So, Facebook recently showed me a picture of myself from 9 years ago. Instead of a rush of pleasant nostalgia, I felt mild regret. It was hard to ignore the sharper jawline of the nine years’ younger version of myself. The definition in my physique that I once took for granted was now something I stared at in amazement and disbelief that I once had a body of that aesthetic caliber.
We all want to get in shape, and we want it now. But here’s the thing: my regret is probably not unique. Most people living in the age of Instagram are probably more conscious of their physical appearance now than ever. However, that obsession doesn’t seem to scale with the effort to stay fit. Most people want to get fit quickly and yesterday. As a result, a lot of fitness disciplines have become popular. Whether the routine is yoga, HIIT, cycle classes, or mixed martial arts, everyone is now in a frenzy to find that silver bullet for that body they’ve always fantasized about. Despite the advent of these diverse fitness disciplines, people are still obese or dissatisfied with the results. So people find themselves changing fitness denomination with increasing frequency. But, the problem has nothing to do with the fitness routine, but rather with two factors that hinder the progress we desire.
We live in an advanced society. These days, if you are determined, you can easily live for a whole week on your couch. You can order food from your phone, get your mail delivered to your doorstep, order whatever you need online, communicate with a friend without having to see them in person, etc. We live in a country with an unexpected curse. The curse of progress. Our society is so organized and technologically endowed that moving a major muscle is becoming an optional experience. Most of us in the United States live a sedentary life as a result of an advanced society. So, because we’ve eliminated all the reasons for physically exerting ourselves, we find it hard to justify getting up to participate in any physical activity purely for the purpose of staying fit. This lack of necessity for physical exertion has drained the discipline that should sustain us in any fitness routine we adopt. And unfortunately, our caloric intake hasn’t adjusted to the decrease in physical activity.
We lack discipline. What many people don’t seem to realize is that getting in shape is a process. You don’t get a six-pack because you did a thousand crunches yesterday. You get a six-pack through consistent effort to physically exert yourself every day. This routine requires a decent amount of discipline. Without this discipline, we find it easier to make excuses for not getting up to run that 3 miles or go to that yoga class. We interrupt and set back our progress each time we excuse ourselves from maintaining focus on our fitness goals. Fighting the tendency to remain at rest is the crux of our fitness journey in the United States and most of the first-world nations.
We might have a solution. Unless you’ve found a way to make fitness a passion of yours, you’re probably like the rest of us who do it purely for functional reasons. Just like taking your vitamin pills or eating your broccoli, you grudgingly hit the gym and endure the often exhausting and painful experience in hopes of looking at your reflection with a sense of satisfaction only vanity can approve of. So the real trick is to rewire your brain to make a habit of it. In other words, artificially generate the discipline needed to sustain this journey to a fit body. This is where our Lazy Jar app comes in handy. The premise of the app is based on negative reinforcement. Rather than rewarding the user for doing what’s expected of them, we penalize them for forgoing their fitness responsibilities. Over the course of 6 months, we will try to “encourage” the user to make a real effort to work out daily. Now given its radical approach, this app wouldn’t be for everyone, but it is definitely for anyone who recognizes they have a problem with disciple and would genuinely like to fix it.