We talk a lot here at Spartan about being resilient and ready for anything. We want you to pull yourself off the couch and join the community, to push yourself and your limits and shape your mind and body so you can live a Spartan lifestyle. But how exactly do you start? We asked Spartan CEO and founder Joe De Sena and two veteran Spartan trainers for 10 tips on how to retrain your mind and think like a Spartan in just 14 days.
Think Like a Spartan #1: Start Small
There’s simply no easy way to jump right into making a lifestyle change, so be realistic. Spartan trainer Sam Stauffer says it’s easiest to make changes in your diet, your workout routines, and your mindset by setting attainable goals. Start your day with a tall glass of water. If you want to start a running routine, try long walks first. Take some time away from your computer every day to take 10 deep breaths, then you can work your way up to meditation.
Think Like a Spartan #2: Make a Commitment
It doesn’t matter what you want to start with, says De Sena, but get in the habit of committing to a goal and accomplishing it. Not only will you achieve what you initially set out to do—even it’s reading a book or managing 25 burpees in the morning before work—you’ll develop confidence and self-belief. Once you’re feeling good, you can set more challenging or even uncomfortable goals for yourself, and that triggers action and change.
Think Like a Spartan #3: Get Up Early
Imagine if you had one more hour a day just to clear your head and get some of those nagging tasks out of the way. Spartan trainer Rich Borgatti says if you can wake up a little earlier every morning, you can carve that time out—even if it’s just 30 minutes. That may mean turning off electronics at night and going to bed earlier, but think about how much stress you could release if you could just clear your head first thing in the morning.
Think Like a Spartan #4: Manage Your Time
We’re all given the same 24 hours in a day. But the key, De Sena says, is how you manage them. Can you organize your day so there’s time for all the things you need—exercise, emails, time with the kids, time with your partner, time for yourself? The sooner you can sit down and outline the priorities for your day and commit to a realistic timetable for each expectation, the less time you’re going to waste.
Think Like a Spartan #5: Do The Hard Thing First
There’s no worse feeling than the guilt of putting off that workout or journaling all day, or not getting around to it at all. Make time to get those things done as early as possible, Borgatti says, and that will free you up for the rest of the day to accomplish what you need both in work and life.
Think Like a Spartan #6: Appreciate Your Nutrition
You can’t make wholesale changes to your diet today, but you can take some steps to eat better, Stauffer says. Start simple by buying organic vegetables and greens as well as better cuts of meat. It might cost more at the cash register, but it’s worth it in the end when you live a longer, healthier life.
Think Like a Spartan #7: Define Average
It’s always critical to understand your strengths and weaknesses, but you’re hurting yourself if you’re willing to settle. De Sena advises that if you’re given a challenge you don’t think you can complete—maybe it’s at work, maybe it’s on the Spartan course—consider what the average person might do and where he or she might stop. Then consider if you’re willing to call yourself average.
Think Like a Spartan #8: Delay Your Gratification
You just finished a taxing workout at the gym—don’t waste it. Too many people feel they need to reward themselves with a post-workout burger or a treat, and Stauffer says that’s the wrong way to go about it. If you can postpone the reward until later in the day (or even skip it altogether), you’ll teach yourself to appreciate completing the challenge, instead of the reward.
Think Like a Spartan #9: Write It Down
There are too many ideas and anxieties in our heads not to get it out on paper. Borgatti says that he started journaling after the arrival of his second child just so he could get all of his many obligations on paper and set realistic expectations. Start with freeform writing and you might develop a structure that works for you and helps you be the most effective person you can be.
Think Like a Spartan #10: Know Your Why
Take a second to think about why you’re getting out of bed in the morning. Why you’re going to work. Why you’re taking time for your kids. If you can identify an end goal and what you hope to accomplish with all of the activities you take on in life, De Sena says, understanding what motivates you becomes much easier. And once you know what you’re aiming for in life, you can tailor your life—and how you spend your time—to reaching those goals, and then setting more.