Imagine yourself out in the park, with a basketball in hand, playing an impromptu game with friends. You’re laughing, smiling, and having a good time—not a care in the world. It’s like a form of Tai Chi, meditation in motion.
When do the best athletes in nearly every sport have their best performances? When they’re completely in the moment, acting like a kid, pressure-free, enjoying the process. They are not focusing on the mechanics or the pressure of the game. They’re having fun and everything simply gels. They’re laughing, they’re smiling—they’re remembering why they starting playing the sport in the first place.
This philosophy applies to anyone trying to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. Just like when you are on a road trip with your family, you need to enjoy the ride instead of whining, “Are we there yet?”
Every aspect of your training and nutrition should feel this way. You eat healthy because it makes you feel good. The food tastes delicious, and when you are done eating you feel full and satisfied, with your energy renewed. You’re excited to walk into the gym and lift weights because it makes you feel strong. You’re amped to go to practice because it makes you better at the game you love. They key is to get to the “Why?”
When you were a really young kid, “Why?” was most likely your favorite question. I’m sure you constantly asked your friends and family why something was the way it was and “Because I said so” was never a good enough answer.
The answer to “why” is your purpose. It’s the reason behind your actions, your effort, and your sacrifice. It’s the reason you do what you do. And your “why” may be different from my “why” or from your friends’ or family’s “why.” One of the big mistakes your athletes make is that their initial “why” gets replaced by the fantasy of becoming rich and famous. Those are potential side benefits of achieving your goals but should not be the reason you’re striving for them in the first place.
Your “why?” should be based around improving your quality of life.
You need to throw out your scale and focus on enjoying the ride. A healthy lifestyle needs to become part of your personal culture and who you are at the core. Not approaching your goals in this manner is the problem of nearly every adult. They know what they do and focus on learning how to do what they do, but they forget their purpose. I have seen many athletes do whatever it takes to become a professional athlete. Yet of these select few who actually make it, the overwhelming majority crash and burn once they get there.
This phenomenon happens partially because they don’t set goals for what they’re going to do once they become a professional, but mostly because their “why” has become tainted in the process. They’ve lost their love for the game and stopped striving for greatness. The goal is to be happy but not content. You should always strive to be the best you can.
And it’s not just athletes. I’ve also seen this happen with people who are trying to lose weight or gain muscle. They focus all their energy on trying to reach a particular number on their scale and follow an approach based solely on temporary sacrifice. As soon as they reach their scale weight goal, they typically start eating poorly again and stop exercising as frequently. It’s disastrous!
For many others, after a week of dieting struggle and sacrifice, they step onto the magic box known as a scale and say, “Oh magic box. Please tell me that I am beautiful, that I am loved, that my program is succeeding.” And if the number that pops up is lower than the last time they checked, the answer to these questions is yes. If not, they’re an epic failure and it is time to find a new diet. Weight loss has little to do with willpower. It’s about developing a mindset and enriching yourself with proper information.
Many people trying to get fit put forth a ton of effort but are misguided by poor information. Instead, you need a game plan that helps create healthy habits and daily rituals that will get you to the top and keep you on top. And the process needs to be fun rather than a miserable sacrifice.
Quick fixes are not acceptable, as they are inconsistent with long-term change. Thinking “the diet starts tomorrow” is setting yourself up for failure. Instead, use my motto: “The healthy lifestyle starts now.” Do this for your own reasons, your own “why” for wanting to improve your quality of life today. And always remember: enjoy the ride, as it will make you emotionally fit and psychologically strong.