Why a Couch Potato Will Stay a Couch Potato without a Kick in the Butt

Couch potato dog

(This is part 2 of a post I wrote last time called Law of Momentum: Pivotal for Success)


On Monday’s post I talked to you about the importance of momentum when it comes to achieving success. It’s a great feeling when you have momentum on your side because things just get easier for you.

However momentum can work against you. Too many bad negative habits kept too long can sneak up on you. Remember the law of inertia? The first part says an object at rest tends to stay at rest. That’s bad like a paper cut.

Has this happened to you? You’ve let bad habits compound and next thing you know you’re unrecognizable to yourself or you’ve put yourself in a miserable life situation. You feel you attract bad luck.  You blame everyone but you. Guess what? It’s the law of momentum working on your bad habits!

That’s what happened to me for most of 2010 up till October. It started with big meals. I didn’t control my super bad sweet tooth (hello ice cream). Then got lazy to work out. It led to feeding my brain with uninspiring, useless information online and on TV. It was getting me nowhere in life.

Thankfully I woke up. I believe anyone who’s on a downward spiral but gets out of it has that moment where something clicks. I had to stop this negative momentum. If I didn’t, I’d be fatter now, uninspired to make my life more meaningful and I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now…not dead but just not blogging.

Then you read about my five month physical transformation last time. Well what happened since then? That’s what I’m going to share. It’s not pretty.

After my last half marathon on Feb 12, 2010 I left a few days later to go to Taipei, Taiwan to visit my (then girlfriend) now fiance (thank you thank you). I decided that after 5 months of intense training and running two half marathons my body could use a small rest.

What I love about going back to Taipei (my parents are from there) is the food!  So I would be eating a lot. Though I was a bit worried about putting some weight back, I wasn’t going to hold back on eating. It was Benny vs Food.

But since my fiance was going to the gym three times a week, I thought would go along and workout too. At least burn some calories and stay in some shape. Good plan.

It didn’t happen as I planned. It’s one thing to go without working out for two weeks but two months put me back to before I started training last October. Goodbye momentum.

I tried at the beginning. I went once one week, twice a couple weeks later. Then we’d be too busy to go. On days I wanted to go, she didn’t feel well so I skipped too. Then towards the end of March I was really working on starting this blog so I would easily stay up till 2 or 3 am. Goodbye morning exercise.

It’s okay I thought. I’d come back home in April and start running again. I’d pick it up no problem.

Instead since I had been at rest it was easy to stay at rest. I ran once the first week but the other mornings I found myself working on this blog before having to work. In about 30 or so days since I’ve been back, I’ve been running 5 times. I’ve had plenty of chances. Before I ran 5 days a week no problem. It was second nature.

I lost that momentum I had before. It was hard to get started again. My fitness level went back to running not even 30 minutes and I was done. I was thinking “How in the world did I run two hours straight just two months ago?”

What You Should Learn from My Failure

If you’re working towards a goal, whether it’s life, business or in health, and things are going well, you’re on the up and up, and have got a rhythm, don’t stop and start too often. A car on the freeway just needs a little pressure on the gas pedal to keep going 80 mph. If you keep slowing down, speeding up, slowing down, speeding up, not only does it take much more gas but it’ll take longer to get to where you want.

If I want to run a half marathon now, I’d have to go through at least eight weeks of training to run the way I ran last time. If I had been conditioning 2-3 times a week, it’d take less time to be ready. I also would be into the habit of still exercising. I wouldn’t have to try so hard just to get my lazy butt outside.

I want you to learn from my mistakes. I’m here to learn from it as well.

Good habits or bad habits will compound over time. What type of momentum do you want in your life?

As for now my goal is clear here. I’m building momentum for my online presence. I want to reach more people who do not to lead a boring, safe life but a life of excitement, passion and just overall kick ass. I wanna help. I know momentum is not on my side yet but I’ve learned from my past failures and know the importance of stacking positive habits. Slow and steady wins the race.

And I’m back into running but starting from the beginning again.

Now I ask you….

-What are you working on right now to try and build momentum?

-Have you had an experience like me when you were on a roll but stopped and it was so hard to get started again?

Please share either way. I’ve shared my failures already so don’t be shy.

Please retweet and share!


photo by DBCoop77
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  • I had to come over and comment on this one since I just now got around to reading part 1.

    Darn it Benny, you lost the momentum and went right back to where you started. Dang it!!!

    Okay confession time! I don’t have any bad habits. I was always overweight growing up. When I got engaged to be married when I was 26, I lost 30 pounds. I’ve kept it off ever since accept when I went into a deep depression twice in my life. I put the weight back on but it didn’t stay there. Once I worked through my issues, I dropped the weight again. I told myself that I just don’t want to be overweight plus I want to remain healthy because of my family history of cancer. That’s what keeps my momentum going so I guess we all have to have something to work toward.

    Glad to hear you are back on a roll again. I have no doubt you will make it this time as well.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Benny

      Thanks for sharing Adrienne! Yeah when I was thinking about writing about momentum, my five months of running came to mind. Then there’s the opposite side of it and I thought “When was there a time when it worked against me? Oh yeah just recently!!”

      Always enjoy seeing your smiling face and reading your wonderful comments here!

  • So, so true, and something I’ve realized lately as age increases and metabolism slows. I’ve been a starter, stopper in my exercise life for a while, and I’ve seen that I can’t do that anymore or I’ll be unhealthy. But it’s great you tie this to your career as well. It reminds of Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

    • Benny

      I have been a starter and stopper too with exercise for all my life. We know it’s better to be consistent but it’s hard to keep it that way. As for career I’m sure momentum has been important in your freelance career. You started small but kept working and writing and now you’re in Sydney as a freelance writer. That’s many people’s dreams. 🙂

      Thanks Lauren for leaving a comment. Hope you’ll come by and share often!

  • The thing that I’m working on right now is gaining massive weight and mass in one month.

    I think why most people fail at maintaining momentum is that…. they’re not seeing results. So in order to gain real momentum you have to see at least a tiny gain.

    Another is that they’re not tracking. Hardcore tracking is what is needed and with that comes a high amount of discipline and will. 🙂

    p.s. Love the line – ” Slow and steady wins the race.” 😀

    • Benny

      You’re right Marco! People fail cause they don’t see physical results. Sometimes it takes longer to see physical results. Even little bit will provide motivation.

      What are you doing to gain weight and mass? So you must be eating a lot and often. How has it gone so far?

      • Really eating a lot. I need to consume at least 160g of protein a day. I’m actually tracking my journey there here http://bit.ly/l7lMBD

        • Benny

          Wow that’s a lot. Good man! Saw your workout. Keep it up!

  • Great post. My blog is about Rejection Therapy-risk rejection to create more possibilities.
    Problem is that I stopped for a few days and then major life changing events happened.
    So it really affected my inspiration, motivation, etc. It’s been a bit tough to build the momentum again but I am starting small and working my way back up again.

    So many good points here. I like the car metaphor. If you’re always going along 80mph, you have the momentum daily.

    • Benny

      Hey Matt. I understand about inspiration and motivation. I’m sure anyone who blogs thinks about just stopping many times. I noticed that you’ve been trying to keep writing daily. If you’re on a rhythm and then stop for a few days sometimes it’s hard to get started. But then also sometimes a few days off gets you rejuvenated.

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Hope you’ll come back often.

  • Benny,

    Great Post! I am too sleepy to comment but here it goes, had the same slump as yours. It happened 3 months ago when I did not graduate this semester due to a INCOMPLETE standing in one of my VERY IMPORTANT SUBJECTS.

    I really felt deep sad feeling of disappointment, I thought I had worked my but off but ended up failing, this feeling of being overworked made me decide to take a break for a while. No business, No studying, No working out,No cleaning my room and No taking care of my physical and mental self.

    I was a complete mess but Yes, a time came I realized what kind of hole I dug into. So I decided to change for the better.

    Comment to you soon again!

  • Yo Benny, Congrats on getting engaged…Also, don’t sweat not being were you were when you were running the 1/s marathons…Being healthy is a lifestyle that is should last over the course of your life, not a couple months. You’re kicking ass so I have no doubt you’ll be right back pounding the pavement.

    As for me, getting a blog rolling with momentum is hard work. It’s fun though. The other thing I’m doing is building momentum to quit the 8-5 grind.

    Keep it up dude!

    • Benny

      Thanks Brad! I was wondering if anyone would mention it. You’re the first so thanks! Thanks for the encouragement. I just remember how awesome and now I’ve got this gut coming back. Hahaha. So that’s a problem. I’m getting back into it though now.

      I’m with you Brad. I’m building momentum too to quit the grind as well. Hopefully this is a medium where I can do that. I hope you’ll find your way out soon! Let me know if I can help in anyway man.

  • Benny! Thought I’d drop by and check out this new and exciting place 😉

    Great read amigo, you’ve experienced a setback, and been pushed back down the road a little bit. It sucks. I’ve run a half-marathon last year, and as a result of the training, my running levels were really getting somewhere. Now, since I haven’t run for a while, I wouldn’t be anywhere near the required levels to run a half-marathon. Again, it sucks.

    Momentum is a funny thing, it can be derailed at the first big obstacle, no matter how fast you’re going. The solution? Just keep going. Even if you take a hit, and you probably will at some point, just keep going. Keep charging down the rails, regardless of what’s lying in wait for you.

    You only stop when you let yourself stop 🙂

    • Benny

      Hi Stuart! Thanks for coming by!

      I have a friend who ran a half marathon with me last time and said she tries now to run at least once a week and do one running event a month. All just to keep the momentum going. It’s very smart of her cause it would be so easy to talk a month or two off, like me.

      Thanks for sharing your insight. Excellent points. I just gotta keep going if I really want it bad, no matter the bumps.

  • Hey Benny,

    This post is truly awesome! I love how you have been so honest about your experiences. It’s not easy for us to admit our mistakes, but it’s an important thing we have to do as we get to know ourselves.

    One of my friends who has been a fitness fanatic for the last 25 years has that philosophy – “Just keep going”. He’s 43 and he’s got the best physique by far of anyone I know. But it’s so true, it makes all the difference. As someone who loves fitness and weight training I can completely relate to what you’re saying. I love the gym and when I’m “on it” I feel like I can’t live without it, but when I stop going for a week or two it’s hard to go back.

    It really is about moving forward and progressing all the time, even if at points the progress is slow. “Slow progress is better than no progress.” (Just thought of that now! lol)

    But in all serious I love this post and how you took your own experiences and critically analysed them, always makes for a damn good post!

    PS Progress is important, but we all need a rest now and again! 😉

    • Benny

      Robert! I saw on Twitter you asked if “Slow progress is better than no progress.” It’s a great like! I do like that. It is better to make progress even if it’s slow than sit and do nothing.

      You’re right about the gym. There’s times when nothing will get in your way of going. Then if you’ve taken a week or two off, there are sometimes where you’ll have nothing to do for the day but you still won’t feel like going.

      We do need rest but just not TOO long like I did. 🙂 Thanks so much for the feedback! Much appreciated!!

  • Hey Ben-

    I somewhat disagree here.

    I do agree that keeping momentum, does result in attaining your goal. However, I have found that sporadically stopping all momentum, focusing on something else, and coming back to that goal leads me to further success. Why? Because I believe we need to re-energize our batteries.

    Now, when I say stop all momentum towards one goal, what I mean is to shift that energy towards a different goal.

    Often people take my thought on stopping all momentum on a goal as an excuse to stop “moving” in any direction. That’s not what I mean at all.

    Anyways, its not that I think you are wrong. I just don’t think continued momentum towards one goal will always lead to the best results.

    David Damron
    Life Excurison

    • Benny

      Great point David. When you say stop momentum how long are you talking about? I understand life isn’t just about focusing on one goal at a time at the expense of all other goals. However you can have too many goals too at one time.

      For my goals I don’t want to stop moving but just want to make sure I’m doing something consistently towards that goal.

      Thanks for sharing!

  • I know all about bad eating habits and the laziness that results from it! Although I can’t really say it’s a sweet tooth for me. I just love food. But I try to stay pretty active to try and work that off.

    Simple laws of physics. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and vice versa.

    • Benny

      Thanks Eugene. I just left a comment over at your blog. It’s easy to stay lazy and do nothing. Much harder to get up and workout for sure!

  • Benny;

    First of all, I enjoyed your posts – both 1 and 2.

    There have been plenty of times where I have lost momentum; whether it is working out or other things in my life. Sometimes, I do make great comebacks but sometimes, things don’t click (O:

    Staying positive and focused helps but sometimes I am a total couch potato!

    Thanks for the post brother.
    You rock!

    • Benny

      Yeah so I just wanted to make you aware if you’re building momentum on something good, don’t stop it! Make sure you keep working on it consistently so you’re making progress. Thanks for the comment Adam!

      • Definitely Benny! This time around I am going to keep riding on the momentum (O:

        Appreciate it!

  • Howdy Benny,

    Thanks for your post. I’m going slow and steady with the build out of the Yakezie Network to be 100 PF and lifestyle bloggers strong. My main goal is to actually not give up and get people motivated to interact and help each other.

    I’m thinking of going a much faster and bigger route, but I’m afraid it will consume me, partly b/c I know it will succeed. Now that is kind of scary.

    Sam

    • Benny

      I like what you’re doing over there Sam. Is Yakezie your full time job? I noticed you also have your Financial Samurai blog too. That’s great it sounds like you have a good roadmap of what you need to do for it to succeed. I’ll stop by more often and share in the discussion over there.

      Thanks for coming by here Sam!

  • Benny,
    LOL i loved this post because i was feeling really self conscience about my work out routine among other things. Atleast now i feel like i’m in good company. (not that i’m happy by your failure. i just feel more human, not like a failure)

    Since going full force on my blog and sleeping mask business and homeschooling and traveling as a semi nomadic family i totally let my work out routine go.
    I used to be at the gym 5 out of 6 days kick boxing. Now i run up a flight of stairs and i’m WINDED?
    Every day i keep putting it off and trying to build momentum in other areas. Kick boxing used to be my daily passion. I better get my momentum back because the more time passes the easier it gets to put it off indefinitely.

    • Benny

      The longer you put it off the harder it is to get going again. Not only with exercise but anything that we are pursuing. It’s definitely smart to build momentum in other areas but we should neglect other areas that are important to us…like exercise!

      Kickboxing is an amazing workout! Didn’t get boring when I used to do it.

      I used to run an hour and it felt like a warm up!! Now it’s 30 mins and I’m exhausted!

      Glad you enjoyed it and always appreciate your insights!!

  • Great stuff, Benny! I’m with you on this one, especially as it applies to the gym. The hardest part of doing anything is starting. Take one small step a day in the right direction and in no time at all you’ll have an awesome habit. 🙂

    • Benny

      Stella! Great to see you back online. Hope your finals went well. What’s next now for you this summer? Traveling?

  • whoaaaaa congrats on the engagement!

    Totally agree with this post. Momentum can be so crucial to succeeding at anything you do in life. When I started college, I only weighed 120 lbs and basically looked like a stick.

    I started lifting weights in college, but the activation energy to overcome the initial hump was so difficult. Besides the physical pain which seemed like masochistic torture, I was getting a psychological beatdown because everyone else looked huge, and I was be standing in the corner lifting the same weights as the girls.

    But as I persisted, the weights got heavier. I began to notice physical changes. People around me started to notice. And that just motivated me to keep going and going. This momentum went on for a few years, up to the point where I was the go to guy for workout advice within my group of peers.

    I’ve since given up on big muscles (as you can see from my pictures) but I’m a firm believer that good habits and consistency can go a long way.

    • Benny

      Thanks Paul! I wanted to throw that in there to see if anyone would comment on it. 🙂

      120 is light!! Wow. That’s awesome you ended up being the go to guy for advice. It definitely must have been tough at the beginning being really self conscious. Glad you stuck through it and got confidence.

      What about now? What do you weigh? Are you one of those guys that can eat anything and still be skinny?

  • I weigh about 160 now? I still eat a lot, but it was definitely easier to stay fit 5 years ago.

  • Congrats on the engagement Benny!

    As for me, what I am trying to build momentum on is putting all of my grand ideas into action! I have so many “grand schemes” it is a matter of finally putting some in place.

    Thanks for the motivational piece.

    • Benny

      Thanks Caleb! That’s great you have all these ideas in mind. I agree that ideas are easy it’s putting them into action that takes the most work. I have no doubt you will and will thrive and reach your goals! Let me know if I can be of any assistance!

      • Thanks Benny! I got some things in work and I’ll be sure to see if you’re up for be involved in them. 🙂

        • Benny

          Awesome Caleb! I know you’ve got some great ideas brewing. 🙂

  • Hey, Benny

    Just read part one and headed to part two. Your story about momentum is so true. It’s not always easy to refocus once we lose our momentum, but I’m glad you started up again.

    Unfortunately, I too lost my momentum recently in blogging and social networking when both my laptops broke down. It affected other aspects of my work too, which was downright frustrating. Sometimes, however, things just happen. And we lose our momentum due to situations beyond our control.

    Getting back up was difficult for me once things returned to normal. Like you, I’m still not at the pace I was before, but hope to get there soon. What I learned through the whole experience was preparation. Distractions and problems will come, but preparing ahead helps us get back on track more quickly. Whether that’s backing up a computer or getting extra help.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Benny

      Allyson, sorry to hear you got sidetracked. Things happen and it’s part of the road to success. There is no success without failure. Actually tomorrow I’ll put a post up about failure. You’ll enjoy it. 🙂

      It is hard if we’re starting something and then stop. I know if I stopped this blog for a month, I’d lose so many readers and it’s be hard to get into that groove of writing, commenting, social networking and everything that comes with blogging.

      Glad to read you’ve learned from those small road bumps and you’re back on track! Keep it going and build up that momentum! 🙂

  • It is true that laziness is like a disease, you really have to attack it and once it sets in it is hard to get rid of. I know several people who worked hard but when they were laid off they became the opposite and were literally drained of all passion, energy able to do nothing but sit and pout all day and find no drive to look for more work or even build new skills online or through classes.

    • Benny

      Hey Justin! Enjoy you what you’ve got going on over there.

      It is like a disease and if you’re around lazy people all the time, they just might rub off on you. Unless you see them and are so determined to not be like that it makes you work harder.

      It’s a shame those people who were laid off don’t do something productive with their free time now. They could definitely learn new skills or look for work. You’re right that complaining and pouting isn’t going to make it any better.

      Thanks SO much for commenting Justin!

  • Great post on momentum. Sometimes I get so into driving business or working on a project that I let everything else go. I will work thirty hours in a weekend and turn around and start a new week. Meanwhile the house starts to fall down around me, my desk starts to grow a garden of coffee cups and everyone around me feels like I have tuned out… Which I have. I regularly exercise in the morning, but I have decided to do some things for myself to slow me down. Yoga.. I set up a yoga studio in my conference room… I started sketching out art pieces that I have written down not to forget, but haven’t gotten to in a year. I started working on my house – which I’ve lived in for a year and have nothing on the walls or styled in any way… Because I am so driven to succeed I don’t step away from it to think or to reflect. I think at some time it would be good for me to grow some moss.. be still and silence my brain.

    • Benny

      Hey Raquel!

      I do the same. With my blog, networking and commenting alone I get so caught up in that I’ve had clean laundry I haven’t folded in a week. My free time is spent on the computer, which I enjoy but there needs to be balance.

      I’m so glad to hear you’re driven and will work hard at what you want to do but should definitely make sure to make your life is balanced. Yoga sounds like a great way to slow down. Also be still and silencing your brain will help recharge you. We have great energy to do thing but we do need to recharge from time to time.

      Thanks for commenting!! Hope you got some helpful feedback on your website!
      I love your line “grow a garden of coffee cups”. So clever.

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  • Most definitely, I am there right now with lack of momentum. I get side tracked easily with everything I try to do in life.

    I have been trying hard to make some good money online and then once I get on a roll, something else comes up that needs my attention for weeks or even months and then I have to start all over again, which I am trying to do right now.

    I also want to lose weight, I too have quite a bit to lose and although I am not a couch potato, I just don’t exercise because quite honestly I get sick, literally..lol. But, now that the hot weather is here, I need to try harder to get to the pool and swim some laps. I did that both yesterday and the day before, I just need to figure out how to get there more often and not think of it as a chore.

    I appreciate your post.

    Linda

    • Benny

      Hi Linda. I believe this is your first comment here. Thank you for taking the time!

      A few years ago i did some PPC and affiliate marketing but stopped after a couple months. I was making money but spending it on adwords. So I gave up. I think back if I just kept going how far ahead I’d be. Even if just doing 30 minutes a day.

      Just keep in mind to do a little each day. Even if you’re making mistakes at least you’re trying and you know to learn from it and do it better next time.

      Exercise is the same way. it’s hard to lose weight cause it takes time. I wish it was just a week! Congrats on getting started by going to the pool. Don’t feel like at first you need to go 5-6 days a week. You will burn yourself out. Try and go 3 days a week first. Then add another day a couple weeks later. Also try and go swimming the same time. If you prefer the morning, go in the morning every time. If you can actually, do your exercise first thing in the morning. That way you don’t have to worry about trying to fit it into your busy day. I know that has helped me. I do it in the morning or I know it will be much harder to find time to exercise.

  • Great post and very true. I was talking to a coworker a few weeks ago saying I felt like ‘i was coming out of a fog’ before I really started to get aggressive about my personal finance situation last fall I was just kind of stuck for almost two years. I didn’t keep in contact with friends, I gained weight (GAH! As a girl that’s hard to admit) I lost control of my money and yeah watched wayyyyy too much tv.

    Pretty mmuch all of that’s changed and I feel like I’m living life to the fullest again (well almost) Love it 🙂

    • Benny

      Hi Andrea!

      I’m glad to hear you’ve stepped out of that fog. Once you start getting lazy, keep doing the same bad habits over and over, it’s hard to get out of that. I’m glad you had your wake up call and are making positive changes!

      I love to watch TV but my problem was that I watched toooo much as well! Now I keep it off unless I’m not doing any work. It’s not worth the distraction if I want to make my life better.

      Thanks so much for commenting!

  • Torry

    I am a huge couch potato. I know it and it embarrasses me. I have a toddler and a 10 month old. We live in a really bad neighborhood which makes me not even go outside. I only leave the house for about an hour 1ce a week. How could I do more without going outside? I also suffer from depression and anxiety. Truly, I’m just afraid to go outside. With all the bad things going on in the world, it just terrifies me. I spend too much time watching tv with the kids. We do activities like coloring and I teach my toddler words and stuff. Do you have any suggestions for me???