Everyone talks about the first of the year with optimism, passion, and good intentions. Gyms are packed, alarms are set, and workout plans are prepared, clipped and printed. But what happens when it’s time to get off the couch? The weight section of gyms are intimidating, we become self-conscious, and every nutrition label at the grocery store looks like a foreign language, impossible to decipher. We can feel defeated before we even begin. Usually getting started is the hardest part of the journey to a healthier lifestyle. While I’ve been active pretty much since birth (thanks, Mom and Dad!) I really started my independent health and fitness lifestyle post college graduation. Through my own struggles and triumphs I can say with confidence that there is no one way to find success, but you have to realize that no one can do it for you. You have to want it, and you have to appreciate it, and YOU have to work for it. If you don’t go after what you WANT, you’ll never reach your goals. If you don’t take the first step forward, you’ll always stay in the same place.
Below is my advice to get yourself going, and KEEP going down a healthier road. It’s not going to be easy, it’s actually going to be hard as hell. You won’t see results today or tomorrow, but three months from now you’ll feel better than ever, and you’ll LOOK healthier and happier.
Don’t strive for perfection, if you do you will most likely be disappointed. Instead strive for progress. Live each day working toward your end goal. Each morning is a new day and a chance to start fresh, regardless of what has happened yesterday. Yesterday was terrible? Forget about it, it is in the past. Remember that every change, even ones for the better have drawbacks, setbacks and challenges. It’s a part of the process and that process is an awesome journey. Stay positive and keep the bigger picture in mind. Even a workout that didn’t come together as planned can contribute to long time gains and your overall progress. Feet that move forward despite how slowly are still always in motion.
Hold Yourself Accountable
I keep myself accountable by scheduling my workouts for the month, making grocery lists and cooking for the week. I set aside time to do all of this and I MAKE myself see my intentions through. If I don’t prepare myself for the week ahead I’m setting myself up for failure. By writing things down I know exactly what I’ll be eating for the day, what my workout will be, and it becomes really easy to hold myself responsible for doing it. I saw a quote on Pinterest the other day, “Beyonce has 24 hours in her day.” I LOVE that. (Bow down.) We’re all working with the same amount of hours, people, plan your day wisely and you CAN fit everything in. You don’t have time? I call bull shit.
Accept Your Choices and Live in the Present
If I make the decision to not workout or to enjoy an indulgent meal, I do it and I live it. I accept the fact that I’ll go about the rest of my day without a sweat or with a few extra calories/carbs in my system and that’s that. Shoulda/woulda/coulda’s have no place in my mission and if you’re thinking about that it means you’re living in the past. If I decide to forgo a workout in favor of staying in bed and watching Real Housewives of wherever and waking up slowly then I ENJOY it and move on with my life because that most likely means that my alarm will sound at 4am the next day. Woof. We’re all human guys, relax.
Move, eat and live with a purpose. If you’re working out make sure your form is correct and you’re executing drills correctly. Don’t ever sacrifice good form in favor of weight, resistance, incline, or speed. If you’re not comfortable that means you’re not in control. Be mindful of how you move and make sure that each motion contributes to strength, endurance and your internal health.
Likewise, if you’re eating or cooking be mindful of what you’re consuming. Think about where your food is going, and how it is being used. Will you eat something that aids in muscle gains or recovery? Produce energy? Or will it just be processed as waste without providing any real benefit? Think about that. Make the food you eat work for you.
A few other tid bits to help you on your way:
• Keep your fridge stocked with healthy selections and treats. Remember this post here? If your fridge has healthy food in it, you’ll always eat healthy food. Simple!
• Surround yourself with friends and family who will be supportive and NOT sabotage your goals.
• Make your workouts fun by adding variety and find a buddy to get your sweat on with. The theory of “the more the merrier” applies to all facets in life.
• Get creative with meals! You don’t have to give up flavor in order to have whole clean foods. Don’t just be creative, be resourceful. Scour the internet, it is a wealth of resources and there are so many websites like this one and this one where you can find amazing clean recipes.
It’s all about accountability my friends, I think it is worth repeating, it has to come from within, and no one else can make you do it. You just have to want it. Do you? Well go get it.
Image via: Free Fitness UK