You go to the gym, get on the treadmill and set it to a 4.0 speed and 5% incline for 60 minutes. As you trudge away you watch the television in front of you, text on your phone, and talk to your girlfriend who is walking next to you. Your hour is up, and right before you head out, you make your way over to the chin-up bar to do four sets of 15 on the hanging leg raises. Your routine is predictable—the same as yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. Then, on your way home you stop to grab some sushi; the usual tuna cucumber roll and an order of steamed shrimp with vegetables, both sans the rice and sauce.

There’s no denying that you look great in your clothes, and everyone always compliments you on how lean you look. But when you get home and undress to take a shower, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. You look down at your body and something just doesn’t seem quite right—no shape, no tightness, and all you see is droopiness and fat. Ugh what gives? I mean, you work out every day so why are you still “droopy and fat”? Frustrated and upset, you decide to go to bed, and then you wake up in the morning and start your day…only to end up at the gym later that evening repeating the exact same thing you did yesterday.

So, why doesn’t your body look the way you want it to? Well, there are two factors to look at in this scenario. First, chances are your body is bored. You are putting it through the same thing day in and day out, and then wondering why it isn’t changing. Sure, you go to the gym and work out every day, you eat right, and you do (almost) everything that you read about in the magazines and online that you are supposed to do; but you still can’t figure out why you don’t look tight and toned.

Here’s the problem: you aren’t challenging your body with weights, and you’re not eating carbs. Yes, I said it! Your body is a machine, and that machine needs to be worked and fed to function optimally. Now, I am not saying that you have to start curling 40-pounders tomorrow, or even start squatting 2 plates a side by next week, but you do need to push your muscles beyond your current jaunt on the treadmill routine if you want to start seeing shape which will, in turn, give you the tight and toned look you’re after. Do not be afraid to trade your daily treadmill routine for weights. Contrary to popular belief, you will not end up with “manly” muscles. The fact is, building muscle is hard—I work my butt off for months on end just to put on a few pounds of muscle. Moreover, you have to ensure you are fueling your machine (body) properly so that it runs optimally. Cutting out carbs completely is not going to get you the body you want. Carbs, healthy fats, water, and high-quality supplements are all part of the puzzle!

So what’s the second part of the scenario, you ask? Well, you could be setting yourself up for self-sabotage simply by being too hard on yourself. You have feelings, a mind, and a heart. Ask yourself this: Would you allow someone to tell your best friend or daughter that they are droopy or fat? Chances are, you wouldn’t. So why do you throw punches at yourself? Be kind to yourself! When you give yourself a pat on the back or even just a little encouragement, it actually feeds you emotionally, and reinforces positive behavior. How can you break such habits? Change your thoughts! When you feel yourself teetering on that negativity, quickly remind yourself of something you are doing well or something you are thankful for. Keep doing that until the negative thoughts are few and far between, and eventually you will drain all the fuel out of those suckers to the point where they aren’t coming back!

There are about seven weeks left until 2015, and the time to change things is NOW! Start from the inside and make a game plan for success. Mix things up, try new things, and remember to be kind to yourself throughout the process. These three steps will get you closer to your goal and to happiness. You are only as happy and content as you to choose to be, and as for that body…you only have one, so take exceptional care of it because you deserve it.

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