Saturday, January 11, 2014

"We Must, We Must...

Staying on Track 

We must increase our bust!"  Am I the only one who's life was forever changed by (in middle school) the book that quote is from?  First person to name it gets a prize :)

We are a week and a half into the new year.  Did you start the year off feeling strong and productive?  Are you loosing steam or becoming discouraged yet?  Do you find that in your efforts to increase things (i.e. value, productivity, monetary savings, meaningful relationships, level of fitness, etc.), you are like a hamster on a wheel, making the same consistent efforts but falling into the cycle of maintaining your current statistics.  Much like the girls in the book I quoted who would do the same chest thrust movement repeatedly to try to increase their cup size, I often find myself falling into repetitive patterns that don't get me the results I want.  So, what's the plan?

I started the year off being productive and optimistic.  A few obstacles presented themselves (or reappeared, as it were) which momentarily threw me off course.  Thankfully, I recognized my physical and mental reaction right away and jumped into "Plan of Action" mode.  Plan: Stay on Task.  How?  I made a list of things that needed to be done.  I predetermined that the list needed to be 10 items long.  Anything longer than that is too overwhelming and nothing gets done.  Much less and the tasks become too vague and all encompassing and again, nothing gets done.  The list was the easy part.  Once the list was complete, I put the items in order of least appealing to most appealing (with the exception of one because it was a precursor to another).  I decided if I commit to doing the least appealing first, I'll be more likely to complete the tasks as they will get more enjoyable as I start to lose steam.  Aaaand, now I'm back in the driver seat, with a plan; external obstacles get off of the road as I am not braking for you.

(And I hope I don't get stuck behind this guy, as I won't be braking for boiled peanuts either…unless I need a snack)


Because this is supposed to be a fitness-y type blog and you may be right on track as far as your other tasks are concerned, let me apply this rant of advice to your physical fitness which, coincidentally will also overflow into other aspects of your life.

Do you have fitness goals that seem overwhelming or unachievable?  Begin with the end in mind (my favorite way to accomplish any task).  Choose the date in which you'd like to have accomplished this goal (be realistic).  Create 10 steps to help you get there.  Check out my example:

This can and definitely should be customized to your own fitness goals, but this would totally work if you are looking to adopt a more healthy life in general.  If you'd like me to help you create a list structured to work with your own goals, I would absolutely LOVE that!  Please let me know!

***Disclaimer***I understand this list is not all encompassing and I could easily write a list of 1,000 ways to get healthier, this is just an example of what one could begin with.

Now, allow me to elaborate on this plan:

Let's pretend this is the perfect list for you.  Reorganize the list in the order of least favorite to most appealing.  Now, decide the timeline of your goal.  For fun, let's pretend your goal is to lower cholesterol by 20 points, trim waist by 5 inches, increase energy levels and improve muscle tone in a 6 month period (and yes, it's totally fine to lump related goals into one plan).  If your timeline is 6 months, ideally you will be practicing all the steps before the timeline has ended.  We have 26 weeks, so if we implement one new habit every other week, by the 20th week you will be well established in your plan and have 6 additional weeks to be fully productive and working toward your goal.  You may choose to adopt 2 at a time (as many of these tasks work together in pairs), then you can add 2 new ones monthly.  When the six months is up, you can assess your results and define new goals or a continuation of current goals.  The best part is, these healthy habits will be a part of your life now, so you get to create a whole new To Do list!

Why start with the least desirable first?  Many would prefer to ease into with the easiest to achieve first. By all means, do what's best for you. But in my opinion, if you start with the least desirable, you will get more time to practice it (further committing it to habitry) or, if it is not something that must me done regularly, you can get it done and over with.

If you need clarification on this particular list I have posted, please comment or private message me for details.  I know some of them are obvious, but some could be clarified with more detail.  For instance, I offer meal plans and shopping lists that can help you with the first 2 items on the list.  Number 4 and 5 can be closely related, but dividing them into 2 separate steps give you the opportunity to make fitness a social event as well as making it a more individualized experience.  Number 6,7 & 8 are all ways to increase activity by filling in gaps of time you didn't even realize you had (so no additional time is needed).

Shew!  Sorry, I got a little long winded on this one!  If you made it all the way to the end, THANK YOU!  I appreciate anyone who is willing to skim through my rants.  Now it's your turn to share with me!

Do you have an approach to tackling a goal?
What is one of your goals for 2014?

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