Change CAN happen in an instant. Has it happened to you?

Blob Camp Nerd Fitness

Have you ever had a moment – maybe a conversation, event, or even reading a book that felt like a “moment of insight” – and it literally changed your life?

As we all know, the problem in adopting healthy eating habits, making a lifestyle or job change, or even starting a vigorous new exercise routine usually isn’t the knowledge that we need to do these things (that’s just collecting underpants), but the ability to set ourselves up to actually follow through.

We often think change only happens over a long period of time. And yes, when it comes to changing physically, that’s often true. However, leveling up mentally or making life changes can in fact, happen in an instant. But only if action is taken that solidifies this new life you want to live!

How can we make sure that these moments of “holy crap, things are gonna be different” actually result in permanent, positive changes in our lives?

After all, epiphanies are only life-changing if you apply what you’ve learned.

Camp Nerd Fitness 2015 Swords

Last week, we held Camp Nerd Fitness, which had over 300 rebels leveling up their lives and was a massive success. We now have a phrase that has caught on now two years in a row: #CNF365, aka “Camp Nerd Fitness, 365 days a year.”

Although Camp NF is a 4-day event each year, it’s only really effective if the principles, lessons, and friendships carry over all year. You can only physically transform so much in four days. Yes, eating healthy meals and exercising for four days is an amazing start, but it doesn’t help much if you return home and go back to a couch-potato lifestyle with Domino’s pizza every night.

As author Jonathan Fields tells it, “We tend to think of profound change as a process that happens over time. Sometimes, that’s true. But other times, deep, lasting change can happen in a moment.”

If you’ve ever attended an event, a seminar, a conference, or even read an article here on Nerd Fitness that made you want to change how you live, you might have experienced one of these moments. It’s like a bolt of lightning, a flash of inspiration that makes you look at life differently. Think of it like Neo seeing 1s and 0s in the Matrix.

Long story short: If you’ve ever had one of these moments, it’s important to make change a priority every day so it becomes habit.

This is why we love small changes here in the Rebellion – a great approach to help you realize that moment of insight. Rather than drastically changing everything for 30 days and returning to your old ways, I would rather you change ONE thing, but make that change permanent:

  • Don’t go on a diet. Ever. A diet implies temporary change. Instead, make a fundamental change to your relationship with food, and make a small healthy change that is permanent (drinking less soda, cooking one meal at home each week, etc.). That’s why we’re huge fans of living a Paleo-ish lifestyle!
  • Sign up for a recurring class or course. If you go to a powerlifting seminar that makes your head explode with excitement, sign up for a powerlifting meet that keeps you focused on that goal. Loved martial arts? Get going with a class in your home town!
  • Take action. Now. Read a great book? Get off your ass and go sign up for something. Or take your first action. Build something. Draw something. Write something. And then repeat the process the next day.

Specific steps and actionable decisions trump brilliant but unexecuted plans. I think I realized why Camp worked out so well in terms of people taking action: we introduced merit badges and quests! We challenged campers to complete a series of quests throughout the week:

camp quests

… in exchange for earning merit badges:camper badge level up

We knew quests would be a hit (which is why they are also a part of the Nerd Fitness Academy), but people went nuts for them! It was so cool to see. Fortunately, you can apply these same game mechanics to your own life as well:

  • Create a list of things you want to accomplish.
  • Make sure your next step on each is small, actionable, and specific.
  • Give yourself a reward for completing those tasks (that rewards you back!)

I’ve built my life around these types of structured goals (My Epic Quest of Awesome), and you can too. The toughest part is often getting started. So make the first step so small that it’s easy to get started with it, and be okay with taking imperfect action.

Internal change can happen in an instant, but long-term change happens over time with consistent action taken.

Follow Through

cyclical hands

We return from events like Camp Nerd Fitness, or from reading a specific book, visiting a country, attending a new class or conference, and things feel… different. Even if we just had a mental breakthrough after reading an article – there’s something new there: an excitement and anticipation of change.

That’s the initial afterglow: the confidence, the happiness, and the changed behavior that comes immediately from this moment. But it can last for as long as you’ll allow it.

You see, the goal for permanent change is to change from afterglow to everglow. An afterglow burns out after a few weeks before life goes back to how it was. An everglow, however, is something that lasts permanently – it’s the fundamental changes you make to your life that become your new “normal.”

No matter if you felt empowered to change after reading a great article, having a candid conversation with your doctor, or attending the biggest event of your life, if you don’t start implementing changes IMMEDIATELY, you can’t level up.

Remember: new quests must be created. A bigger dragon must be slain.

When I started this article, I wanted to make this about you: I want to hear about how YOU made a moment into something more – whether that moment was a doctor’s visit, a candid conversation with friends and family, an insightful moment when reading online, or even if you were one of the legendary 300 who attended Camp Nerd Fitness.

How did you make sure you applied what you learned while at the event, even after returning to real life?

Can you think back to one single moment that fundamentally changed your path? How did you react, and what steps did you take to make sure your life was truly different after that experience?

I’ll share mine:

9 years ago, I was selling construction equipment in San Diego. On a particularly miserable day (I was quite bad at my job, you see), I walked into a bookstore and picked up Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Workweek. I read the book in a two days and bought shortly after that. I didn’t know how things would work, just that my life was suddenly different, and I had a path on which to follow: one that got me here to Nerd Fitness. I’ve cataloged this journey and these strategies I’ve used over the years. A recent epiphany even led me to NYC!

I’d love to hear from you.

What’s a moment in time that you were able to turn an afterglow into an everglow? 

Can you point to a single moment you looked back on and said “Things are going to be different now, I better act accordingly?” And – the important part –  how did you MAKE SURE things remained different?

From afterglow to everglow – let’s hear it!


PS: Keep an eye out from me in the next two weeks for a special personal email from me about a big announcement I made at camp. I’ll tell you about it soon 🙂

PPS: “From Afterglow to Everglow” sounds like a great album title. And yes, The Everglow is a phenomenal album.


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