Motivation is for the birds. While I talk a big game of mindset and personal growth, don’t get that confused with toxic-positivity. Each of us needs to be ok feeling and processing allll of the feels, including sadness, grief, disappointment, and frustration to name a few. Simultaneously, we each also need to proactively practice a growth-centered mindset of gratitude, grace, forgiveness and empowerment. And just like our mindset, our physical health is one that we need to build and create momentum with. It’s a challenge and downright struggle for nearly all of us, which is why I wanted to share with you some of the most impactful things I implemented that got me out of a pretty big rut. Read on and then get started! As always, I’m here for ya too as a coach, accountability buddy, and/or mentor both in your own health journey and if you’re up for making it also a stream of income for you too!
This, coming from the queen of reading and research and learning all the things before getting started. Goodness gracious, do yourself a massive favor and time-saver and just.start! It’s crazy how easy it is to get sucked unknowingly into a state of paralysis. “Analysis Paralysis,” as it is often referred to. It’s common to think you have to know it all, to do it right, to not mess up, before we start. What’s actually happening at the root of it all is fear. Fear of failure, fear of messing up, fear of ______ (fill in the blank). Instead of even minor action, we procrastinate. You might not feel like that’s what you’re doing or intend to do, but that’s what’s happening. And before you know it a month goes by, and another, and then a year. And no change. Zero. Ever happen to you?
So, let’s start (small)! Maybe today it means going for a walk, as a proactive way to get your body moving. Perhaps it means going on YouTube and doing a free workout video, or busting out a DVD from the early 2000’s. Pick something to do and just start. You will feel accomplished for doing so and the positive energy of action will transpire into other areas of your life.
For you over-achievers and go-all-in folk, for the sake of your consistency and to best prevent the yo-yo of starting and stopping, opt for starting small this time! You know yourself best, and what “small” may be for you currently. It could be 20-minutes, or it could be 5-minutes. Whatever it is, it should be a duration of time that you are confident you can commit to for 5+ days of the week, no excuses.
I adopted this notion years ago when I was first beginning a morning routine and I wanted to try meditation for the first time. If you’ve ever meditated before, you know that less is more when you’re first learning the practice, and so 2-minutes was what I committed to. Two-minutes a day, Monday through Friday. And from that, my morning routine has evolved immensely, in large part because I started small, built consistency, and felt the positive reinforcement when I was successful in doing it daily.
FOLLOW A PROGRAM
Hands down, this one thing is what massively catapulted my success in staying consistent with working out. Having a program that had a set workout daily, for the next 3 weeks (or however long of program I chose), took out so much guesswork which instantly alleviated stress and decision-making! “Just tell me what to do,” is what we all are seeking, and having a workout program is IT. As a personal trainer, I am fully capable of designing my own workout (even making one up on the spot as I go!), but it takes additional work and time. Energy most days that I care not to put forth. Maybe some day I’ll go back to creating my own programs like I do for others, but for now the ease is priceless! I absolutely love the ability to have it created for me, and all I need to do is watch and follow along.
I think this is often where many people get caught up or de-railed, and perhaps are not aware that this is why. You feel like you have no idea what to do or where to start, so…you don’t. Maybe you want to incorporate working out into your day, but are unsure where to start (enter “Analysis Paralysis”) or what to do. You maybe had motivation for a day or so to go for a walk or even went for a run, but then the motivation failed. But just think, what if it was already decided for you?! Exactly what you needed to do today and each day, to reach your goals was already planned and ready. All you needed to do was show up and put in the work. Let me tell you, it is glorious and such an energy-booster!
Curious what programs I’ve been using and loving for the past few years? Check it out here. I not only use them personally, but because both the workouts and the high-quality nutritional products have been so effective for me, I also partner with the company as a coach and work with people (like you!) in their own health and fitness journey. If it sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, I would absolutely LOVE to chat!
RECRUIT AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
Everyone needs a hype girl. Someone to keep them on track, doin’ the thing when you don’t want to, and holding you accountable! As an intrinsically motivated person, I can absolutely relate with those of you shaking your head and thinking, “Nah uh. Not me. I do my own thing and I do NOT like or want the help of someone else.” I totally get that, and I can empathize! I will say though, regardless of what you want, the most successful people– whether it’s in fitness, health, finances, business, WHATEVER– have someone else in their corner too. They have a coach, a mentor, a TEAM, a person at least if not multiple, that they work with, collaborate with, and rely on. The best athletes have coaches, and those who achieve the most in life have them as well.
Maybe you know how impactful having a friend with a similar goal or interest is, or someone to hold you accountable, but you don’t have that person in your life. I’d challenge you to perhaps open your perception. A spouse, a parent, a family member, co-worker, neighbor, anyone can be there for you. Maybe they aren’t going to join in with you on the journey, but I think most people when asked, would be honored to help another reach success.
Also, perhaps it might look a bit different than you would initially think. Maybe it is a Bible study group that you’ve been putting off joining. That can become a new and different community for you, to hold you accountable to a goal such as Bible reading, that positively impacts your life and trickles into other areas such as fitness. Or maybe it’s starting up walking with a few neighbors one night a week, and you learn about their health and fitness goals that you can help each other with. A client of mine recently opted to avoid alcohol from Halloween until Thanksgiving. She had recently moved states, and many of her new friends were ones she would do happy-hour with. Rather than avoiding her friends for the month, she invited them to join in in a hot-yoga class instead. And they LOVED it. You never know what someone else’s goals are too, and just maybe by you asking them to help you, you are in turn helping them. That’s what I do! As a health and fitness coach, I am constantly wanting to help others in their own personal journey. Simultaneously though, I openly announce often that I too, need the help and accountability and pose my invites accordingly.
SHOW UP EVERY DAY
The faster you can get mentally and physically used to this addition to your daily routine, the easier it will become. Then, the faster positive reinforcement and motivation will start to kick in as well. Commit to a (small) amount of time every.single.day for one month. Think of it this way: using a scale to rate your confidence, 1-10 (10= extremely confident), what amount of time would you be able to rate your confidence an 8 or higher, in being able to complete that duration of time to daily physical activity? Maybe 30 minutes seems a bit too unrealistic to start, but 5 minutes is for sure doable, then perhaps somewhere in the middle like 15 minutes. Whatever it is, show up and put in the work.
This is also where following a program comes in to play. A workout program has a set number of days each week, such as a 4 day a week program or a 5 day program. On the other days, something like going for a walk, a jog or run, doing yoga, or going for a bike ride, could all be fun options to change things up and keep your momentum going.
One fun thing I like to do is to have a visual tracker or calendar of sorts to showcase my progress and commitment to each day. Who doesn’t love checking things off after completion?! It could be something as easy as a paper calendar or journal where you cross of each day you stick to your plan or write in what you did. The planner I have loved the past couple of years is this one from Amazon.
CHOOSE MILESTONE REWARDS
Treat yourself for goodness sake! Reward good behavior! We do it all the time with kids, and it’s crazy effective for a reason. I’m all for rewarding progress and handwork, and not necessarily when you reach your final goal— do it waaaay before then, and often. As I previously mentioned, it can be helpful to commit to one-month or even a solid 3-weeks, when you’re first getting started. Have a set plan and expectations, and then be sure to also pick out something fun to gift yourself once you complete it! You might be thinking, “It’s not in my budget at this time to do that”, or maybe it’s hard for you to justify any unneeded expense. I 100% hear you and can relate (hello, stay-at-home mom here). This treat or reward or whatever you want to call it, does NOT have to be spendy! Pick something that you enjoy and ideally further promotes your dedication to your new journey. Maybe it’s something as easy as a new package of athletic socks, or a color set of pens for your planner. When you successfully complete what you set out to do, then by all means do something positive for yourself!
The objective with this is to reward behavior, because it is our daily behaviors that impact results. Think of 1-3 action items you can do daily that will help you get to your goal. For example, if finishing a 4-week fitness program is your goal, a few daily action items, or “objectives” if you will, would be (1). Complete each day’s designated workout; (2). Get 7-8 hrs quality sleep each night; (3). Maintain adequate hydration and consume 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water each day. These 3 daily action items are what will make or break your success, and these are the behaviors you’ll track for your milestone reward. All simple enough things you can track daily to determine compliance and progress. These cute cheetah tennis shoes were one of my bigger rewards to myself for hitting a milestone goal!
WRAPPING UP MY STORY: ATHLETE (RE)STATUS
The transition from being a collegiate athlete –part of a competitive team, with a coach, teammates and a concrete training program and goals– to a full-time working professional was rough to say the least. Just like that, that part of my life was gone and done. I graduated college and and hung up my racing shoes, and a big piece of me was lost, confused and needed to rediscover physical challenges and goals for myself that were not centered around track. As life would have it, other life changes simultaneously were happening like grad school, getting a dog, marriage, then a house, and a kid…and then two more.
I loved going to a gym. Heck, I met my now husband in a weight room. I loved the feeling, the atmostphere, the intention of that dedicated time. While I could have made that a priority, what I wanted even more so was additional time with my family. I wanted to feel like I got that piece of me back, the athlete that ended when college ended. And I knew in order to get that, I needed to build back in that consistency. So I did. Day by day, imperfectly, I built (and am still building!) a routine that works for me more often than not. And if I didn’t mention it yet, I am ALWAYS looking for accountability buddies to partner with in this journey! If you’re thinking you want to build consistency but could use some help in the things I mentioned above, reach out!