I’m willing to bet you found a workout routine you like. Discovered the perfect diet to follow and decided today is the day you finally put it all together.
Then life hits.
You miss some workouts. You “cheat” on your diet. You’re left starting fresh all over again. But what’s crazy is the same cycle repeats itself.
In her book, No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, author Michelle Segar explains this as the vicious cycle of failure.
You start with the wrong reasons for wanting to get healthier. The process is seen as a chore, or something that you’re supposed to (have to, need to) do. You fail and justify the failure with an excuse.
You’re left searching for a new reason to get healthier – and the process starts all over again.
But today you’re going to do it differently and because you’re doing it differently, you’re going to get different results.
The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”-William James
EXERCISE #1: REDEFINE WHAT COUNTS AS EXERCISE
Do you only give yourself credit for exercise if it lasts a certain amount of time? If you burn a specific amount of calories? If you sweat, if it’s hard, if it hurts, if your heart rate gets to a certain level?
You’re not alone.
I use to be like that too and it’s hard to get away from that belief. For years we’ve been told very vaguely that we’re supposed to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 days per week or 10 minutes of vigorous intensity activity 3 days per week.
I’ve had clients who’ve scheduled a workout after work but ended up canceling it because they had to stay 15 minutes late to finish up a last-minute assignment. Upon asking them why they didn’t just get their workout in 15 minutes later – instead of a 30 minute workout why not just 15 minutes? They usually respond with something like this:
Because it would have only been 15 minutes. Why bother, that doesn’t even count as exercise.”
WTF! Of course it counts. Something is always better than nothing.
It’s not a lack of exercise that most people struggle with – it’s a lack of movement.
We sit more than ever before and according to Marc Hamilton at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Inactivity is as serious a health concern as smoking.
Is it really that you don’t have TIME to exercise and eat healthier food or is it that you don’t have the 60, 45, or 30 minutes you’ve defined it takes to do it?
SNEAKY WAYS TO MOVE MORE: AKA – SWTM
- Taking the long way: This is where you will purposefully park further away, take a longer walk to work, use the stairs more often, walk or bike versus driving.
- Stand More: At your desk, on the phone, while in conversation. Get creative and stand as often as you can. Or squat!
- Walkie and Talkie: Take walking meetings
- Active waiting: This is when you decide to stand, walk around, do lunges, or bear crawls while waiting for something. Stand and move around at your kid’s games, do a few squats or stand at the doctor’s office, etc.…
- While Cleaning: Dance, do lunges while vacuuming, or 5 burpees every 5 minutes it takes you to clean.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it. Discover ways you can create more movement in your day. Take a look at your schedule and see what you’ve got going on. How can you create more movement within the daily activities of your life?
- Sporting events (kids games)
- The office
- At home
- While running errands
- As opportunities to connect with loved ones
- Stuff that doesn’t feel like exercise (hikes, climbing, crawling, etc.…)
TAKE ACTION EXERCISE
Use the Sneaky Ways to Move worksheet. Keep it with you for those days you’re rushing around and can’t think straight. If you’re a real rebel, set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour that reminds you to move.
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. – Winston Churchill
EXERCISE #2: GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO GET HEALTHY, FIT, AND BADASS USING DAILY SELF-CARE AND COMPASSION
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Some of us are just better at managing our priorities than others.
I know your health is a priority to you. But you’re having a hard time making it one. Everything and everybody else comes first.
- Your work/career
- the kids
- your significant other
- your friends
- your family
EVERYTHING comes before you do.
You’re so busy taking care of everything and everyone else. But let me ask you this.
Who’s taking care of you?
Give yourself permission to get healthier.
Many of us play a lot of different roles in our lives.
- Business owner
- Flag football captain
- PTA member
This list probably goes on and on for some of you.
And if you’re like me, you want to be good, if not great, if not friggin PERFECT in all of those roles.
Doing a great job in the roles that we play feels good and on the surface it looks good. But you and I both know that trying to be everything to everyone, and no one to yourself, can lead to: Burnout, frustration, moodiness, and even anxiety and depression.
- Missing your kids practice doesn’t make you a bad parent.
- Not staying late at the office or sleeping with your phone doesn’t make you a terrible employee
- Asking your significant other to prepare dinner this week doesn’t make you an awful person.
- Asking for help with chores, errands, or simply asking for your own time now and then doesn’t mean you’re a shit head.
Chew on this for a second.
Do you think you’d be a better Husband, Wife, Father, Mother, Employee, Student, or whatever your roles are, if you were the healthiest, most confident, and energetic version of yourself?
I think so.
This may be the hardest exercise for some of you to tackle. But I cannot stress enough how important it is. There are a few resources to help you prioritize not only your health but also yourself.
WHAT YOU CAN YOU DO RIGHT NOW
Before moving forward I suggest taking as much time as you need to complete these worksheets.
- Daily Self-Care Needs
- Communicating Your Needs with Loved Ones
- Weekly Self-Compassion Checklist
- Busting your beliefs
Commit today to stop being controlled by your shouldve’s, have to’s, need to be’s, or supposed to’s.
Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. -Maria Robinson
EXERCISE #3: IDENTIFY YOUR LOGS
Have you ever seen a log jam? I guess it doesn’t really matter. I’m sure you know what one looks like whether you’ve seen one or not.
I think we can agree. They look huge and overwhelming. Huge logs blocking the flow of water, nothing can get through, and it all just keeps pilling up.
But it’s not the hundreds or even thousands of logs that are blocking the flow of water. It’s usually just one or two of them, and if those are removed everything seems to flow effortlessly.
In the terrible metaphor I gave above, log jams are the limiting factors that are keeping you from being successful. All you need to do is identify the one or two big ones blocking your flow and you’re on your way.
- For some of you that log might be knowledge. You might have no clue what to do. How to do it. Or where to even begin.
- Some of you might be too “busy” and struggle with creating time for your health.
- Maybe skills are your log. You’re not a cook. You’ve never really been active and are not sure how do certain exercises. You struggle socially and are nervous about going into a gym.
- For others it may be your environment. Your family, friends, or other loved ones may be making it hard for you. Your home or work might be influencing some of your behaviors. You’re cultural background or ethnicity might also have something to do with it. “I’m Asian, I have to eat rice.”
- Or maybe you just need to know what you’re good at. What your superpowers are.
TAKE ACTION EXERCISE
I want you to identify some of your logs and Superpowers. Head over to your toolbox, download the worksheets, and get to work
Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. -C.S. Lewis