Set Yourself Up For Success
(Photo circa 2015).
Hey friend! Can you believe that it's almost the end of January already?! It feels like it was just New Years Eve, and now the coldest month of the year is just about over.
So, how's your 2019 thus far? If you've set goals for the New Year, are you still working towards them, or has your motivation dwindled as we delve further into 2019? If that's the case- if you're finding it hard to stick to your best-laid-plans, that's OK. I may just have the answer to your fading resolutions. And that answer is...
MAKE IT HARD TO FAIL.
What do I mean by that? Glad you asked. There are several ways to set yourself up for success. Let's say you have a goal of working out 3 times a week, but after the first week of January, you've missed a few sessions, and are starting to feel the sinking heaviness of defeat. Rather than quitting on your goal and on yourself, I want you to first take a moment to honestly ask yourself if you truly want to make working out a part of your lifestyle. I'm guessing that the answer is "yes," because we rarely "resolve" to do something that we deeply don't want to. Now, perhaps you don't actually LIKE the act of working out, but you know that A) You always feel better after a solid session, and B) You appreciate the myriad of benefits that come with it: fat loss, greater strength, more energy, higher confidence, etc.
So. Now that you've determined that you truly do want to make working out a part of your life. What are some strategies to help you make those thrice weekly sessions?
1) Put it in your calendar. Seriously. Often times the mere act of jotting (or typing) something into our calendar helps ensure we actually do it. Often times, we don't like doing the things on our to-do list, but we do them anyways, because we HAVE to. Start thinking of working out as a non-negotiable. No matter how you feel, if on January 27th, you have a workout scheduled for 8 a.m., you SHOW UP and do the work. Also, putting things down on paper has the added effect of eliminating the emotional aspect of the task. It becomes more matter-of-fact, and you are therefore more likely to do it.
2) Make yourself accountable to someone. You can do this in several ways. You can make workout plans with a friend. You can book a session with a trainer. Or you can simply ASK someone to be your "Accountability Partner"- someone you check-in with after each workout. I have often been this person for others; and not just clients I train. Research shows that you are significantly more likely to keep your commitments if they involve another person.
3) Pick out your workout clothes the night before a scheduled session and put them in a place you are guaranteed to see them. Just pulling the outfit you are going to wear is an action towards the greater goal of working out, and further reinforces (to your own brain) that you have this self-care commitment.
4) Don't allow your brain to negotiate. This one is tricky. VERY tricky. Your brain will come up with a million excuses and bargaining tactics: "I'm tired." (That will disappear as soon as you start your workout). "I'm hungry." (Eat a healthy snack and then workout). "I'd rather go hang with my friends at the bar." (Meet them after your workout. You'll feel so much better). "I'll work out tomorrow instead." (Will you? Really?) Etc, etc, etc. But believe it or not, you DO have the power to simply shut your brain up. You simply don't allow it to start chattering at you.
5) In the famous words of Nike, "Just do it." There's truly no other way to say it. I have definitely annoyed clients, friends, and family with this statement. And I don't mean to be harsh when I say it, but it's quite simple: if you truly want to workout (and you've already determined that you do), then you just need to DO IT. No whining allowed. ;)
I used working out for this example, because...duh. But you can easily extrapolate these strategies to whatever your goal is. Often times, all you need is number 5. Just do it. Our goals are almost never as challenging as we think they are going to be. And even if they are, you will learn how to (and get better at) whatever it is you're attempting.
This is your wake-up call. Get back to those goals, make a solid plan. Commit to yourself. And just do it.
(Full disclosure: I didn't particularly FEEL like writing this blog/newsletter tonight, bc I really wanna watch bad TV all night, but I have a recurring reminder in my calendar to get a post up/out each week on Wednesday, and so I DID IT ANYWAY).
(and NOW I'm going to watch crappy TV).