Just. Work. Harder.

There's a reason the United States collectively continues to get fatter and fatter, and more and more unhealthy, with every passing year.

And fast food, sugary sodas or larger meal portions are not to blame.

The culprit is deeper than that. It goes beyond the realm of the physical things we do or don't do with and to our bodies.We have what I call a "hard work problem." Too many people simply refuse to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone and Just. Work. Harder.

Collectively, we're lazier than ever before. We have become so averse to hard work and we try so hard to avoid mental strife that we have essentially incapacitated ourselves from being able to push through tough times, hard decisions and mental and physical challenges.

And it's not just limited to fitness and health. I see it every day in the workplace. People expect a pay raise before they agree to take on more work or a new project rather than proving they deserve the pay raise by crushing their job and going above and beyond.

I too often hear, "That's not really a part of my job" or "I've already got a lot on my plate."

All I hear is "If I do that, I won't be able to check my Instagram feed for the 73rd time today."

In business and in health and fitness, we've allowed quick-fixes, shortcuts and excuses to dominate our habits, and thus, we settle for mediocrity and, eventually, deterioration.

In the fitness world, it takes on the form of fat burners, shakes, pills, body wraps, shape-shifters, and other garbage products promising the results of the gym "without all the time spent!"

Here is the undeniable bottom line: If a product or a device promises the same results of a gym yet replaces hard work and effort with ease and time-savings, it's a scam and it will not work in the long-run. Guaranteed.

Sadly, too many people fall for these fitness versions of get-rich-quick schemes, and so these products and devices continue to exist and perpetrate the lie that you can achieve a healthier, fitter you without actually needing to put in the effort and energy that it actually requires.

And it's because we've become scared of hard work. We've gotten lazy. We expect things to just happen to and for us rather than work to make them happen. We ooze entitlement and shun exertion of any kind - physical and mental. We try to find technology to do the work for us, even if it is detrimental to our long-term health and well-being.

Listen, going on a diet is hard. Saying no to a double cheeseburger and opting for a salad instead is hard. Getting up an hour earlier to go to the gym is hard. Pushing yourself through a circuit workout is hard. Anyone who promises that it'll be easy is a liar.

But here's the thing: It's worth it! Fitness is the ultimate proving ground for becoming a tougher, stronger, more hard-working person. In my mind, the mental strength you acquire from a commitment to a fitness regime is worth more than the bigger muscles or the lost pounds.

As for time? Please. Spare me. It's there, but you have to want to seek it out rather than expect that you can live the same lifestyle you always have and magically more time will appear. Most people just don't want to make the necessary changes to make the most of it. They'd rather watch another meaningless episode of Game of Thrones.

But know this: Our bodies were made for incredible things. Physically and mentally, we are capable of so much more than we often give ourselves credit for.

But you have to JUST. WORK. HARDER.

Michael AshfordComment