We are in the final 4 months of 2013. Have your New Years’ fitness resolutions gone to plan? If not, should you give up your goal of improving your health and fitness this year, grow bitter and curse the powers that be for making it so hard for you to get fit and be healthy?
Or should you take responsibility for your situation and make changes?
Read and act.
Seek motivation; don’t wait for it to fall into your lap.
From time to time I have people say to me something along the lines of, “it’s easy for you, you’re so motivated” or “it’s easy for you, you’re so fit” or “I wish I could be as motivated as you are”.
Well, here’s the thing. Firstly, it’s not always easy for me, and I’m not always highly motivated. My energy levels wax and wane. When my energy is low, I keep going because I know that if I just keep chipping away, sooner or later the tables will turn, my energy levels will pick up, and I’ll be ready to go. I don’t leap out of bed and think YIPPEE I’m going for a run every morning, but I do keep trying to do something pretty much every day. And that doesn’t always pan out.
Secondly, it hasn’t always been easy for people who are fit. Most people have had periods in their lives when their fitness levels have dropped and they have had to summon the motivation to get back into it, and I’m certainly one of them. That’s when a goal and a well thought out plan can make all the difference. You need a plan that will push you enough to get you fitter, but not push you so much that you overdo it and injure yourself. If you’re not sure about planning your training, seek help. You’ll be surprised how easy it all becomes if you have a plan set out before you in black and white.
Anyone can be motivated.
Motivation is not something reserved for people who are fitter than you, or “better” than you. Motivation is not something that descends from on high. Motivation is something that you need to learn how to use. I’m not highly “motivated” to cook dinner, clean my house, have a shower every day, clean my teeth every day, do the washing, do any number of mundane and boring things that I do each and every day, but I still do them. Sometimes, that’s just the way with exercise. It’s just got to be something that you do. Without thinking about it. Automatically. Then when the endorphins kick in, you’ll be unstoppable!
So how do you “just do it” when you really don’t feel like doing it?
- Take action today. Not some time next week, not tomorrow, TAKE ACTION TODAY. Even if it is just a little tiny step towards where you want to be, TAKE ACTION TODAY. Set out a training plan for the next month, enlist a friend to exercise with, resolve to get up 10 minutes earlier every day this week and do some simple body weight exercises at home like sit ups, push ups, squats and dips, all of which can be done in your own bedroom.
- Set yourself a goal. Specify it, by writing it down. Make it Realistic. Make sure you can Measure whether or not you hit that goal, make it Achievable, make it Rewarding, and make it Time limited. Yes, that’s right, make it a S.M.A.R.T. goal. It might not be what you first set out to achieve at the beginning of the year, but that’s OK. There’s no rule against reassessing your goals.
- Once you’ve set out one or two main fitness goals for the rest of the year, take some time to plan how you’ll reach this goal. And remember, keep it realistic. If you’ve never run before, perhaps planning for a 5km fun run before the end of the year will take your fancy. Far enough to be a challenge, but short enough to be very achievable. Just pick out a run, and “go for it”. “Go for it” setting out a training plan so that you know precisely what training you’ll be doing and when you’ll be doing it. If you don’t know what you’re doing, enlist help.
- Set out your reasons for doing it; write down why you want to achieve your goal. I’ve got a few reasons to exercise, but the main one is I like how it makes me feel. I like feeling strong, I like knowing I can run for a couple of hours without conking out! I guess it gives me a sense of power. There are lots of other reasons, but I reckon that’s my main one. Yours may be different. Whatever the reasons, write them down, and stick them up where you can see them. Right next to your alarm clock would be a great place!
- Bust your own excuses. Don’t let excuses keep you on the couch. Stuff like “I can’t because”, “I don’t know how” “I don’t know how” “I could if….” are all excuses. Catch yourself when you make excuses that are preventing you from being as fit and healthy as you’d like to be. When you do catch yourself, ask yourself these questions: What is the truth? What do I want? What action can I take? (If you’re anything like me, the truth is you don’t want to finish the year fatter then when you started).
Let’s be very clear about this.
Your feet aren’t going to get up and start running all by themselves, are they?
You need to make a decision to act.
If you need help, remember that’s what we are here for.
You just need to ask for it.