Would you like to receive the latest articles, free resources and updates for everything fitness and health? Submit your details to subscribe to the list!
If you have anything you need to do.... I mean anything, including eat, sleep or communicate with other humans who share your home....then do not read this book.
Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz
I haven't enjoyed a book so much in ages.
Ok, so Orphan X is basically Jason Bourne by another name. The bad guys get bashed, the good guy gets complicated and the plot keeps thickening.
But here's the thing......
.....it's REALLY goooooood.
Every day I head over to a coffee shop to get work stuff done, but this book was too much of a test for my self discipline.
It got so that I had to make sure the book wasn't in my bag when I left the gym, otherwise the temptation for "just one more chapter" would have been too much.
This then got me thinking about other ways I can keep myself on track, even when my will power is being tested. The different ways I can "shape the path" to get the stuff done that is important to me.
Shaping the path is something I pinched from another book, Switch by Chip and Dan Heath.
They use the analogy of your sub conscious and conscious mind being like an Elephant and it's rider.
Your conscious mind is obviously all the thoughts you're aware off. Like your good intentions to get the gym more, eat more veggies and have your Christmas shopping done before December 23rd.
Your sub conscious usually has other plans, often involving short term comfort, such as hitting Netflix or the pub instead of the gym.
The sub conscious is this powerful beast of an Elephant that careers all over the place whilst your good intentions are the rider that struggles to keep it in check.
But if you create a good path for the Elephant it becomes a little easier to control....such as not having an addictive book near you when trying to work.
Here's what I currently do to shape my path.
Keep goodies out of the house
We had trick or treaters knock on our day the day before Halloween this year and you know what I had to give them?
Cos my wife and I are oversized children who can't be trusted with treats.
If they're in the house they will get destroyed.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon and in one devastating attack the biscuits or chocolates will be consumed.
If you're trying to lose weight, keep these things out of your house, because no matter what you tell yourself about them being for visitors yadda yadda, it will be you or someone you care about who scoffs them.
I make life awkward
I know there are times when you need things in your house. We have a two year old daughter and we have snack bars for her. The problem with these was that her dad was eating most of them when peckish (or bored).
They're now in a bag hanging at the back of the cupboard under the stairs in a place I hate rummaging in.
So if you have to keep something in the house, put it somewhere that is an utter ball ache to get to.
Stick gym kit out the night before
Have you ever felt super motivated during the evening?
Told yourself about all the wondrous things you're going to do tomorrow? The workouts you're gonna have, the biscuits you're gonna say no to, the recipes you're gonna cook.
I'll have every Rocky montage running through my head, about how I'm ready to smash training in the morning......then morning comes and all I feel like smashing is the alarm clock.
Morning Niall will look for a way out.
If gym kit is still in the wardrobe I'll find I don't have time/don't want to wake the family up so I'll best start again tomorrow.
So morning Niall gets out thought by evening Niall who has the kit ready, which afternoon Niall is grateful for as he really wants to train.
(Ok, that's enough third person talk...I think I'd better move on pretty swiftly).
Foam roller in the front room
Yep, that gets hidden by the side of the sofa. Quick and easy to grab to do a minute or two of soft tissue work when crashed in front of the goggle box.
Super shake evening prep - this one is down to Androulla.
We've got one of those Nutra Bullet blenders. So we can pack all the dry ingredients, veg, fruit and various wonderous powders into the cup each night.
This means in the morning all that's required of me is to add some liquid and blend.
Again pre empting my lazy self who would much rather duck out of morning veg and protein hit, even though I appreciate how beneficial it is.
Buy training programs from people I respect/are smarter than me
This may sound a little odd as people pay me to write their workouts. But buying a training program is a smart move.
First, I can't argue with myself.
I can't decide that when I wrote split squats, I actually meant deadlifts, and surely those 6 sets were only meant to be 4.
There's no blagging.
Our default setting is to do the things we like all the time...the reason we like is that we're good at them. The stuff we're bad at we avoid even though that's the stuff we need to work on.
I've been through programs by Eric Cressey (www.Ericcressey.com) and Dean Somerset (www.deansomerset.com) and can highly recommend their products - and no I don't get anything for saying that, I'm trying to help you out here.
A bottle of water always near by
I know that I'll drink less water at the weekends than during the week as I always have a water bottle Monday-Friday.
This makes it easy to take a swig but it also lets me see how much I've actually drunk. If intake has been too low I can see that and up my intake for the rest of the day.
At weekends I don't tend to notice until my wee starts glowing in the dark.
So, going forwards I'm going to bring a water bottle into my weekend life.
The possibilities for shaping your path are huge. You can just start by being aware of the areas that you struggle with, then make a plan to make it easier for you to make the right choices.