Are you ready for change?*

Thursday, 19 October 2017, By Jean-Pierre Karam

Change is single-handedly one of the most difficult tasks an individual may encounter across a lifetime. Just the simple mission of stepping out of your comfort zone and making a real change in your life could be very confronting to many, to the point where we don't even try. However, I must say, it is easier said than done. We must be ready for this change, we must be ready for progress and we must be prepared for this new lifestyle coming our way. As the famous George Bernard Shaw once said, "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything".

Change is defined as passing from one state to another, possibly from an unhealthy to a healthy state. Change may also be viewed as changing one's character or appearance, a change which is inevitable as we adopt a new lifestyle in the hope of making a better version of ourselves.

I too, as many people know, had to make this change. Taking my appearance, and the way I felt about myself from an unhealthy state to one of a Personal Trainer. All my life I hadn't ever been the skinny kid or the fit kid, this appearance and feeling was only a product of my dreams and something I could only imagine, due to the fact that I never felt empowered to act upon these dreams and step out of my comfort zone to make the change into what I was only destined to achieve. Rather, I went through my life like a normal kid, just a little bit bigger, I had made numerous attempts to change but the one key aspect that was truly absent was my readiness. I was never ready. I wasn't ready for this new lifestyle I had to adopt nor was I ready to experience real progress. So, I stayed the same. To put it plain and simple. To be brutally honest, there were also some nights where I couldn't stand the thought and feeling of my appearance and the fact that I was so unhealthy that I would cry myself to sleep and only wish for a change.

Fast forward a little while and the spark was flamed. I had been informed that I had to undergo a serious operation, involving myself ceasing any form of exercising, from running to jumping to something as simple as walking. At this stage, my emotions were no longer intact, I was a wreck and I was all over the place. My eating turned to fast food and junk to the most unbelievable extremities and as a result I gained a whole 25 kilograms over such a short period of time, three months to be exact. If I wasn't psychologically ready before, I definitely was now. Mid way through my recovery, post-operation I had set about completing my certificate III and IV in fitness. I had finally reached a stage where I would let nothing stop me in my quest for change. I had lost a total of 16.5 kilograms on my own with just a few tweaks and adjustments to my nutrition and eating habits. I was then cleared to begin exercising again, not long after I found Vision Blakehurst, of course we set some goals for myself along with the Director Shane, and the process was one that I knew was going to be simple, although a lot of hard work. We started to chip away week by week at those excess kilograms that were really unnecessary, with each week, a greater sense of satisfaction coming along with it. By the time I had reached 7 months in for my quest for change I had experienced some serious feats that once again were only a product of my dreams. I had amassed a total loss of 42.5 kilograms, ran the Sutherland2Surf and most importantly I am now a Personal Trainer! Once I did lose all of the excess weight, I did make a promise to myself to never let myself go back to my old habits.

Now as I sit and reflect on my journey thus far, I start to ponder as to what was different between this time and all the other times I had tried to lose weight. The answer is one key concept that I spoke about earlier on in this piece, I was not ready to change before. I did not know what was coming and I was not ready to step out of my comfort zone for the better. But this time was different, I was prepared to do things such as long distance running which I had never done before, I was prepared to sacrifice eating out and all the bad habits involved in order to continue to see those reductions and progress week by week. As the founder of Vision Personal Training, Andrew Simmons says in his book 'Ready, Set, Go', "it is only when the pain of not changing exceeds the pain of changing or when the pleasure of changing exceeds the pleasure of not changing that a person is ready to lead a healthy lifestyle". I agree with this quote entirely, as it was something that I experienced.

I am frequently asked about what I did to lose the weight and how I did it exactly. However, of course there are a range of diverse factors which come into play once talking about a lifestyle change. I could talk for hours upon hours about what to do and what not to do, however in this piece I will simply name a few strategies and key guidelines which are going to ensure you are ready for change.

  1. Find your drive. Often, we say as Vision Personal Trainers that you need to start with why. Don't start with what you want to achieve, or how you are going to do it. Start with why, why do you want to change? Why do you want to make a healthier and better version of yourself? Once you find your why, make it your drive behind your hard work.
  2. Set some goals. Goal setting is an essential factor behind achieving success. If we are not setting goals, do we truly know what we are working towards? Set some goals that you want to achieve, whether it's to lose weight or run a marathon and stick to it.
  3. Action. People often set goals but then get a bit lost along the way, unsure of how they should go about achieving these goals. This is where the action comes in. Set some actions that are going to be realistic for you moving forward on your way to success. Devise your plan. For example, if you are hoping to lose let's say 10 kilograms, your action may be to ensure you hit your cardio/weights goal every week and eat according to the macronutrients tailored just for you.
  4. Look to the future. Often, we see people dwelling on the past too much. I used to do it myself. You may use it as a drive towards your goals, however ultimately, we should be letting go of our past and looking towards our future. For example, not saying things like my eating habits used to be so bad, rather replacing it with I have changed my eating habits moving forward to put myself in the best position for success. The past will only limit your ability to change if you continue to live in the past.
  5. Accept the reality. You must accept the fact that there is no magic pill, nor secret. The real secret is that you must be ready for change, in fact not just for a short period of time, rather change your lifestyle long term. You must be ready to commit and dedicate yourself to the change.
  6. Don't be afraid to fail. Like myself, many people have tried to change their lives for the better yet to have failed. Although, it is the actions we take which matter when we fail, you must be ready to get back up and not let it keep you away from achieving the real change and success that you want.
  7. Accountability. When we think about accountability, it may come in two forms, accountability from oneself to achieve the goals we set out to achieve or public accountability which may come from your trainer or a training partner. Accountability is important as it ensures that you are staying true to yourself and towards the goals you have set out to achieve. Have some form of accountability to all facets of your training, including eating to your macronutrients and your cardio/weights ratio.

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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