So I stole that title, but it’s a pretty enticing statement, isn’t it?! How I’d love to sit back, and let it all work out okay in front of me! The book I stole part of the title for this article from was written by Master Fong Ha; a teacher of Chinese internal arts such as tai chi, and qi gong – and mentor to a teacher whom I love and respect dearly, and owe almost all that I’m proud of having achieved so far to – Mr Paul Chek.

One of the lessons offered by that statement is something that I think we can all benefit from, that true success comes from mastering our internal environment before trying to take on the world.

They say success is getting what you want, but happiness is wanting what you get. We can often feel more fulfilled with our progress by slowing down and developing a relationship with ourselves, and really understanding what underlying needs we are trying to address when faced with a situation; especially at this time of year! The January rush is back – we’re all feeling compelled to regain that beach body for the summer, slim down and tone-up, or to get fitter and healthier to help us stop feeling so damn tired all the time! So naturally, we follow the tradition of jumping into a gym membership and pushing ourselves harder than we ever have done before with circuit workouts, HIIT sessions and 6 day training weeks.

The intention is always there; however we experience only too often the elation of initial results, before suffering setbacks, and somewhere along the way, life gets in the way and we fall off the wagon. It happened to me 3 years in a row before I could make things stick, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way now that I can see the blessings and lessons I learned from the pain of setting my self-worth based on the shape of my body.

I believe there’s a lot of truth in Osho’s statement; “There’s no such thing as a mistake, except doing something twice when you are absolutely sure it didn’t work the first time.”. So many of us are looking to improve our health as part of new year’s resolutions, goals and ambitions, yet we can often times feel pressure to do what everyone else is doing, especially when the whole world is following the diet plans and training regimens of fitness models and athletes on the covers of magazines, assuming that ‘if it worked for them, it will work for me’.

Something I would like to offer in this article is a system that helped me to finally see changes in my body, after years of being unhappy with it.

My teacher Paul teaches the system of the 4 doctors. He suggests that the four pillar stones of health, that will aid in creating the appearance, energy, mental clarity and enthusiasm you want are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, Dr. Movement & Dr. Happiness. You can read more about the four doctors in his book ‘How to Eat, Move & Be Healthy!’, but what it comes down to is managing your life as a whole, and not leaving yourself with so much to do that you feel demoralised and give up, or run out of energy trying to do it all at once or get hurt trying!

It is through managing these four doctors that we really do have the opportunity to do nothing, and achieve everything! Perhaps not in the sense that we should stop going to the gym or trying to eat healthily, since we know the importance of diet and exercise – but in understanding the importance of rest for our bodies and loving ourselves enough to give ourselves a break when we need it – knowing when our usual gym classes are just too much for our bodies to handle this week, and to give ourselves a quiet one in and an early night – or knowing when to cut back the weights and take a yoga class, maintaining your own flexibility practice so you don’t get injured.

I found that when I stepped back and looked at the big picture, took things one step at a time and made bite size chunks into my gym programme instead of trying to do it all at once; I found things to be more sustainable, enjoyable and practical! None of us are perfect, and we all slip into bad habits now and again. I myself have found great benefit recently to going back to the basics. My goal with this article is simply to share that nothing worth having comes easily, and making it a lifestyle change just a little bit at a time makes everything so much easier to deal with, than jumping straight into exercise classes that could be too intense, and even dangerous!

If you are looking for a gym, or a fitness trainer; interview them! Find out what they offer but more importantly, how they offer it and how they come across as people. You will find things FAR easier when you have people in your circle who you trust to guide you and support you in achieving your goals. Many of us use exercise and the gym to help with our own mental state, and while I know many people FAR better equipped to help psychologically than I am, something I am incredibly proud of is the culture and gym family we have created at my place of work. The connection and support I feel with my members and clients is what makes it worth getting up at 5am, or working late into the evening week in, week out. Being able to develop a relationship with the people I coach, and see them progress and grow throughout the time I work with them is part of MY dream and legacy, and finding people that can support you and honestly guide you through the process is something that will help you stick those changes you’re working so hard for!

So, for those of you that made it to the end without getting bored of the ramble (thank you); most people over estimate what they can get done in a day, but under-estimate what they can achieve in a year. Find your reason for coming back day after day, find a friend, coach or social circle that will support you and have your back for your fitness goals, and take things one step at a time. It doesn’t have to go perfectly, but good is always much better than not at all…a piece of advice I often need to listen to as well!

– Tom