Earn It.

A healthy life is a wonderful thing.

A healthy life cannot be handed to you. It cannot be donated.  It cannot be purchased, borrowed, or stolen.  A healthy life doesn’t come from a bottle of pills, surgery, or a machine.  A healthy life can’t be obtained in “just 15 minutes a day, three times a week!”

A healthy life isn’t redistributed from those who have one to those who don’t.

A healthy life must be earned.

I’m going to tell you why that is the greatest freaking thing in the entire world.  

And when you come to this conclusion, the conclusion that you don’t need somebody else’s permission to get healthy, that you don’t need to buy some magic bullet, you suddenly realize that there’s nothing stopping you from getting started other than yourself.

Yeah, it’s going to be a challenge.  It won’t take just a week of hard work, or even a month.  It might take a year, or two, or five.

You’re going to struggle.  You’re going to have days where you want to give up.  You’re going to have days that make you wonder “is this worth it?”

  • Ask Joe if the 10 months was worth it.  The smile on his face says yes.
  • Ask Saint how he felt on his wedding day after reaching his goal.
  • Ask Staci how she felt when she deadlifted 315 lbs for the first time.
  • Ask Ryan how he felt when looking in the mirror and saw a new man.

It’s always worth it.

Remember this: the longer it takes you to reach your goal, the more obstacles you have to overcome, the more challenges you face along the way, the more you’ll appreciate, respect, and cherish your healthy life.

Self-respect doesn’t appear out of thin air.

Like a healthy body, it has to be earned.   

As Henry Rollins will tell you, “I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect.”  

And you know what? Getting strong isn’t easy either; It requires hard work, dedication to the cause, and consistency in your efforts.

I love that about exercise: it’s the great equalizer.

In the gym, on the track, or in the park, our social status, wealth, and level of influence doesn’t matter.  It makes no difference what kind of car you drive, if you live in your mom’s basement, or if you have a level 90 character in World of Warcraft.

When you exercise, NONE of that matters.

You know what DOES matter?

Are you faster than you were last month? Are you stronger than you were last week? Did you set a new personal record? Are you better off today than you were yesterday?

No matter how small the improvement, if you can find a way to be better every single day, a few weeks from now you will be a completely different person on the inside.

As time goes on, your outward appearance will start to reflect that new inner strength you possess and that new level of self-respect.

I get a few hundred emails a week from people who are taking their first steps towards a healthier life. More often than not, I can tell within the first few sentences of an email who is going to be successful and who won’t.

The people that won’t be successful (with their first attempt) say things like:

  • “How long will it take before I (lose 50 pounds/get abs/fit into these pants)?” – They are only interested in the results and aren’t really interested in putting in the time and effort to get there.
  • “I know what you said to do, but I can’t (strength train/give up this food/make this change/etc).”  These are people who are afraid to try new things or make changes, and thus would rather keep doing what they’ve always done. It’s less scary and sounds easier.
  • “I know what I’m supposed to do, but I don’t have time to do it.”  These people have not made their health a priority.
  • “I read what you said, and then I read on these 47 other blogs conflicting ideas, so I’m confused and need to research more.”  These people will never get started because they’re too busy collecting information rather than taking action.

When people ask for advice, and then push back after I give it to them, I can’t help but think of a quote I read recently:

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.  If what you are doing is not working, do something else.”

Conversely, these are the emails I LOVE to get:

  • “Hey Steve, I took action today.  I cleaned out my cabinets of junk food.  I signed up for a gym membership.  I started training. I cooked my first healthy meal ever.  You’ll hear from me in three months with a success story.”
  • “I’m doing this for me.  Not because my doctor said so.  Not because my friends said I was getting fat (in fact, they tell me I’m crazy because I’m already ‘too skinny’…relative to them).  Not because I’m trying to win some contest.  But because I want to respect myself and look in the mirror and be proud of what I see.”
  • “Steve, I read what you said to do, and for the past six months I shut up and did it.  Here’s my success story.” This one is my favorite.

I’m not saying my advice is infallible, but the people who tend to have success aren’t afraid to jump in and figure it out along the way.  They have GRIT. They understand that there’s no perfect time to start, no perfect diet plan, no perfect workout plan.

They understand that getting started is the most important thing. 

They read articles about strength training and then go to their gym and learn how to deadlift and squat.

They see a success story and say to themselves, “Hey, that person was just like me. I can do what they did; I’m going to start.”

They think back to previous attempts they made to get healthy, realizing that failure is only a failure if nothing is learned from it.  They make small adjustments and try again.

The people who have success aren’t afraid to fail, aren’t afraid to step outside of their comfort zone, and aren’t afraid to make an investment in themselves.

I have a challenge for you.

Do ONE thing that scares you.

Go to that workout rather than sleeping in.

Cook a meal today rather than taking the cheap and unhealthy way out.

Make one decision today that’s makes your life better in some way.

Looking in the mirror with pride at what you see is one of the greatest feelings in the entire world, and I know that self-respect and confidence can carry over to every other aspect of your life.

Go to bed proud tonight, knowing that you’re on the path to a healthier life.

Wake up tomorrow knowing that the day is full of potential and possibilities.

And then get started.

Nobody will give you permission.

Nobody will serve it to you on a silver platter.

You are solely responsible for your future.

And the future is f***ing bright.

-Steve

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photo source: jump

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