In the world of health and fitness the common logic is to think in terms in addition – adding a new workout program, adding a new type of diet, etc.
It’s natural to think that the healthiest future version of ourself is just missing some key element that we need to find. Hence the reason that so many workout and diet programs skyrocket around this time of year. After all, what better way to kick off the new year than adding some shiny new thing to our wellness bag of tricks?
But that line of thinking misses a really critical element…
We’re incredibly good at self-sabotage.
It’s part of being human. We all have some areas of weakness that we are abysmal at. For me, it’s chocolate chip cookies. If I have them in our house it doesn’t matter what diet regimen or workout program I’m following – I’ll eat 6 of them before I’ve given my workout or diet a second thought. They are my achilles heel (one of many).
So you know what I do?
I don’t try to beat it by working out harder. I don’t try to beat it by restricting my calories or my food groups outside of the cookies.
I beat it by never having cookies in my house!
It’s such a simple concept, but it amazes me how many people never think like this when they’re trying to make health improvements in their life.
What you avoid matters a whole lot more than what you add.
When it comes to our health, step 1 should be doing some self-reflection and understanding what our achilles heels are. If we can minimize our exposure to our them, we will likely do a lot more for our health than any new workout or diet could.
And the thing about achilles heels? They’re different for everyone.
If we had Sour Patch Kids in our pantry everyday I would likely never touch them. While all sugar is slightly intriguing, they don’t do enough for me to go against my better judgement. My wife on the other hand? She’d probably be screwed because she loves them. So we don’t ever have them in our house.
Bread is another achilles heel for both my wife and myself. Either of us could easily down a couple pieces of bread and butter with dinner each night, and we’d have a tough time not doing that if bread was regularly in our pantry.
But it isn’t, so we rarely ever struggle with bread. We removed the opportunity to expose our achilles heel.
I get asked health and fitness questions a lot, and my natural inclination is to want to sound smart in the situation.
But the reality?
My logic when it comes to health and fitness is about as simple as it can be.
I hardly ever follow a regimented workout program.
There isn’t a single food that I restrict entirely from my diet.
I don’t follow or preach any specific fitness or nutrition methodology.
And I don’t overthink it. Ever.
I simply know the things that will derail me, and I do what’s in my power to avoid those derailments. Because I know that when it comes to my health, avoiding self-sabotage goes a lot further for me than following some prescriptive ideology ever could.
If I don’t expose my achilles, the arrow can’t hit it.