I would say most of us are at 1 of 3 stages in our lives. Stage 1. We have fallen off the fitness wagon and need a pep talk to get back on. (yes, trainers are real humans too and fall into this category as well) Maybe you have slacked on our workouts, nutrition, sleep, stress management, or a combination there of. Either way, you know what to do because you have been there before. You also know you need to get back on track, you just need to quit stalling and do it. Stage 2. Those who have never really been on the fitness wagon before and desperately need to make a healthy lifestyle change. Side note: if the last time you were fit and strong was in your “prime” and by “prime” you mean high school or early 20’s…. Then you also fall into this category! Our recovery time and metabolism are much different as we advance in adult hood. I’m sure any of us over the age of 30 could give a testimony to that! Stage 3. You’re on the right track. You’re not just working out consistently but you are also progressing in your strength and conditioning. You’re not just eating right, your also meal prepping and sharing healthy recipes. Your sleeping better, thinking better, handling stress better. You’re looking better. You’re feeling better. Your success in health & fitness has spilled over to other areas of your life. You have improved your spiritual life. You have more energy and focus at work. You have better relationships. You are more patient and grateful. You’re not perfect & you still mess up from time to time. We all do. However, you don’t let it bring you down and overall life is just BETTER!
If you have found yourself in stage 1 or 2 and really need to make a change, then I hope my next 3 approaches can help you get back on track. If you’re not sure what stage you are on, just pay attention to your body. In my case, I can always tell I’m off my fitness game because I notice my anxiety goes up. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and depressed. Sometimes I’m just downright cranky! I’ve learned that this is a nudge from my body to get my life back on the right track.
NOTE: If you are in stage 3 ………keep it up! The following will still serve to reinforce your success and make sure it’s sustainable.
Step 1: WHY. Define or Refine Your “Why” Statement
I know, I know…... you have heard “Find Your Why” a thousand times already. You’re sick of hearing it and frankly, I am too! But having a clearly defined “Why” Statement is essential to starting & maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I suggest to just start with something simple. Often that is something physical. Lose 10 lbs., lower blood pressure, shrink your waistline, etc.
But eventually you will need to refine your “why”. For example, I get a lot of people who are getting ready to go on vacation to a beach somewhere and want to look as hot as possible. (not judging) That’s great, who doesn’t want to look great in all those beach pics??? But what happens when you get back home and go back to reality? Another example, some of us are single and want to become more good looking so we can attract other good looking people. (again, not judging!) But what happens after you finally get in a relationship? Anybody who has ever been in a long term “fat & happy” relationship knows exactly what I am talking about! Bottom line, your goals in life change frequently and so should your “why”. That’s why I recommend you constantly refine your why, write it down, and put it somewhere you will see it every day. The more you refine, the less short term your “Why” Statement will be. In my case, I never use a physical reason as my “Why” Statement anymore. Not going to lie, when I first started working out consistently, I wanted to look better! But as time went on I learned there are so many other awesome benefits to being fit & healthy than just looking better. Things such as more energy, more focus, more durable, harder to kill, less stressed, less digestive issues, better sleep, I could go on and on. Looking good should eventually just become a bi-product of pursuing more long term goals.
So let’s write down your “Why” Statement. I recommend you phrase a benefit, how achieving that benefit will make you feel, & what that benefit will allow you to have/do/be. For example, here’s what Client Billy’s “Why” Statement looks like:
“I would like to Lose 10 Pounds because it will make me feel More Confident. By achieving this, I will do better at talking in large groups.”
Now STOP what you’re doing and take the time to fill out your own“Why” Statement. Be like Billy and fill in the blanks:
“I would like to ___________________________________because it will make me feel ____________________________. By achieving this, I will have/do/be_ _____________________________________________________________.
Seriously, do it. Takes like 10 minutes.
Step 2: WHAT. Make a list of what you need to do daily.
After you have clearly defined or refined your “Why” Statement. It’s time figure out exactly what you need to do on a daily basis to fulfill your “Why”. For example, my list might look like this:
- Drinking at least 96 ounces of water per day
- Getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night
- Eating three generous servings of Protein, Vegetables, & Healthy Fats per day
- Moving for at least 45 minutes a day
- Read a chapter a day from a Personal Development book
- Howl at the moon at exactly midnight
Ok…. I made that last one up (sort of) but you get the point. After you have made your list don’t try to tackle them all at once! Pick 1-2 of those that you are confident you can complete daily. Often, we want to go full steam after our goals. Especially this time of year when everybody is going after their New Year’s Resolution. Time after time I see people get burnt out because they tried to do too much all at once. Every week or 2, try adding another activity to your daily habits.
Step 3: HOW. Plan your attack.
Now that you know what to do every day, the next thing to do is figure out how you’re going to do it. The #1 excuse I hear is “I don’t have enough TIME.” Trust me, I get it, I’m a busy person too. Just because I’m the head wolf of our fearless fitness wolf pack, doesn’t mean I don’t have to manage my time to live the fitness life as well. I swear some of you just think all I do is work out all day and take flex pics. (Ok well maybe I do…) Small business owners must wear multiple hats and honestly most of the work I do is outside the gym. I also realize how important time is. Time is the one thing we can’t get more of. It is the most valuable resource we have. You can always get more money but you can’t get more time.
The key to making sure you have enough time is careful planning. Make sure you schedule your workouts just like you would an important business meeting. Stay organized and have a backup plan in place, just in case your schedule changes. Also, as you plan look at unnecessary things you can remove from your schedule. Anytime you add something to your life, there must be something you subtract from your life. That’s just simple math. To be honest, all of us have something in our life that we could give up or do less of that would allow us to have more time. Maybe that’s TV, Social Media, online shopping, fishing (crap that’s me), reading blogs (except mine), etc. Bottom line, anytime we say YES to something that means we need to say NO to something else. Let go of the unnecessary so you can do the amazing things in life. You can’t do it all.
This. Is. It. This is your year. Don’t let 2017 be like every other year. Seriously, 2016 (for me at least) was a huge crap shoot of a year. Whether you’re new to fitness, or just need to get your butt back on track, start applying these steps to your life. To sum it all up: 1st, Define or Refine WHY you need to get back on track. 2nd Make a list of WHAT you need to do daily to fulfill your “why”. 3rd Plan on HOW you will fit those daily habits in to your schedule. Repeat this process every couple weeks; adding on more habits from step 2 each time!
Final Comment: While you can certainly have success doing this on your own, common sense suggests you’ll have a way easier time working with a trainer and being a part of a community. Behavior change is easier in a wolf pack. Don’t be shy about letting your family and friends know how they can support you with adopting your new behavior.
(And if you’re in Champaign-Urbana? Contact us and set up a time to visit our dojo. Hope to bump fists with you in the real world soon.)
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