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Getting in Shape and Achieving Success in Social Media

Workout gloves
You’ve decided that this year will be your year to get into shape. You’re going to hit the gym a few days per week and start eating healthier. You stop by the gym and sign up for a new membership plan with the towel service and free personal training consultation. After getting a new membership card to add to your keyring, you leave stop by your local sporting goods store to pick out your new workout clothes. You grab a few tops, a few shorts, new super comfortable socks and a pair of running sneakers. On your way out, you grab all of the new health and fitness magazines from which you’ll find your fitness plan. Next up on this journey is a stop by the grocery store to get only the healthy stuff. While you’re at it, you stop by the vitamin store because you think a multi-vitamin will do good for this “new you” and while there the store associate tells you about the benefits of protein, creatine and a few other supplements so you pick those up too.

Now that you’re back home, you put together your workout plan based on a few “have killer abs in 10 days” and “flab no more in 25.2 days” type articles in the magazines you bought. The next morning you pop out of bed and head to the gym.  A few exercises in and you’re exhausted. Remember, you haven’t worked out in forever.  You head home, take all of your new supplements and cook a healthy meal.

You maintain this routine for the next week or so with your motivation at an all-time high. Saturday comes around and you’re ready to weigh yourself. You *must* have lost a bunch of weight since you’ve gone to the gym with your new clothes, superhuman sneakers, fitness magazines, supplements and healthy eating (minus the occasional grazing of snacks). You step on the scale and you’re horrified to see you only lost a couple pounds. Disappointed you walk away and wonder why. You’ve been so focused on getting healthy so what happened?

The problem is that you were focused on the wrong things. You were focused on feeling like you were getting healthy instead of actually working on getting healthy. You got caught up in the cool clothes, supplements and quick fixes that the fitness magazines told you would work. See any correlations to social media?

We get caught up in fiddling around with the spacing between our social sharing buttons or the fastest shortcut to more followers or to having the newest gadgets that will make your content amazing. We become frustrated when we’re not in the “Top 25 Twitter Users for the First Week of January” list. We become disenchanted, blow social media off and claim that it doesn’t work.

Getting in shape (and staying in shape!) and long-term success in social media both require the same thing: focusing on what matters. The people who I know that are really in shape rely on a basic set of equipment and exercises. Every day they have to make a conscious decision to make time to workout, cook healthy and other things such as getting enough sleep, take supplements or however else they lead a healthy lifestyle. They grind on an ongoing basis with a focus on small wins (e.g. trimming a few seconds off their mile) and achieving long-term goals (e.g. lowered blood pressure).

This holds true for social media, as well. Many of the folks that are looked up to in social media have gotten there because they grind it out every day. Whether it’s writing new blog posts, doing research, engaging in social channels or any number of other tasks, they are consistent. They didn’t buy their followers, they earned them. They just didn’t get a keynote speech handed to them, they worked their tails off for years producing content and building their resume as a professional speaker.

You may be shaking your head at this point saying that you know all of this – it’s all old-news. However, every morning I see people at the gym focused on the wrong things. And every day I see people in social media who are focused on unimportant tasks or hunting for the next shortcut.

There is no magic pill.  Stop trying to take shortcuts. Understand what really matters. Stay consistent. Stay focused. Any questions?

  • Anonymous

    Hey Justin – Love this post.  I’ve thought about this correlation a lot, too (especially out on those longer runs or rides where the gears really get turning).  I think social can get us into such a state of immediate gratification that we too easily give up if we don’t see results right away.  Like with exercise, you have good days and bad days.  You have weeks that you just aren’t feeling it and then weeks when you feel totally on.  There are times you look in the mirror and see progress and other times you look and see nothing but problems.  But, if you take the long view and keep at it, you DO see positive change.   Made me think a lot about how I can better apply the focus and adaptability that I am able to maintain year over year to exercise to my personal social media efforts.  So, thanks!

  • Vinay Narwal

    Hi Justin, great article