I’m working on Operation Get Strong, You Weakling! and reading some of my past articles for advice. No, I don’t think that’s embarrassing.
When I was walking myself through learning to cook like my mom and thinking about what worked for my early retirement dream, I decided I needed to:
- Formulate a good story for why the dream matters
- Make time for the dream
- Break the dream down into smaller dreams
- Measure the dream
Last week, I told you the story I tell myself; I want to get strong. I’d like people to look at me and think “badass” and not “I could take her.”
And before that, I told you how I make time for fitness. I do it as soon as I get up. I’ve exercised 6-7 days a week for the past twelve weeks. I’m dedicating mental space to it, reading books and blogs about fitness and nutrition. I’m learning so many things. All the things.
Now I want to talk about measuring and breaking the dream down.
You’re probably sick of me preaching about visual aids to motivate you toward your goal, specifically, my beloved retirement chart. But visual aids work. I might go so far as to say they are necessary and vital.
My main visual aid for Operation Strong is pictures of my body when I remember to take them. Pictures document 1,000 words of progress, plateaus or missteps. Your body will show you how it’s feeling. Look to see what’s working and what’s not.
Appearance is a consequence of fitness. This is a phrase I now repeat to myself daily.
- Be a writer
- Avoid time-wasters
- Grade my resolutions chart
When I started grading my resolutions chart, I really understood what worked for me and what didn’t. And having a main goal is vital. I would do anything to ensure I got an A on my “be a writer” goal. I tackled that by timing my writing each day. Two hours, at least six times a week, for at least a year. That spurred enough of a habit to write a book. You know this.
But for the six-pack bucket list items, “do forty minutes of youtube fitness videos,” wasn’t cutting it. I needed more specificity and more micromanaging. It was the same for my retire early dream. I had a ton of mini operations and sub goals for that dream.
Here are some of my resolutions trying to keep my body happy.
- Do a fitness video on youtube
- Put on lotion after you shower
- No booze
- Walk 10,000 steps
- Count your daily calories
Start with a small change and learn as you go. Implement what you’re reading and try new things to see what works for you and what doesn’t.
Counting calories is a huge pain, but putting on lotion each day is a delight. Touching and feeling the changes in my muscles really works as a motivator to get in shape. It’s about checking in, acknowledging. The body thrives with attention.
Change only a couple of things at a time. It will be too overwhelming, otherwise. Maybe it won’t be for you. I don’t know you.
But here’s what I do. I brainstorm a few ideas on what would make my life better and that don’t sound too controversial or terrible to me in relation to the Main Goal. Then I start doing something small as soon as I wake up every day and try to catch the momentum. Finally, I keep doing the changes that I find easy to keep and like and add on more tentative positive changes as I learn. Always be learning.
More resolutions as I accumulated knowledge
- Track how many push ups in a row you can do with perfect form
- Don’t eat any obvious sugar
- Eat dark green veggies
- Track how long can you hold a plank.
- Track the number of carbs you eat.
You must monitor what you’re doing every day. Some way. Laying it all out in black and white shows you exactly how you’re faring. Numbers don’t lie. The devil is in the details. Measure it in a way that’s best for you.
Please notice that I don’t have any goals in regards to my actual weight. Fixating on a specific number of pounds holds no appeal for me and not because it’s the far inferior imperial system. Kilograms wouldn’t be interesting either.
Muscle weighs more than fat. Your water weight varies throughout the day. I care about how I look and feel and what my body is able to do and not what a scale tells me.
Remember, you need your goal to be super specific. Not “retire early,” but rather “generate enough passive income to cover my expenses.” Not “get a six-pack,” but rather “follow a nutrition and exercise routine to get my body fat percentage low enough to see six abdominal muscles.” Be able to articulate what you’re doing to make the dream a reality.