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.

Taking the Risk, Facing Your Fear

I was talking with my supervisor yesterday and we discussed how some people are afraid to try new things. This is not my nature and I am amazed when I am reminded how many people pass up opportunities because they are afraid. When do you hold back because you are afraid to leap or even step? Have you missed out on awesome opportunities in your life because you held back? How will you face your fear next time and not lose out?

Being able to discern valid opportunities that will move your life forward is important. Often many of us are afraid because there is so much out there. We become overwhelmed trying to wade through it all. So it is very important that you are able to pick and choose which things you want to reach for.

First, get really clear on what you want. Do you want more health? Wealth? A more fulfilling relationship? A brighter garden? How can you know what opportunities are out there if you don’t even know what you are looking for? It is very important to get clear about what you want. Research shows us that what we are conditioned for we will see more of. This means if I am conditioned to think I can’t do something, I will find all the ways in which I cannot get it done. On the other hand, if I think I can I will look for solutions to getting it done when I get stuck because I believe I can.

Second, know your own limits. We all have them. And this means we all have strengths, too. It is important to know both. Once you have a clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses it will be important to find others who are strong where you are weak. This allows you to fill in the gaps in your own abilities. If your task is beyond the help of a friend, hire a professional to fill in your gaps.

Third, don’t be paralyzed by fear. We all get that last minute feeling of fear when we jump from the cliff into the unknown. Don’t let it stop you. Again, it is important to determine if the fear is telling you something you need to listen to, like don’t give all your savings to a Bernie Madoff type, or if it is a natural result of pushing your own limits.

Finally, enjoy the ride. Life is a journey and no matter what you journey you are set to embark on enjoy it.

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 

The End of 2009 – Are you ready for 2010?

Here it is… The end of the year. How will you make the new year count?  For many Americans health and fitness fall in the top three on their resolution list.  Unfortunately for many it falls off their New Year’s resolution list pretty fast.  What will you do to continue to reach for your fitness goals this year?

I know we have spent time discussing planning, goal setting, and getting ready to reach our resolutions in 2010 a few weeks ago. Go back and re-read the archives. There are 3 series of questions to help you reach your fitness goals in 2010.  Are you ready?

Weight loss, better fitness, more strength, greater endurance, better finish times do not just happen. They take work, they take responsibility, and they take planning. Have you done your homework, and are you ready for the new year?

If you have taken on this goal in the past, what will you do differently this year to make sure you reach it? Are you ready to move beyond what has held you back in the past and forward into the future? I advocate writing down your goals and the steps you will take to get there. This will help make your goal “real” to you. Once we see things on paper it helps us become more committed to accomplishing it.

Remember to prioritize your resolutions. Many well meaning resolutions get derailed because people are overwhelmed when they look at the long list and know they will not be able to accomplish all the worthy goals upon it. Decide what tops your list and stick to it. You will feel much better when you have accomplished a goal and are able to cross it off knowing you gave it everything you had and finished.

Are your goals realistic? If you have trouble figuring this out contact a personal trainer. If you are attempting a goal that is not realistic you are setting yourself up for failure. Although, failure usually leads to success it also leads to low self-esteem, lack of motivation, and the chance that you will pitch the whole idea and give up. Being realistic about a goal will help keep you on track from the beginning.

Once your list is pared down, you can begin to break the bigger goals into smaller ones. It is important to find small things you can do daily to complete your goal successfully. Small chunks are much easier to manage and they can be quickly adapted if needed. Remember, you are responsible for your choices, and your daily choices determine if you will make it or not. You can accomplish anything, but you must be accountable to you.

Chose positive strategies for dealing with problems. There will be some, so expect them, and be ready to deal with them. Contingency plans are important. What will you do when your day does not have twenty-six hours in it? What about when you are home with a sick child, or you suddenly have a huge project dumped on your desk? How will you handle cold days that derail your efforts at an outdoor workout? Thinking through these issues is a must because they will crop in your life.

As we move into the new year, look at the old. What would you like to give up? Create a ritual to let that habit, pattern, or whatever change go. Write down what you’ll let go of this New Year’s Eve and then dispose of it. Many like to burn the slip of paper, others make a ritual by writing it down and then throwing it away. Still others write it down and stick it in a safe place (say a box or jar) so when they go back to the habit they are able to pull it out and dispose of it again. If you make a conscious effort to make the change it is important to honor that it is part of who you are today and who you will become in the next year. Give purpose to the release of old and the acceptance of new behaviors that will help move you towards your goals this year! You are worth the extra effort.

Don’t Let Fear Stand in Your Way To Health

Many people say they want more health in their life. They can dream big but something stops them from taking action and creating the life they want. This something is … Fear. What fears do you harbor about changing your life? Many of us realize that to change means we’ll have to give something up. Is fear of the unknown keeping you from reaching your fitness goals?According to Brian Tracy in, The Courage to Take Action, there are three factors which predispose us to being afraid. They are childhood conditioning, ignorance, and illness or fatigue.

Look at your own list, do you find examples of these factors? Are you afraid to succeed or fail, because fear of rejection was a strong influence as you grew up? Are you hurt or not well? What can you do to be pro-active about your situation?   I know a wonderful woman in our who survived cancer more than once, is vibrant despite heart trouble and joint complications. She is a great inspiration because she has taken the situation handed to her, faced it squarely, and over came the obstacles in her path.

How can you take fear, look at directly, even if uncomfortable, and how can you climb over, under, or around it to continue walking your path?

Brian Tracy poses these questions:

  • How does this fear hold me back in life?
  • How does this fear help me, or how has it helped me in the past?
  • What would be my pay-off for eliminating this fear?

Ponder these questions, and then allow your imagination to soar, with your pen and paper handy of course, writing down all the wonderful possibilities you have for accomplishing your healthy lifestyle. Do not hold back, write down all your dreams and prioritize!

Brian Tracy’s Article the Courage to Take Action – Club Solutions Nov 2005

Getting Ready For New Year’s Resolutions 2010 – 3

New Year’s may be a few weeks away, but if you are really ready to change your lifestyle this year, proper planning will put you ahead of the game come midnight.  You will be ready and on your way by the time the ball drops in Times Square.

Here’s your next task to keep you moving forward and accomplishing your fitness goals in 2010. Weight loss typically tops the list but by Feb 14th most resolutioners have already quit their exercise program. Don’t get caught giving up this year! Use these posts as your worksheets toward a solid plan and great fitness in 2010.

First, you must decide how you are going to tackle your goals?   Will you do them together?   Do they fit?   For example: I want to become more healthy and eat better. These two goals fit together and help me accomplish both. On the other hand, if I want to learn a new computer program and how to paint, I may be better off tackling one goal at a time due to the time necessities of each. Ask: “am I being realistic about my goals?” “my time commitments?” and “my desire to reach this goal and put effort behind accomplishing it.” AND remember if it was easy you would have already done it.

Once your list is done it is time to prioritize your goals. Typically I like to create a dream list of everything I really want to do. From there I have a good idea about what is important to me, and am able to begin narrowing down what I really want to accomplish this year. It typically takes twenty-one days to create a new habit so it is a good idea to take on one goal per quarter, or for three months at a time. Not that you won’t continue once you have begun, but giving yourself three months to really focus will allow you time to create healthy habits, break the old ones, and account for setbacks, which will happen.

Once you have chosen four goals to accomplish this year (less if they are very intensive) it is time to plan. You will want to examine time commitments throughout the year, such as vacations, conferences, graduations, births, things you know are coming up and have the potential to throw you off. Then examine your daily commitments and decide how you will fit your new lifestyle activities into your existing lifestyle.

Finally, map out the next year based on your large goals, followed by the smaller goals you will use to measure your success by.

Getting Ready For New Year’s Resolutions 2010 – 2

Here’s your next task to keep you moving forward and accomplishing your fitness goals in 2010. Weight loss typically tops the list but by Feb 14th most resolutioners have already quit their exercise program.
Don’t get caught giving up this year! Use these posts as your worksheets toward a solid plan and great fitness in 2010.

Next, decide on a time line.   How long will it take you to complete?   What amount of time are you willing to commit to this experience?   What is the priority level of this goal?   Do you feel you are ready to take this goal on?   Do you have adequate support?   Do you need help from someone else: ie, family member, friend, professional?   Who are your support people?
Again, write down the answers.

As you review your list, are you being realistic about your goal?

Getting Ready For New Year’s Resolutions 2010

This week we are going to start getting ready for New Year’s Resolutions. It is important to put into perspective what you are going to try to accomplish next year. I don’t particularly like resolutions, but I do like setting and accomplishing goals. Here’s your next task to keep you moving forward and accomplishing your fitness goals in 2010.

Weight loss typically tops the list but by Feb 14th most resolutioners have already quit their exercise program. Don’t get caught giving up this year! Use these posts as your worksheets toward a solid plan and great fitness in 2010.

First, look at where you are.   What is it about where you are that you want to change?   Is this something you can easily do? Why or why not? What might hold you back?   How will you deal with those obstacles? Are you ready to change?   Remember the saying: The pain of staying the same must be greater than the pain of change. It will be uncomfortable, hard, and time consuming, but if it matters to you it will be worth it. I’ve said this before, but it is worth noting again, who are you changing for?   Write down the answers to the above questions. This will help cement the process you are about to begin. If you feel you are up to a wild challenge ask a friend to ask them and provide your answers, truthful answers, back to your buddy. An outside observer may offer fresh perspective on where you are and where you want to go. Please, make sure the person you pick to hear your inner thoughts genuinely supports your efforts.

Check Back for The Next Installment of: Getting Ready For New Year’s Resolutions 2010.