In case you spent the last couple weeks in an underground bunker (if so, color me envious), the winter Olympics came and went once again.
Kids that were born while we were buying our first bottle of Tylenol 8-Hour Arthritis Pain formula performed athletic feats that defy gravity, all semblance of sanity, and the imagination.
The winter event includes sports categorized by the various methods of traversing frozen surfaces by use of skis, blades, large metal buckets disguised as sleds, all traveling faster than the time it takes for you to say, “I went grocery shopping and now I need a nap.”
As if the blades, ice and speed weren’t enough, now throw in a cart designed to race downhill with its occupant careening headfirst at 75 mph.
Aptly named the Skeleton, for the only thing that remains of you if your cart goes awry, I am at a loss for what would make someone decide on this particular sport.
The only thing more terrifying would be… well, nothing.
Insanity aside, these athletes represent the epitome of fearlessness, drive and tenacity.
Regardless of what you’re trying to achieve in life, we can all tear out a page from the playbook of an skeletal accomplishment and incorporate it into our own lives.
I’m talking about three non-negotiable traits you must possess in order to achieve anything in life, which I consider underrated, undervalued and unavoidable.
And sadly, none involve eating your weight in chocolate.
They all can be narrowed down to:
I’ve talked about #1 a bit in other posts, but it bears repeating because it remains a huge obstacle, at least according to my Ageless Army members and clients.
Working out when you’re “in the mood,” or eating clean “once in a while” won’t get you where you want to be if your goal has anything to do with fitness or weight loss. It’s like brushing your teeth once and expecting to have fresh breath the rest of your life.
Not happening. Just ask those around you.
If the Olympic skeleton team only careened downhill once in a blue moon they’d never have made it beyond their parents’ backyard.
Ditto for you.
It’s not about being perfect. It’s about creating habits you do consistently, even if you fall off the ballistic sled. Get back on and keep pushing on.
A busy executive client who traveled extensively once told me, “I figured out how often I worked out last year, and it averaged out to four times a week — which included weeks when I did more and weeks when I didn’t work out at all.”
It’s the overall picture that counts in the end, not a single week or month.
This goes hand-in-hand with consistency.
If you’re ever uttered the words, “I tried that [workout plan/healthy meal program] for a while and it didn’t work for me,” herein lies the problem.
The word “try” is the giveaway.
I recently asked one of my clients why, after many failed attempts to get in shape, she finally was able to lose weight and meet her goals, she said, “I don’t know. I just made the decision.”
There it is. Substitute “commitment” for decision and it proves my point.
When you’re truly committed to a plan (assuming it’s healthy), you do it and keep doing it, regardless of whether or not you’re in the mood. You’ve made a commitment and you’re going to hold true to it, goshdarnit.
If both of these sound an awful lot like self-discipline to you, you’re right.
But here’s the thing: Once you get make a commitment and are consistent with the promise you make to yourself, it becomes easier and easier. Self-discipline is like a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it.
Before you know it — BAM! — these new habits become simply things you do as part of your daily routine.
And forget the 21-days to create a new habit adage. Research shows it can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days, 66 days on average, depending on the habit itself, before it sticks for reals.
Lastly, be willing to listen to experts, especially when you allegedly value their opinion enough to pay them money. I cannot tell you how many times clients would either not take my advice or would argue with me over work out and dietary advice.
Olympic athletes all have coaches because they know it’s the only legit “shortcut” to be their best.
Listen, learn, take action and make progress. Repeat.
This trifecta of traits enables you to do anything you set your mind to do.
Which one of these traits do you find most challenging? Let me know in the comment section below…
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By the way, if you’re looking for a bevy of like-minded women over 50 to share advice, laughs and tips — with ME as your weekly coach — check out the Ageless Army. This special membership entitles you to a private Facebook group where the best of the best women sit around and chat about things that really matter.
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.