12 tips to help you get there
When we’re busy, lots of things can fall by the wayside, including daily exercise and healthy eating habits. The fact is, when we take care of ourselves, we’re in a much stronger place to deal with stress, to think clearly and to have the energy to do what we want and need to do – at work, home and in our community.
Here’s a few tips for sticking to your most important priority – your health.
Don’t wait for change to happen – make it happen. Commit to a time to exercise as though it is an appointment like any other you have during the day. Find a time that will suit you best and work your day around this appointment. The hardest step is often just making that mental commitment. So plan ahead, put reminders in your calendar, get your workout gear ready the day before, and do what you need to get daily exercise part of your routine. Working out is a priority worth keeping.
If you seriously can’t schedule in a Pilates class, that doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea of exercise today. Something is always better than nothing. Think laterally – what else could you do? Can you swim, go for a run, do some interval training, skip – all of which don’t need much preparation and because they’re high intensity, will make your workout time efficient.
Focus on the outcomes
The clear head and exhilaration you’ll feel on finishing a workout – even if you thought you were too busy, or not in the mood – will highlight to you the reason to keep up the good work. Exercise helps alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression and helps boost your mood, enabling you to cope with whatever you’re facing. And let’s not forget that sleek, toned body you’re coveting.
More motivation with friends
Do you need some external motivation? If like to cycle, get on Strava with friends, try Runkeeper or a similar app if you’re a runner, join up for the Studio Pilates 30 Day Challenge to compete against yourself, or simply invite some friends along to class.
Share your goal
Think about what you want to achieve through your healthy living options. How you want to feel, a milestone you want to reach, an activity you want to achieve. Commit to a goal, make it specific and measurable, then share it – whether with a close friend, a Facebook post, or even a letter to yourself. A commitment to your goal will make it much easier to stay on track.
Track your successes
You need to measure what you’re doing to be able to celebrate your successes – both large and small – along the way. The more you see how far you’ve come, the more you’ll want to keep up the good work.
Have realistic expectations
Expecting big results soon after starting a new fitness program provides a good excuse to give up when they don’t come to fruition. Your body WILL respond to healthy eating and regular exercise, just give it time. And while you’re patiently waiting for change in body tone or weight loss, start observing how you are feeling – physically and psychologically. You may in fact be making lots of big steps forward in terms of having more energy, better sleep, or a happier outlook all mini goals along the path to achieving your bigger goals. Sometimes, you might find that these “incidental” achievements become the most important to you.
Mix it up
Even if the body is prepared, sometimes our mind lets us down and refuses to accompany our body in the climb out of bed for another session of whatever it is you do daily. So mix it up a little: if you do high intensity training, try something low intensity for a day or two, and vice versa. Find activities you really enjoy so the workout isn’t a chore. OK, we hear you, sometimes no matter how much you love what you do, it feels like a chore. So mix it up and come back to it refreshed. Variety will also keep your metabolism guessing, making it work harder, and delivering faster results.
Stop the negative head chatter
Learn to be your own cheerleader – encourage yourself when you’re putting in great effort, tell yourself how well you’re doing, and why you deserve to look after your health. Reward yourself when you hit mini milestones. Next time you’re about to say something negative about yourself, think of yourself as a friend. What words of encouragement would you use for them? Give yourself a confidence boost with some inspirational words or music to get you back on the right track. Give yourself credit for every step you take towards your fitness goals. Love yourself unconditionally. That means not criticising your body – but respecting it for what it can do.
Sometimes, ironically, we put the brakes on our own achievements. Sometimes, fear of change or failure or uncertainty or feeling uncomfortable holds us back from what we really want. Other times it can be about waiting for “the right time”, or worse “the perfect time”. This fear can be buried in our subconscious, so if you’re sabotaging your efforts to get to where you want to be, take the time to tap into what might be happening behind the scenes emotionally with you.
Create the space for change
Sometimes we try tackling too many things at once, so much so, that we become overwhelmed.
Too busy to exercise? Really? Can you swap out some TV or Facebook time for some healthy body time? Australian adults spent an average of 13 hours a week watching TV, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics – that’s almost 20 Studio Pilates sessions! lf you can’t make room for big changes just yet, focus on one small step in the right direction. Now another.
Remember, every positive action you take, whether you lose weight or not, is changing your body from the inside out. You might not be able to see it yet, but you will in time.