I woke up today and I was 100% on board with my new wellness plan. I was firm in my conviction that today was the first day of the rest of my life. I was feeling good!
I got to work and passed the muffin shop with a sparkle in my eye, patting myself on the back for not even glancing in the window. I sat down at my desk with a bottle of water, ready to face the day and stick to my lifestyle choices, but then it hit. The aroma of freshly-baked cinnamon rolls gently enveloped me.
So I ate one. And then I ate another. And another. In that first moment when I caved, so did my day, my dreams, my resolutions.
Have you ever had a day like this?
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is a phrase many of us are probably familiar with as it's similar to the way we may feel when it comes to getting fit. Just like my story, many of us set our expectations high and when we slip up — even slightly — we not only feel like failures, but we simply give up. We throw in the towel and succumb to the self-fulfilling prophecy that we'll be unfit or overweight for life.
Our intentions, no matter what they are, mean nothing unless we are willing to DO something about them. No matter how hard we think about getting fit and healthy, the reality is that it's not our endless wanting that counts, it's our endless determination. So how do we develop this necessary trait?
1. Realize there's a difference between determination and perfection.
When committing to getting fit, we must first and foremost realize that "health" is a nonstop process. If you slip up, don't dwell. Take a deep breath and move on. For a truly fit and healthy life, we must first be mentally strong, something no diet plan or personal trainer can give us. It comes from within and is strengthened over time. Always remember to keep your end goal in mind and don't let bumps in the road throw you off course.
2. Update your thought process.
If you think that starving yourself and skipping meals is the key to lasting health and weight loss, you need to update the way you're approaching this journey. It's time to get educated about our bodies, health and nutrition. The image of health for many of us is a toned body, one we feel comfortable in, one we feel good and healthy in.
But being toned and fit comes from workouts, weight training and eating four-to-six meals a day (when the "meals" aren't bags of chips or break room cookies). When we're educated about nutrition, we realize that skipping meals will only get us further from our fitness and health goals. Get up to date on how your body works or else you'll never truly understand how and why we gain and loose muscle vs fat.
3. Success needs support.
When we work out with friends, we're more likely to stick with it. Why? Because when we don't show up they miss us, call us, test us, wonder where we are and don't let us quit. A workout group or a friend you can talk to about your journey is vital to your success. Not only can they offer support, but they'll also hold you accountable. Never discount this simple act that can make or break our success with fitness goals. When we work out with friends with similar goals, we're more likely to reach our own.
4. Stop talking and start doing.
When we tell the world that we intend to start a new health and wellness routine, we build hype and expectation in ourselves and in others. While putting our intentions out into the universe is undoubtedly a first good step, it can also be a slippery slope. How many people are "just about" to start a new fitness plan? Starting their new healthy eating plan "next week"?
Of course you can tell the world what you intend to do, but to really be successful you must first show it. Stop talking and start doing. When we close our mouths and move our bodies towards a fitness goal, we win.
5. Motion comes from emotion.
The most powerful tool you have in your arsenal is the human soul on fire. When we're emotional about what we want and passionate about our body image, and we use that emotion to attain our fitness goals, the sky is the limit.
Fitness is a journey and the most important aspect of this journey is our ability to begin and stick with it. The tips above help us do that! Small, consistent changes in our lives do more for us mentally, physically and emotionally than any quick fix will ever do. So stop intending and start doing.