There’s a fairytale in the American psyche, and its name is Before and After.
Here’s how it goes: one day a person is fat and unhealthy and unattractive and all kinds of wrong, until, voila! They discover the magic ingredient/secret knowledge/special power that lets them get rid of all their bad old ways and do better.
Then, they live happily ever after.
When you look at two pictures side by side, with the one on the left looking terrible and the one on the right all bright and smiley, you’re seeing a lie about what transformation really looks like. Why? Because the most important part of that transformation is left out: the middle part.
Deciding you’re ready to make real change is a moment that takes a split second. But making good decisions, not just once but over and over again every single day, is where the real work is. Of course, nobody’s gonna sell a thing if they advertise with millions of pictures of plain old people, every day, barely changing from one moment to the other. But the problem is, many of us walk into brand spanking new goals with this Before and After style thinking firmly in place.
When we don’t reach the shiny, happy “After” picture quickly enough, we assume all the little things we’re doing aren’t working… and quit.
When you think about it, there is no “After”, anyway.
If you’re still alive, well, you should still be working towards your fitness goals. There’s no reaching the goal, then sitting back on the couch and slacking off as your reward (except, of course, for the occasional cheat day – which is always done wrong).
In other words, good health isn’t a destination, so much as a regular habit. There’s no Before, and there’s no After.
There’s only Right Now.
What to do now?
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