As February begins, now’s the time that many people find their fitness resolutions wavering. Here, expert Kathleen Trotter shares how to take action to keep on track.
We all know we ought to eat less processed food, exercise more, drink more water and get more sleep. The problem is, knowing and doing are two different things.
Knowing something is easy but knowledge is only half the puzzle. The other, arguably more important, half is having the mindset to actually implement the knowledge.
No matter how excellent your information, if you can’t or don’t put it to use, the benefits remain elusive. Here’s what to do
Build your awareness muscle
Most of us overestimate our healthy choices and drastically underestimate our unhealthy ones: those foods we mindlessly eat, the workouts we skip, the degree to which we rely on coffee and the time we fritter way. You can’t create new healthier habits until you’re aware of your current ones.
Becoming aware of how you currently spend your day is crucial, as it’s the first step to transformation.
For the next two weeks, journal about how you spend your time, including what and when you eat, and your exercise levels. Make a note of your mood before and after exercise. Once you’re aware of your current choices and habits, you can see what needs to be improved and create realistic goals.
Make sure any short-term and long-term goals reflect how much time, money and energy you actually have (not how much you wish you had).
Figure out the ‘what’
In terms of fitness, workout ahead of time what exercise you’re going to do and when. Will you join a gym and go before work? Join a running group? Set up a home gym? Or play a sport? Plan to do something you enjoy, or at least something you don’t hate.
Decide on the ‘when’
By when do you want to accomplish your goal? Be specific. If you want to lose weight, decide how much and by when? Break the goal down into how much per week. And if you want to get stronger, what exactly does that look like and how will you achieve it so it’s measurable?
Work out the ‘how’
How will you fit in your training? What accommodations do you need to make? Do you need to rearrange who will drive the kids to school? Do you need to block off time during your workday? Do you need to use fitness apps or videos so you can train in your living room?
Know your final destination but be flexible on how you get there. No goal ever goes completely to plan. Deviations are an inherent part of life and thus you should have multiple back-up plans.
You will fall off of your health wagon; wobbles should be expected. You will miss a few workouts or eat too many biscuits at times. The trick is not to spiral into blame and shame when you do. The trick is to get back up again and carry on.
Learn as you go
All experiences are simply data, and if you can’t do something now, always finish the thought with the word ‘yet’. I can’t run yet. I don’t eat enough vegetables yet. When it comes to your fitness, everything is a learning process and the only failure is not trying.