SHOP THE LOOK
I don’t really want to remind you of all the times I’ve restarted my New Year fitness resolutions or my BBG workouts (why’s it so hard?), but since I do know a thing or two about the struggle of sticking to a fitness goal, I thought I’d share some insight I found in this Spark People article that shares 14 tips for starting and sticking with a workout routine.
Here are a few of the tips that resonated with me most:
- Let go of the mental image of yourself in high school and start making new memories.
- This one is tough. I am notorious for drawing on the past for inspiration to believe in myself. I don’t think it’s always a bad thing to be inspired by your younger self (better than comparing yourself to someone else). But I can also see how that mentality puts limits on your mind. There’s a tendency to compare your abilities now to what you used to be able to do, instead of trying new things and believing you can be even better than your high school self. Sure, I wish I were as skinny as I was when I was 17, but the truth is, I still didn’t have the muscle tone and definition that I’d like to have now. And that’s why making new memories is so important for me to believe I can accomplish my goals. The best is still yet to come and “to get what we’ve never had we have to do things we’ve never done.”
- I’ve been reading a book lately about how habits are formed and why change is so difficult (more on that in a future post). It talks a lot about the struggle and discipline that’s involved when starting a new habit. Things don’t automatically become habits, they usually require a period of adjustment at first, but once we get past that struggle period, it becomes easier because we don’t have to make the decision each and every time we perform the act. We just do it without thinking. Whether it’s going to the gym or eating healthier food, workout routines and meal plans need to be planned out, written down and prepared ahead of time, so you’re not faced with deciding whether or not to follow through. If your fitness goals require you to hit the gym 3-4 days per week, decide which days and what times you’re going to go. That is your plan. Follow it. The same with eating healthier. If you only want to eat certain foods that include more protein, more complex carbs and more veggies, plan out and prepare them in advance so you don’t have to decide what to eat when you’re hungry. The decision has already been made.
- Put the pain in perspective.
- When I’m faced with a tough workout and I’ve already had a mentally exhausting day, the last thing I feel like is doing a workout that’s going to require mental perseverance. I’d rather go home and lie down. In these moments it’s important for me to remember that I can do hard things, and I know this because I’ve survived other hard (non-fitness) things in my life, such as moving far away from home without anyone I knew, taking endless exams in college that I didn’t think I’d pass, doing presentations at work when I didn’t feel fully prepared, or even the TV segments I used to do about fashion on KSL Studio 5. Putting the pain in perspective brings two quotes to mind for me: “Do feared things first” (i.e., if you hate the cardio part of your workout, do that first and get it over with); and “It always seems impossible until it’s done” (just finishing the workout will teach you that you truly are capable of doing and becoming anything you want).
This article got me thinking about what really holds me back from finishing my workout challenges. On the positive side, at least I keep starting over instead of quitting altogether. But as many of you can probably relate, the frustration there is that you start to feel like you’re never making any forward progress. If my three takeaways don’t resonate with you, be sure to read the full Spark People article. I think it will give you some ideas for improving your fitness habits and help you be more aware of the things that are preventing you from making fitness a part of your lifestyle.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts if you can relate to any of these!
Thanks for reading. ;)
Photos by Ashlee Brooke.