I’m sure you’re a little skeptical about the benefits of walking.
Believe me, I was too.
Being from the school of intense fitness, I never thought just getting out of the house and walking around the block could bring any real positive changes to my life. To me, walking was something people did when they couldn’t do real exercises, like jogging or lifting weights. Besides, my slow twitch muscle fibers were already “switched on” from working out 3 to 5 times per week.
Well, there are several distinct benefits to walking, even if you’re already in great shape:
- Mental Clarity — It might sound a bit new-age for you, but it seriously works. Getting out of the house and actually interacting with the real world will significantly improve your mood. Besides, it clears your mind for the important things you have to do when you get back. Tim Ferriss put it best on his blog post Things I’ve Learned and Loved in 2008 “Eat a high-protein breakfast within 30 minutes of waking and go for a 10-20 minute walk outside afterward, ideally bouncing a handball or tennis ball. This one habit is better than a handful of Prozac in the morning.
- Calorie Burn — A 200 pound person walking 30 minute miles burns about 114 calories per mile, or 228 calories per hour. (About.com Calorie Calculator) This extra calorie burn can help you finally get that six-pack, or simply let you eat more and stay in great shape.
- Reduction of Inflammation — In one study “Walking, vigorous physical activity, and markers of hemostasis and inflammation in healthy men and women“, researchers found that “Regular walking is associated with lower levels of hemostatic and inflammatory markers independently of vigorous physical activity in healthy men and women.” Walking may actually help you recover from those heavy weight lifting sessions.
- Foot Toughening — As long as the route around my neighborhood is clear of debris, I prefer walking barefoot. This one habit will strengthen the arches in your feet more than you can imagine. Not to mention, the soles of your feet will become significantly thicker and more resistant to everyday wear and tear.
Now Go Take Action
Try the two habits I mentioned above for just 1 week. That’s it, 1 week. Starting now.
No excuses, or “I’ll try that later”.
These are not difficult habits, but they really are life changing!
The Truth About Spot Reduction
We’ve all wondered it at one point. If we do hundreds of sit-ups a day, can we lose those few extra pounds of belly fat and get a quick six-pack?
Wouldn’t that be nice.
The technical term for this type of weight loss is “Spot Reduction”. Spot Reduction refers to the ability to lose body fat in only one specific area of the body. But before you start doing endless crunches or go buy a Thigh-Blaster 5000, I want to show you something:
In the 80′s, the University of Massachusetts held a study where 13 men were required to do 5000 sit-ups over a 27 day training period.
When doctors examined the fat levels of each participant at the end of the study, they found equally lower levels of fat in the abdomen, butt, and upper back. So while each participant lost body fat, the results showed that they lost that excess weight equally from all over the body.
The Journal of Applied Physiology performed a similar study on several women.
Over the course of 6 months, the ladies did 9 hours of exercise per week, consisting mainly of leg workouts. On average, these women lost 5.9 pounds of fat. Not bad, but where did they lose this weight from? Well, fat loss was 2.9 pounds in the trunk area, 2.8 pounds in the arms, and 0 pounds in the thighs.
Yup! All leg workouts, and no weight loss in the legs…
But your probably still in shock, so I’ll drive the point home.
In 1971, the Annals of Internal Medicine tested world class tennis players.
Their goal was to see if these elite athletes had more or less body fat in their stronger, dominant arm. If spot reduction were actually true, these players would have ripped dominant arms and slightly fatter non-dominant arms. If not, body fat would be constant in both arms.
In the end, they discovered that body fat levels were exactly the same in both arms. The dominant arm had more muscle, and could kick more tennis butt on the court, but that was about it. Both arms had the same fat levels.
To really understand why this phenomenon occurs, let’s look at how your body uses energy:
How the Body Burns Fat
Your body is one giant system. No single unit operates separate from the whole.
When you exercise, your muscles are powered mainly by the oxidation of fats and carbohydrates. Sure, there are internal fuel stores within your muscles, but once these stores are used up your muscles need another fuel source. These fuels are delivered direct to your muscles via fresh, oxygenated blood. This blood carries both fat and carbohydrates (and a bit of protein) into your muscles where all three are converted to working energy. I’m not going to get into details, but the bottom line is this. Blood carries fuel to your muscles.
So let’s get something straight right now. Your muscles are not directly connected to any of your fat cells. Nor do muscle control the fat cells around them. Muscles simply use energy.
A Simplified Analogy of the Human Body
Think of your body as a simple city. There are four things in this city:
- Storage Units
- The Airport
The Semi-Trucks simply drive around the city , delivering fuel to the factories. The trucks typically go to the airport and pick up new fuel before driving back to the factories. If there is too much fuel at the end of the day, the trucks simply drop it off at the storage units. If there isn’t enough fuel at the airport the next day, the trucks get more fuel from the storage units and deliver it to the factories.
Either way, the city continues to operate. The city doesn’t care how big the storage units become. Bigger storage simply means the ability to survive longer without new fuel arriving.
Your body is the same way, except that the storage units are fat cells. The trucks are your blood. The airport is your digestive system, where fuel is delivered. And the factories, those are your muscles and organs.
I know this is overly simplified, and that’s OK. It’s meant to be. Understanding how your muscles and fat cells are connected should not require a PhD in exercise physiology.
The Only Rule of Fat Loss
Eat more than you need, and you will gain weight.
Eat less than you need, and you will lose weight.
There are a thousand other factors determining your body composition, but this one rule pretty much covers it. Energy In, Energy Out. Too much energy in (food) and not enough energy out (exercise) and you’ll gain weight. There are no secrets, special creams, or pills you can take to avoid this.
Remember this one rule and you’ll be ahead of 90% of the population. Ignore it, and you’ll look like them.
Specific exercises, like crunches, will certainly help your weight loss strategy, but they won’t get rid of fat in specific areas. Focus on realistic diet and exercise and that extra fat will disappear all on its own.
The above is day 3 from the 90 Day motivational video series at Mastery TV. Pay close attention to everything after 2:48.
What this has to do with your Failing New Year’s Resolution:
Bad news, it’s time to face fact. Those cliché New Years resolutions aren’t working.
How do I know? I’ve set the same vague goals myself.
Go ahead and tell me you haven’t heard the following uttered in some fashion or another during the recent ball-drop:
This year, I’m gonna …
- Quit Smoking.
- Get out of Debt.
- Help the Poor.
- Spend More Time with Family.
- Travel More.
- Get Organized.
And my #1 absolute personal favorite…
- Lose Weight.
One radio listener even went so far as to swear himself to celibacy in 2010. Total time till this promise caved, 3 days. Let’s start being honest with ourselves; these indistinguishable self-deceptions aren’t working.
I’ve personally used the weight loss lie at least 4 times without success, and it’s got to end.
While each goal is noble and attainable by its very definition, we seem to be going about achieving them in the wrong way. By simply stating that we’ll have the end result, we’re missing the underlying causes of our actual problems. Ultra-Successful people have almost always followed the same pattern when achieving their goals:
BE DO HAVE
These three steps can only be followed in this exact order. There is no skipping ahead. No magic pill or secrets here:
- First and foremost, you must BE the person you know you must become. Every mountain climber knows they must first conquer their own internal mountain before setting foot on the actual hill.
- Then, only after conquering yourself, you must DO what you know must be done. This is going to be difficult. Go to the gym three days a week. Sell off your television to pay off credit card debt. Throw out half your old crap and spend a week organizing the rest. It’s not easy, and it’s going to take gusto and brass kahonas. That’s precisely why you must conquer your own personal mountain first.
- Only when you’ve completed the first two steps will you HAVE exactly what you originally wanted. In fact, since you’ve conquered yourself and done things most others never will, you’ll end up with much more.
While you were at the gym chiseling those six-pack abs, I’ll bet you didn’t notice that everything else in the world has gotten a whole lot easier to deal with. While you were busy selling your television to pay off debt, you just happened to get on track to take back a whole 9 years of your life.
(According to the A.C. Nielsen Co. the average 65 year old American has already watched 9 constant years of television. That’s a total of 78,840 hours at the tube! Rather frightening stats here.)
And while you were busy becoming more organized, you didn’t happen but to realize that your wife was suddenly less stressed out by the clutter, and became much more interested in sex. Strange things happen when you’re not looking.
A Resolution You can Actually Keep
The journey of self-conquer is grueling and mentally difficult, so I’m going to introduce you to a friend of mine.
Future Me is hardworking, ultra-successful, and has the body of a Greek statue. He faces challenges head on without hesitation, and wakes up every day ready to do battle for his dreams. His standards are higher than anyone I’ve ever met, and he has achieved far more than I could ever imagine.
The down side for my lazy half; Future Me is always around. Every time I try to slack off or shrink from challenges, he’s right there with me, setting the example, showing me that it really can be done. My standards are already 100 times higher, and I’ve found myself achieving more and more with each passing day.
The best part; everything is easier. Most tasks that seemed impossible are now in perspective. He’s done it all already, so why can’t I?
Now that the self-deceiving New Year’s resolutions are finally wearing off, I urge you to find your own “Future Me”. Try this change of mindset for just one week, even if it sounds crazy (especially if it sounds crazy). It might not be easy at first, but I promise that you’ll start to see things change.
You can’t become a millionaire or chisel a bodybuilder physique in one single week. But being 60 lbs overweight or watching 78,840 hours of television can’t happen in one week either. Your quality of life is determined by your habits and standards.
Try this simple habit for just one week. See where it takes you.
I can guarantee that it’s better than the alternatives.
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