I was speaking yesterday with WB Fitness about how my initial fat loss has slowed and my first taste of 2018 gains are starting to show, but I can feel the sting of routine, aka my body getting used to the workouts, rearing its ugly head. Ultimately WB told me that our goal is to get ready for summer and that its only mid-winter and we’ve only been on a program for 6 weeks. I started thinking about how when you start something, its ultimately around the 6 week mark that things change and how this translates into other aspects of life. Today I’ll explain my findings and how to apply yourself depending on the situation.
I’ll note that this observation comes from my personal experiences and observations. Nothing here is set in stone obviously, but I saw enough instances of it in my life to take notice. Some of you may experience the things in this article before or after the six week period, but you can apply them just the same.
Say you want to lose weight. Say you want to make yourself more valuable by learning a new skill. Say you want to be a more confident guy. It doesn’t matter the goal because everyone reaches the same starting point; the decision.
They say that the decision is the hardest part and in some ways it really is. You may second guess yourself or make excuses. You may bitch and try to talk your way out of it, but no matter what the goal, you have to 100% commit to giving it your all when you start. Half-assing it or “trying” to do something is bullshit. I honestly believe that people don’t “try” to do anything, either you do it (with all the screw ups and failures along the way) or you don’t and you either never start or quit.
Your goal and decision have to be realistic as well. If you’re 100lbs overweight, saying you want to lose it all in 1 month is unrealistic. If you tell yourself that you’re going to clean up your eating and exercise, and give it your all, and drop 10lbs that month, you can actually achieve it.
So you have the goal in mind and you’ve set a date to complete it. The next few weeks play an interesting role. For our purposes here, lets take a positive change that requires you to stop some activities (fat loss) and a positive change that requires you to add more activities (learning to play guitar.)
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Weeks 1-3: The Gauntlet
The first three weeks of any new goal can be fun but a shock to your routine. Week one you are super motivated. You’re making a change in your life that you want to see happen. You can tell your friends and family about it. Week two is more of the same. You’re settling into your new habits. You’re ditching the ice cream and taking an hour to learn how to properly use the pick and where to place your fingers on the fretboard. Week three things start to come together. Your scale is dropping, you’re able to strum a quick few bars on the guitar. Things are looking up.
Usually if you made it this far, you’ll continue. Positive feedback loops get you feeling good about your progress, but then the next phase sets in.
Weeks 3-5 The Test
You continue on your journey, everything is peachy. In my experience, this is when you’re truly tested. These 3 weeks are the weeks in which you’ll most likely experience your first failure. Not a failure like you may see in week one by being a noob, but a true failure. Using our examples, there may be that chord or even a progression that you just cant seem to get right, or your 2lbs a week weight loss may begin to stall around week 5. Through all of it, you decide that you’re still committed but something funny seems to happen after that.
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Week 6: The Barrier
Week 6 for me is met with successes and failures. I find that this is the time when I’ll actually sit back and contemplate if what I’m doing is worth it or not. You have to be careful here. If you’ve really been struggling in weeks 4-5 everything may be telling you that you’re wasting your time. Even with successes I’ve found that this is the barrier to truly making something change.
You push on with your weight loss, eating cleaner and upping the cardio here. You work tirelessly trying to play that tune that is giving you a headache. Your decisions to stick with it here typically spell success or failure overall. I have found in my life, getting past this point of the goal process with your eyes on the prize will almost certainly spell victory for you. You understand what it is you need to do, and you understand that this shit takes time. You know that if you show up and keep pushing the limits, no matter which way you take your approach, that the end is what you desire, and you’ll stop at nothing to get it. Below are things I’ve found the 6 week barrier tends to make or break you:
Starting a new job
Starting a new relationship
Learning a hobby or sport
Learning a new skill
Quitting a bad habit
There are others I’m sure you’ve experienced in your own lives as well. Note, that 6 weeks is hardly enough time for you to become an expert in something. You wont be the best and you still may be the worst, but I have found that this is the time you will need to up the ante and stay focused on your goals. Onward and upward!