Sunshine on my shoulders, my face, the garden…for days and days of warming delight. This unseasonably long stretch of weather has put us about 5 weeks ahead of the “usual” spring schedule so I’m adding dandelions to my salad bowls and admiring gorgeous blossoms in vases. Wow.
The delightful weather has also meant hiking, biking and walking without thermal underwear and wool sweaters! I’ve ramped up my exercise sessions in duration, intensity and frequency because I have a set destination for August 11th: the summit of Mt. St. Helens! Since this trek is neither a technical climb (requiring ropes and crampons, etc.) nor a stroll around the base of the mountain, to say that I am climbing or hiking this majestic peak doesn’t do the descriptive trick, so I’m declaring that I will be “cliking” the mountain. Spell checker, go punt.
I bet there are a few of you who 1) set some health and fitness goals around the turn of the calendar in January and, 2) may not be where you thought you’d be at this point in your progress. So here’s a wee nudge (or push!) and a handful of tips to get back on track with what you envisioned 2 months ago.
- Let me guess: Your #1 “reason” (we’ll come back to that word choice in a moment) for not exercising/working out is that you just “don’t have time.” Ha! How many non-work hours per day are you sitting on your keester in front of a screen, either watching television or sucked into your Facebook page on your computer/tablet/phone? Shut down the gadgets, get up, out and move! My friend Sylvia has the perfect response to this “reason”: “I work full-time, have 3 boys under the age of 6, tend our home, engage in my marriage and work out 5 times per week. No more excuses, which are not reasons.”
- Quit defining your health, fitness, life, and yourself by your limitations. “I can’t __________.” “I don’t _________.” “I won’t ______.” What do these limitations have in common, no matter what you put in the blanks? Yep, negative declarations. And every time you state or think them, you have reinforced this truth to an audience of 65 trillion = the number of cells in your body. Congratulations! You’ve just programmed your body with the reality of your choosing. As one of my teachers said several years ago: Argue for your limitations and they’re yours.
- You have choice in every breath, every moment. What do you choose? Whining and complaining as a victim (a vicious cycle) or deciding what you want to accomplish (lose 10 lbs., increase your energy, bench press 250…)? Begin with the first step that is attainable and reasonable to reach your vision. Perhaps that is declaring that you will walk 10 minutes three times per week.
- Have a real honest, I mean bare bones honest, chat with yourself. What is your ultimate goal or desire around your health, life, body? Do you want to look better, feel better (Guess what? The two go hand in hand: when you look good, you feel good and vice versa.), lose weight or build core strength?
- Pick one, yes only ONE, outcome to pursue and work towards. What’s the first action step to begin that you can do right now as you decide on your choice? Keep it small and attainable so the self-sabotage, set-up to fail cycle is waylaid. Many peeps set grandiose goals in a very puffed up illusory state (hello ego!) such as: “I will walk 3 miles every day!” If you’re currently walking 2.5 miles every day, that’s a reasonable and very doable goal. If you haven’t walked around the block since you were 3, you’ve already lost and the ice cream will be screaming for some hang time with you. A more reasonable declaration instead could be: “I will walk for 10 minutes 3 days per week.” Do this for 2 weeks or longer before ramping up the ante. It is the small steps that lead to sustainable change and this is what you want, not an accumulation of false starts and the same body.
- Set an “arrival date” to attain your goal. Register for an event, like a fundraising walk or run or hiking trek to look forward to. I experienced the fun & power of this back in the early ’00s when training for biking trips in Europe. It was a supreme motivator to train toward a specific goal with a deadline.
- Celebrate each victory, no matter how small you think it may be. You not only can do this, you are doing this!
This is your life. Create it as you wish it to be. Be the cause for how it is, not the effect.