It's post labour day and you all know what that means. It signals the end of summer, and back to a normal routine. For a lot of us it's also a brilliant time to make some small changes to that "normal" routine of ours that can help us be a little healthier and a little leaner.
Perhaps you've gone down this road before and tried to lose some weight and get into better shape. But for what ever reason it just didn't stick. We often chalk it up to losing motivation or decide that we just aren't a "fit" type of person.
Let's make this time different. Let's do this "get fit" thing in a way that it actually sticks, and where you still get to enjoy thanksgiving pies and a daily dose of chocolate.
And let's do it with outlining your keys to fitness success in 3 steps.
Step 1: Forget Motivation, Embrace the "Strategic Habit System"
Motivation is like a wave, it peaks for a time then dissipates, that's it's nature and while we can take advantage of the wave when it comes, we need something else to keep us going when the wave of motivation dissipates. That's where having a strategy in place is key.
More specifically a strategy based on building habits that produce the fit body you want.
Part of the strategy is picking just 1 or 2 things (no more) that you can confidently say yes to being able to do consistently.
Here are 3 examples:
a) Only veggies after 7pm most nights
b) Have only 4 or less calorie containing drinks a week
c) 10 minutes of a simple 3 exercise circuit most mornings at 7am (Plank, Squat, Pushup)
Step 2: Start Where You Are – Do What You Can
We often get caught up in comparing our efforts to others and feel we need to do what they are doing. Or we feel we need to be doing everything all at once and at 100% efficiency otherwise what’s the point. Either way, that never attitude always ends with feeling defeated and thus we give up.
This time practice more self-compassion, instead of focusing on what you are not doing and what you can’t do, take an honest look at your lifestyle, your knowledge and the support around you and start with where you are at right now and focus on what you can do and stay focused on only those things.
Every few weeks evaluate and if you can do more, then do more.
Step 3: Record Your Actions
There is a saying I like to use, “if it doesn’t get tracked it doesn’t get changed.”
Those who record the actions they are working on increase their results by 100%. That’s a big pay off for doing something as simple as writing it down. With my own clients I have them keep a journal and recommend they write down the actions we are working on. You don’t have to write anything more than just those 1 or 2 actions, and once those actions become habitual, then we get to pick another 1 or 2 actions and repeat.
When you start recording your actions, make your first goal to be consistent, then to make progress because consistency, if that has eluded you in the past, is progress in of itself. Perhaps the best part about recording your actions is that it takes the guesswork out the equation. You know exactly how you are doing and can use that knowledge to your advantage and truly make sustainable changes in the way you look and feel.
Use motivation when it comes, but ultimately have a strategy in place that builds sustainable habits that work for you. Stay focused on the things you can do, and take out the guesswork by recording your actions daily so you can repeat the process and continue to make new habits that support your weight loss and fitness goals.
And as always if you need help, you need only ask.
Robin Mungall NSCA CPT