A Healthier You in 2013

It is important to set a realistic goal. On average fitness resolutioners hit it hard in January and burn out by Valentine’s Day. Here’s 5 questions to ask yourself and help make sure you’ve got the stamina to make it to at least Spring Break and beyond!

    1) What is your big goal? (Be specific – I want to smoke/drink/watch TV less, I want to eat more healthy or to lose weight are too generic – What do those really mean? Break them down to specific ideas. I want to eat at least 3 balanced meals per day, smoke X amount/day, watch X hours of TV, exercise X times/week, etc)

 

  •       (Healthy weight loss is approx 1-2lbs/week. If you’ve got 50lbs to lose that’s a minimum of 25weeks – you didn’t put that weight on overnight and you won’t take it off that quickly either. Your body is smart and will do it’s best to maintain a sense of safety. Lose too fast and research shows it usually comes back on with vengeance)

 

2) What is one small step you can start doing this week to reach it? (To gain or lose we need to manipulate the caloric intake/output – this fits well within a weekly tracking goal)

 

 

 

3) Break it even smaller – what’s one step for today, tomorrow, the next to reach your weekly goal?

 

 

 

4) How many obstacles will get in your way? How will you overcome them? (Thinking through this helps you create a plan. You won’t figure them all out but you will be better able to handle them if you have given some thought to what will keep you from your goals.)

 

 

 

5) Why do you want this goal at this time? (This is your driving fuel. Important to spend some time figuring out your why – if it’s not your goal it’ll be much harder to maintain.)

 

Weeding Your Garden, Getting Back on Track for Your Fitness and Health Goals

We have all done it. Created a goal, started out strong, only to have our motivation leak out of us and suddenly go missing. Before we know it we’ve quit – we just stopped showing up. In June’s post we discussed “planting our garden”, now it’s time to weed it. In order to keep a garden healthy we must get rid of the plants that aren’t helping it grow.

Here are 5 ways to “weed your garden” and stay on track for your fitness and health goals.

  1. Look at your schedule for the last 3 weeks – determine what is soaking up your time, what you can cut out, and where you can schedule in workouts.
  2. Check out your eating habits – have you increased portions, need to get back to your journal, or eliminate the unhealthy choices from your cupboards. Do this now.
  3. Find a workout buddy – either in person or online – someone you can be accountable to and who can be honest with you about your workout and diet behaviors (in a supportive way). This will help as your motivation wanes next time.
  4. Do the above & recommit to yourself to yourself and your goals.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up – progress is measured not by how far you go without falling down, but how quickly you get back up after you do. Life happens and healthy living happens as a result of healthy choices every day. The important thing is to get back to it as quickly as possible!

3 Ways to Reach Your Fitness Goals

So we are almost a month into your New Year’s Resolutions. How are you doing? Have you been able to make your daily and weekly goals? or Is you motivation waning and you have forgotten what had you so ready to take on this task? Here is 3 steps to getting back on track and keep yourself moving toward your goals.

Review what progress you have made – you did start something. Review what you have done even if it was only a day or a week. Recall how it felt to have accomplished that first day. Reflect on what was so motivating then.

If you didn’t write it down then. Write it down now.

What are you working towards?

What are you willing to do each day to accomplish it?

How long will it take you? (losing a pound / week is recommended for healthy lifestyle change)

What was your big obstacle? What caught you and kept you from reaching your goal so far? Was it your schedule? Was it support (or lack of it) from friends and family? This isn’t a place to find failure but learning. So look at what went wrong and make a decision about what you can do differently and start again. START AGAIN!!!

The path to success isn’t about never having set backs. It’s about how many times you have a set back and how you get back up. So if you have fallen off the New Year’s Resolution wagon this year. JUST get back on.

Endings and Beginnings

Here we are at another year end. How was your’s? Did you meet some goals? Re-evaluate others? Did you reach what seemed to be an impossible challenge? Did you fall short of an important task? 

Spend some time reflecting on your year. For many we are very good at coming up with what needs to change, creating the goal, and then moving through it or beyond it without a way to measure our progress. All movement, even the ones that feel backwards, is progress. Here’s a worksheet to help you reflect on your year and get ready for the next year of your growing wisdom.

What do you want more of? 

 

What do you want less of?

 

What needs a small change? 

 

A big one?

 

Who do you want to be in the next year? 

 

How will you know when you’ve reached your goal?

 

What rewards you for your efforts?

 

How will you re-evaluate your progress throughout the process? (daily, weekly, monthly, project based, etc).

 

What does success look like for you?

 

Glancing back at the above – what else needs your attention?

 

And are these goals truly yours?

 

Repeat this process as needed. Remember it’s precision not perfection and the journey is what matters most.

Dressing Up Your Fitness

Here we are in October, the month of costumes and scare tactics. As you reflect upon the challenge you took last month – committing to three months of fitness routines – I wonder how you are doing? This is a great time to look at your own scare tactics and how you’ve dressed up your excuses.

One thing guaranteed about life is it’s going to change and the other thing … that’s it’s not always easy. Most of us have a great thing called our brain which is very good at talking us into and out of ideas, goals, and behaviors. So today look closely at how you are talking yourself out of exercise and other healthy behaviors you’ve committed to.

How do you dress up your excuses? Do you use them as masks to hide behind? Do you allow them to be the monologue of your life, “It will never work, I can’t, or if only _____”. Do you use these same excuses in other challenging situations? I wonder what purpose they are serving? We don’t do anything (even that which seems harmful) we don’t get something out of. So figure out what you are getting out of making that excuse and decide if it’s worth it. For me sometimes time with my family is worth my workout but it’s not something I use to forgo the whole plan.

What kinds of scare tactics to you use? Do you tell yourself, “I won’t be able to, I have to avoid, I don’t deserve ______”? These are what is called avoidance goals and they are not as effective long term as approach goals. Sure you’ll make some change in the beginning but over time telling yourself you can’t have that extra piece of cake or you won’t get to do your favorite activity gets old. You end up throwing the whole goal out because your want is greater in the moment and you feel like you can’t win anyway.

You are better off to create approach goals. Ones with positive outcomes. Not only does reward systems work better they last longer than punishment based systems. So create your optimum reward system so not only are you reaching your goals but enjoying getting there too. Life can be pretty sweet when you focus on the process not the perfection.

Routines and Fitness

For many of us fall is the time we get “back on the wagon” when it comes to our fitness routines. Months of longer days, warmer weather, and high energy activities have left us happy and overwhelmed. Add in extra food and beverage consumption and we may even have a few new pounds to cart around. Routines are important when commiting to a healthier lifestyle. Routines help us keep track of and make new behaviors habits. Just the act of tracking will increase or decrease a behavior. Many people balk at the idea of journaling and it’s still one of the best tools we have to truly change our behaviors. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Something as simple as hash marks can still have a big impact on our behaviors.

Another thing routines help us with is taking the overwhelming work of constantly changing and making it managable. We use the routine as a way to come into new behaviors without complicated thought processes, constant schedule shifts, and working so hard to think about what we are going to do. Instead putting a workout appointment on your calendar with an alert automatically reminds you to workout daily.

It’s the small changes you do daily that result in the large changes of creating a more healthy lifestyle. It matters what you do each day and adds up quickly. So today take some time to outline your goals for the next 3 months. Put them on paper, scheduling them into your life, and commit to making them happen. Track them along the way and watch yourself develop into the person you want to be.

10 Tips to Getting Started on Your New Year’s Exercise Routine

Getting started can be one of the biggest challenges when we want to become more healthy. Here are 10 tips to get you moving in the New Year.

1) Plan – write out your goals and when you’ll workout.

2) Schedule your workouts like you would any other appointment

3) Enlist a friend with similar goals.

4) Make sure you have the right equipment (in working order) – See my video blog on equipment for a home gym for ideas.

5) Set realistic goals – break them into daily or weekly increments so you’ll feel successful as you go along.

6) Change up your movement – cross train for injury prevention and so you won’t be bored.

7) Do a combination of Cardio, Strength, and Flexibility during your week

8) Focus on today – when, where, and how you’ll workout today

9) Eat a balanced healthy diet – you’ll feel better and it’ll be easier to keep your exercise goals

and finally,

10)  HAVE FUN! Decide to have a good time and it’ll be enjoyable rather than a chore – find workouts you like, notice your increased energy and better sleep patterns to help keep you motivated while your getting into the groove of your new habits.

Getting Started on Your Exercise Goals

I was talking with some friends the other day and one of them stated she “really wants to get started” on her exercise goals but she just didn’t feel ready. We talked about what being ready might look like for her. We all come to beginning a lifestyle change at different points in our lives. It can be helpful to think about a few things before you get started. 

1) What are your goals? Are they realistic? Do you need help deciding if they are realistic? Why do you want to reach these goals?

Many people begin attempting their fitness goals by throwing darts at an old board (and missing the target). They think about a weight, strength, or speed they had in the past and decide that is a good goal. It might be and it might not be. Much has changed since then (work, family, age). Wouldn’t be wise to consider what and how your life has changed before you try to change it back? It might be a goal worth going for with a few tweaks to support your new lifestyle.

2) What don’t you want? What do you not want to do to achieve this goal? What do you want to do to achieve it? What do you want to be different?

There are so many options there is no need to do something you don’t like – say those push ups you had to do in the military or high school gym class as punishment. Many of us have things we consider fun and exciting. Why not add those into your routine so it becomes playful and something you look forward to. If you don’t want a diet choice (say vegetables) you are an adult, you can choose, and you can find ways to get the health support you need and not eat what you don’t like. You also have choices about what you want to stay the same and what you want to be different about your life. It’s all about choices and tradeoffs.

3) What are your life obligations? Where are you going to find the time? What do you have to work around? Do you need to cycle your workouts to make sure you fit them in?

It is important to consider your life. Although, life doesn’t need to keep you from accomplishing your fitness goal it is easier to work with it rather than against it. So use it. If you have children or pets include them. Add activity into your day by parking further and walking more, taking the stairs, and planning active lunches or meetings when possible (walking around the block counts). Look at your schedule and slowly make realistic changes.

Bottom-line is we are all ready at different times and often our sense of what we are currently doing and the thought of trying to fit something else in is overwhelming. It is important to take a close look at what we are currently doing, what we want to do different, and start slowly.

You are a work in progress and just the fact that you are thinking about making a change is a step in the right direction. Keep it up!

5 Ways to Beat Fear of New Challenges

I was thinking today about a new challenge coming up in my life. I am beginning a PhD program and for all my excitement I began to feel a bit scared. First it started with small, subtle, and simple doubts. Then it grew into a bigger voice telling me I would never be able to finish this program & I was crazy for thinking I could. I did what I usually do when doubts creep in – I kicked them out. I realized not everyone (including me) can do this all the time and sometimes we need reminders that we are stronger than our doubts. Here are 5 things you can do to let go of fear and move forward in your life today.

1) Make a list of all the ways you can accomplish this goal and the strengths you bring to the table already. Then find ways to learn the ones you still need.

2) Find quality support people – look outside your family and close friends if needed or to a professional if necessary.

3) Tackle it one step at a time. We often make challenges “larger than life” and therefore never tackle them at all. Break it down into bite sized pieces.

4) Understand life gives us what we can handle and no more. Even when it seems so overwhelming remind yourself if you follow number 3 – YOU CAN DO IT.

and

5) Have faith, understanding, and compassion for yourself and in yourself as you attempt challenges in your life.

Believe you can and you will – Believe you won’t and guess what … you won’t. Tackle any life challenge with confidence by following the above simple guidelines, maybe add some of your own, and don’t shy away from your big goals anymore! One foot in front of the other finishes the race 

Be Free This 4th of July

The fourth of July is here once again. Last year I asked you to let go of all that was no longer serving you and celebrate your freedom. Did you do it? What was successful? What was difficult? What will you let go of this year?

We’ve been talking each week for more than two years now. How have our online conversations changed you? How have you evolved? I would love to know. When I am out and about I hear many stories about your lives and would love to hear your story. Change is hard. When we support each other and believe we can make our goals happen. You could be the support another community member is looking for. Amazing things happen when we work together.

Today I want you to think about what you are free from. What have you left behind? Negative thoughts? Excess weight? Belief that you weren’t strong enough? Your slow race time? People who didn’t support you? As you look back on on the past two years what did you start with that you are now free from? Celebrate your emancipation! Celebrate your ability to accomplish a goal. Congratulations! You did it. Celebrate You.

The person you want to be is achievable. It happens moment by moment in the choices you make. As you think about what you left behind and where you are going next ask yourself if you are living now as the person you want to be. We are the only ones who control our behaviors. We may like to think others do, but it really is about you and your choices. Free yourself from blaming and begin in this moment, right now, living like the person you want to be. Start making choices which free you from being stuck and wishing to be different. Be different know.

Free your thoughts to direct your behaviors toward the person you want to be. Stop wasting space acting in patterns which no longer serve you and free up your thoughts to act in ways which do. Once your thoughts are in place to move in a new direction your actions have no choice but to follow. Free yourself to make the change.

Free up your mind and let go of all those thoughts that keep repeating in your head. Let go of worry and anxiety; just be. The 4th of July is all about just being. Relax and let go of all shoulds and coulds and free up your schedule. Feel your skin relax and rest as you free your body and allow space for all parts of you to relax. Don’t worry about places you would like to change or see differently in the mirror, toss the ideal and free your expectations and just begin doing. Accept who you are today for all your greatness. Tomorrow you will be great, too.

Sounds good, I know. Sounds easy, not really. This process isn’t easy. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. Its not easy, but you can do it. Free yourself from the voice that says you can’t. Practice selective hearing and hear only; you can. To begin practically take the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge This week. Free yourself from constraint and begin your new healthy life today. Free You – Be You.

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge:

Begin by letting go. For the day practice being present to the moment. In each moment throughout the day you have a choice to do this or that. Decide which one leads you closer to the person you want to be and choose that choice. Each time you realize you are not paying attention just decide to pay attention again and repeat as often as necessary throughout your day. Goals are just the end result of many little choices made all day long over weeks, months, and years. Easy, no…doable, yes.