If the average time we all spend looking at Instagram each day is 29 minutes, about 28 of those minutes is spent on aspirational dreaming.
Whether the J-Lo effect, a Kardashian eyebrow, Kayla's tone or a new make-up tutorial, social media is largely about star gazing. Sometimes though it makes glowing skin, healthy bodies and shiny hair seem so far out of reach that it’s not attainable. They’re just features that belong to uber stars who have uber money to spend on grooming, cooking and training, not to mention good lighting or cosmetic enhancement.
But are the habits of successful people really that different to the average person trying to look and feel their best?
I’ve worked with many actors and celebrities over the years and, while they’re often training with a specific project in mind which boosts their motivation, everyone can do it. In fact I once developed a TV program with the LA-based fitness guru who trained Brad Pitt for Fight Club where the concept was to follow a similar program because it was absolutely achievable.
So many people tell me they want to look like certain celebrities but those celebrities don’t just blink and suddenly look fabulous. They work at it with commitment and discipline, because it’s a priority. There are some key traits to learn from their approach that are worth sharing.
No one has spare time in this world so it’s never a good excuse when expressed to me time and time again.
Instead of saying 'I don’t have time' I’d rather people be completely honest and say 'It’s not important to me' because that’s much more accurate.
You have to make time and prioritise your health. Everyone can do that.
This isn’t just the case for celebrities but for any successful people. The old saying 'If you want to get something done, ask a busy person,' is so true because busy people are productive, they’re in a rhythm of achievement and have great momentum to get through a range of tasks every day.
Successful people tend to be goal oriented, they don’t procrastinate, they just do it because there’s never a perfect time. There’s just a priority to be healthy and stay that way.
One of my clients recently told me she couldn’t organise 28 days in her life to dedicate to the Aston RX program. My response was 'Even if you found the perfect 28 days, what are you going to do on day 29? You have to learn on the hop how to manage it and then it just becomes part of your life.' That’s exactly what we did – we would do a consultation by Zoom one day when she was in Boston, then another three days later she was in London and her working life continued to be that intense and unpredictable.
My clients are often travelling, working in a remote location or an actor working on set.
There are always plenty of obstacles if you look for them and the hectic lifestyles of the top celebrities makes ours look tame in comparison, but they all make this work.
It’s always been a popular excuse to not be able to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle that, somehow, there’s a lack of strength or discipline, often referred to as willpower.
The stories or explanations people tell themselves about willpower always amaze me.
Like the male client who’s running a multi-national company, coping with all sorts of demands from staffing to budgets as he takes his company from strength to strength but tells me he has no willpower.
Or the mum who’s working full time while overseeing her kids’ homework, arranging the meals, doing the bulk of domestic work and devoting countless hours to charities but doesn’t think she can organise a new way of eating her food.
People manage to apply extraordinary willpower to every part of their lives but when it comes to food and exercise, it’s described as a mountain that is just too high to climb. That’s something other people can manage to achieve, but not me because I don’t have the willpower. Are you kidding me? These people clearly have drive to get things done but how they steer that drive is simply a matter of choice and priorities.
So, it comes back to what’s important and what you prioritise, not your level of willpower.
It’s one thing to want to lose weight for a role, a project or to get more clicks on Instagram. If that’s what motivates you, great. It’s often what motivates celebrities who are idolised and copied around the world.
When I’m asked why I’m so diligent, my answer is simple. I watched my mum die of heart disease and dementia and my dad die of bowel cancer. I simply do not want to be trapped in a body that doesn’t function.
I have loads of respect for every single organ in my body and I want to look after it so I never take it for granted. It means that much to me and don’t understand why it’s not that important for everyone. It’s keeping us alive and functioning day in and day out but most people look after their cars better than they look after their own bodies. They service their car, buy new parts as needed, wash and clean it and make sure it’s full of the right fuel.
We all think we’re invincible in our twenties and thirties but as people mature, their cholesterol and blood pressure can start rising. That’s when the wake-up call starts ringing usually from fear that their children won’t be able to cope without them or with a much less energetic, functioning version.
Priorities can start to make a shift at this point. Or, when clients take a blood test at the start of our program, the priorities can recalibrate because, really, there isn’t anything more important than a healthy, well-functioning body. That is truly something to aspire to and achieve.
If you don’t look after your body, where are you going to live?