The other day I received this card (www.someecards.com) from my friend:
Funny, right? Admittedly, I laughed (out loud). Unfortunately, I hear things like this all too often from beginning clients who are struggling to start or trying to figure out the "scheduling" piece. The number one reason I hear for not working out and eating poorly is time-related. "I don't have time," "I wish I had time," "I have too much to do at/for ___, ___, or ___," (insert activities). By now you're thinking: sleep, work, commute, children, significant others, friends (both human and non-human), chores, food, etc.
It is always a challenge to figure out why we fall into the patterns we do and, how we change our patterns. You're probably also wondering how you can possibly change your schedule and if I am going to change the time-space continuum, make your children nap, or give you the energy you need to work out?
Unfortunately, I’m not but I can give you advice and time-tested methods to start changing those behaviors and meeting your goals. So, what advice do I give to someone just starting out?
1. Make sure your goals are achievable. Don't set lofty goals with unrealistic time expectations. Set small weekly goals that fit into your larger goal and plan backwards. These small goals are often referred to as SMART goals which stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive. For instance, instead of saying you want to lose weight, you might say, I want to lose half a pound a week for the next six weeks. It's achievable, plays into a bigger goal, has an end point, and has a measurable outcome.
2. Invest in a planner or calendar and write down your schedule. Scheduling is key! If need be (like me) try to plan or write down every hour of your day. From the moment your feet hit the ground to the moment they get back into bed: WRITE. IT. DOWN. Of course, this doesn't work with every schedule under every circumstance. And now that I have a toddler in the mix it has become way harder. However, the more you can see where possible free time may be, the more likely you'll be able to schedule a work out. And, if you have time to watch TV- you have time to work out!
3. Use whatever time you have. Even if it's 5 minutes, do SOMETHING. In 5 minutes you could slam out some pretty awesome interval routines.
4. Don't compete with anyone except yourself and don't expect to look like anyone else. Unless you are actually competing to win something, DON'T COMPETE. What I do today at the gym and what you do have no bearing on each other except for the fact that we both got healthier and perhaps one step closer to our goal. Never base what you do on someone else's timeline, schedule or goal.
5. Like what you do. Let's face it, if every time you try something you find yourself asking why you're doing it and, thinking to yourself how much it sucks, you're not going to stick with it. So, find something you like; don't do something if you hate it. That being said, give everything a fair shot. My first yoga class was a disaster and now, it's 15 years later and here I am teaching. The core of a good fitness program is one in which you like and gives you energy.
6. Stop saying "I can't." I was not allowed to utter this term growing up, my pop thought it was as bad as cursing. If it was said, it would be answered with "can't never could do nothing, could it?" which, if you have a parent with southern heritage means, get your ass to work. I understand that the gym, group fitness classes and starting a new activity can be very intimidating but as long as you show up and you're attempting, then you're doing it right. The way you talk to yourself is going to be a huge deciding factor in whether or not the goal you’re trying to achieve will actually be achieved.
7. If all else fails, get dressed and go. If, you're having one of those days where you're struggling with the "I don't wannas" get dressed- it's half the battle. If, 10 minutes into your workout you still don't want to be there, go home! Tomorrow is a new day.
To meet any goal you must be willing to change your behaviors. Not every session or meal has perfect and, there should be rest and recovery (deloading) days and will be days where your diet isn’t on point but, these aren’t automatic failures and shouldn't derail you from your ultimate goal. Keep your goals written down and visible and know that ups and downs come with all achievements.
As always, if you have any questions let me know. I'm here to support you and help you make exercise a habit.