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The Breaking Point

As fall begins to creep upon us, I can’t help but think how quickly the days have flown by. It seems the more you experience, the faster life seems to come and go, part of shaping who we are, how we view things, and who we’ll become — as we pursue our futures.

While assessing our pursuits, and the related risks and rewards they’ll bring, it always boils down to our choices. Regardless of the situation you’re currently in, your background, financial status, health ailments, life obstacles, etc., the honest truth is that only we, as individuals, have the power to choose our own direction.

Though external forces have the power to influence you positively (providing guidance) or negatively (providing a crutch or an excuse), only individually do we have the power to gain control. Relying on ourselves to take responsibility, and put in the work, in order to achieve something truly worthy of our time more than often elicits a very positive outcome. Hunter Thompson said it best: “anything that’s worth doing, is worth doing right.”

We all have choices to make regarding our health at every part of our day — what we eat, if we drink enough water, how much sleep we get, and whether or not we’ll exercise. Everyone wants to be healthy, fit and happy, but how far are most people willing to go to achieve their desires? In other words, how risky will somebody be with their efforts via time, money and work, to reap the highly desired rewards way down the road?

This is where the breaking point comes in.

The breaking point is the exact point somebody reaches where they have the most important, crucial and impactful decision to make. Do they keep going, or do they stop? This is the moment that occurs only because something is hard and challenging. If things were always easy to obtain, the breaking point wouldn’t exist.

Relating to health and fitness (and more specifically, with my clients), I have been able to almost pinpoint the “breaking point” that ultimately determines one’s chances of long-term success. My observational opinion: the breaking point shows up around the 30-day mark.

Diet and exercise are two lifestyle factors that you have the power to actively take initiative in and responsibility for. Making a dedicated effort to improve both of them is tough. Almost all new clients I see are motivated, and accept that their routines will be challenging. They took the first crucial step by deciding to change their lives for the better.

Here’s where the breaking point comes in. Roughly 30 days later, they’ve been diligently working hard — waking up early, putting in time, effort and financial commitments — and surely they’ve garnered at least a bit of improvement in a few aspects of their lives because of this. Then comes the brutal truth: “This s#@% is hard!” Reality sets in, and they begin to reassess their progress and efforts: “That was hard, and it will still be hard next month. And the next.

They’re now left with a choice — the defining moment of grit and determination. Do they continue, accepting that both dedication and commitment will pay off even more in the future — as uncomfortable or bumpy as the road may be — or do they give their self a pat on the back for their efforts and move on to something else? After all, giving up doesn’t make them a bad person by any stretch (though it does make it more clear that others working their butts off probably “want it” far more). In reality, most of us walk away after spending a bit of time doing something new for two reasons:

  1. We achieved a short-term “goal” (unsustainable for the long-term; like losing 10 lbs for Jenny’s wedding by exercising four hours a day and not eating for an entire month)
  2. Because it’s hard.

This is the breaking point. Continuing can set you apart from the pack, and elicit sustainable and impactful results typically unattainable by the majority of the population who succumb — but doing so will require self-discipline and a great deal of dedication.

How badly do you want something and how far are you willing to go to get it? Undoubtedly, the breaking point has appeared in many areas and countless situations in each of our lives — not just with health and fitness. The common denominators for long-term success have proven to be consistency, perseverance, positive attitude, and determination. We’re all capable of achieving new goals and accomplishing some pretty powerful stuff if we’re willing to keep growing, as uncomfortable as it may be at times.

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