This might help you stick with your fitness goals.
A friend recently reached out to me asking for advice on how to stick with a fitness plan.
She’s not trying to lose weight or dramatically shake up her life.
She just wants to sit less and move more.
“I just want to do something active every day,” she told me. “… without totally dreading it.”
I know this woman quite well. I know that her two sons — both strong, creative, wonderful young men — are the sunbeams of her life. More than anything else in the world, she loves spending quality time with her boys and she loves being a role model for them. She also loves traveling and visiting new places. And, out of all forms of physical activity, “walking” is something she doesn’t mind doing. In fact, she often enjoys it.
I asked her, “What if you had some kind of ‘fitness goal’ that combined your kids + travel + walking?”
We chatted a bit more and decided that she was going to “train” — just like a professional athlete — for a challenging walking trek across Ireland. It would take place in the summer of next year, giving her plenty of time to prepare. And her two boys would come along with her. Unforgettable mother-son family trip!
Once we settled upon this goal, my friend instantly went from feeling “blah” about exercising to invigorated. Why? Well, because now she actually has a “reason” to walk or head to the gym. She’s not just “working out” for vague, intangible purposes. She is TRAINING for a specific experience that feels exciting and meaningful.
Will she stick with her training plan? I hope so. I think so. That’s up to her. One thing is certain, though: she’s a LOT more likely to stay committed, now, because she’s emotionally invested in the process.
This isn’t nuclear physics, of course. Just basic psychology / human motivation.
How about you?
What is it going to take in order for you to become emotionally invested in your fitness goals (or any other goals, for that matter)?
To help you articulate your answer to that question: here’s a planning worksheet that I created for my friend.
You can copy & paste the following text into a document and fill it out for yourself, if it feels helpful to you.
(I love this worksheet. I hope you do, too.)
– MY FITNESS & MENTAL STRENGTH PLAN –
Experience / event on the horizon.
[This is where you describe the future event or experience that you are training for. Like: “A 10-day walking / hiking tour across Ireland with my kids. Summer 2016.”]
[This is where you describe the specific steps you will take to prepare / train. Like: “A 40 minute walk every day while listening to music or a podcast” or “A 60 minute group fitness class 3x a week: Mon – Wed – Fri.]
[This is where you describe what you, personally, need to do to set yourself up for success.]
– Scheduling your walk-time and group fitness classes several days (or even weeks) in advance, and put the times on your calendar, just like they are client appointments or doctor’s appointments.
– Laying out your workout clothes and shoes right by your bed, or wherever you get dressed, so that they’re impossible to miss.
– Having your kids or friends check in with you every day, via text, to encourage you, or joining an online accountability community like Stickk, or hiring a personal trainer, etc.
[This is where you write a powerful “statement” or “reminder” to yourself about WHY you are doing this tough work. Put this somewhere where you will read it / see it often. Or record an audio version of you saying the words aloud and re-play it during moments of laziness or inertia. Intense? Extreme? Silly? Maybe. But when you really want something, sometimes, you have to be ridiculous about it.]
Here’s a sample manifesto that you can riff on:
I am training to build endurance and strength because I am preparing for a challenging trek across Ireland with my sons.
I am so excited for this trip and for the chance to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with my kids.
Becoming more active is important to me not just because of this upcoming trek, but also because I want to be a powerful role model for my kids, for my clients, and other people I love.
There will be days when I don’t feel like walking or working out. I can face those feelings and choose to complete my workout anyway.
Because I am a strong, devoted woman. A woman who is capable of moving through resistance and doing difficult things. I am in charge. I am ready for this.
“There is nothing more powerful than a mind that has been made up.”
I hope the ideas & the worksheet I just shared are helpful to you.
If you write it and you mean it…
You can achieve it.