In a recent newsletter I was describing the range of goals that women tell me that they’re working towards: everything from I want to strengthen, improve flexibility, get more toned, strengthen the core, flatten my tummy or lose weight. In my mind, your goal is always valid, it’s never my job to tell you what’s important to you. In addition to your goals, my goal for the women I work with is to always help you feel empowered, strong and confident in your skin. What fascinates me is that most of the time we know the types of things that we need to be doing to move in the direction of our goals, things like: mover our bodies more, eat well to nourish and satisfy, drink lots of water, balance our hard work with restorative activities that are great for our bodies and our minds, managing our sleep as best as possible – this is level 1.0 stuff, pretty basic. The tricky part is actually getting these things done, that is: aligning our actions with our intentions. It’s one thing to *say and another thing to *do. Today I want to go beyond those basics to give you guys 5 tools to move the dial towards your goals.
Before I get started, just a quick heads up – Summer (July/August) outdoor classes are open for registration in midtown Toronto. Classes are in Cedarvale park and include day-time stroller-fit for moms and babies and evening women’s boot camp. Check out the schedule here, and you can register for summer classes directly online.
If we’re going to go beyond the basics and move the dial on our health and wellness we need to dive deeper on this and move past the things we already know.
- Face your truth – take an inventory of where you’re at right now. I find with my clients sometimes we think we’re doing the things we need to be doing, but if we truly take an inventory, or do a few days of tracking, maybe we aren’t doing those things as consistently as we say we are. If you’re honest with yourself are you doing those no-brainers? Do you move your body with intensity regularly? Are you getting your P’s and N’s (protein, produce, nutrient dense foods)? Are you drinking water, sleeping enough, including some restorative activities into your week to manage your stress? Sit down and ask yourself these questions to get a true assessment of where you are right now. Notice and name these things without judging yourself. If you’re not feeling that you’re progressing towards your goals, are you actually doing these things? What are the things that you need to be doing to get yourself there? Write them down.
- Schedule your priorities – I heard a really great insight the other day on Grace and Grit Podcast, it went something like this: Don’t tell me your priorities, show me your schedule. YES! We’re really good at scheduling work commitments, family commitments, activities for our kids and we’d rarely bail on those things simply because we don’t feel like it. Why shouldn’t we also schedule the things that make a difference for our health and wellness goals – put your workouts onto your calendar, schedule a massage for yourself, block of a little time for meal planning. Schedule the things that are important to YOU.
- Get picky about how you spend your time – Following my previous point, this is the part where people say there are only so many hours in the day. Of course, that’s true, that’s why you need to be ready to say no to the things that don’t serve you so that you can say yes to more of the things that do. I’ll give you some examples of the things that I’m picky about: I choose to watch less TV and do a little less social media scrolling because it allows me to get enough sleep so that I can wake up early to train. I’m picky about this because my workouts energize and fuel me. They matter to me, so cutting the screen time at night is a worthwhile trade off. I am willing to get selfish and say no to social plans in the evenings if I’m feeling tired and depleted – I don’t feel bad about it. As an introvert, it’s important for me to manage my energy, and sometimes that means sitting on the couch with no pants on trumps going out to socialize. Get picky with your time and own it, especially if you feel like you’re stretched for time and not moving in the direction of your goals.
- Get comfortable with discomfort – The truth is that change isn’t easy and in order to make change we’ll need to practice doing things that we aren’t already good at. Change is a skill that comes with a good at least a little discomfort, resistance and inconvenience. When you’re moving towards your goals, you’ll be facing these feelings regularly. The difference between successfully moving towards your goals will be your ability to move through these feelings instead of backing away. Know that this is normal.
- Get accountable – If you’ve read this entire post, firstly, know that I appreciate it. And if you’re here, like me, you’re probably one of the people who does better with an added layer of accountability. Find ways that are meaningful to track the completion of tasks like a training journal or an app that tracks your steps and sleep so that you can actually see whether your actions are in line with your intentions. Better yet find a real, live person that you have to answer to, if that’s what helps you to stay committed, whether that’s a friend who you train with, a fitness or nutrition coach or a personal trainer.
The bottom line is that when we get serious about making progress we need to level up and dive deep into the process. This takes more than just eating our veggies and drinking our water. It takes patience, persistence, commitment and time – boring and un-sexy, but the truth. I’ll leave you with a quote from my coach, because I think it relates to the way we sometimes look at people who appear to be super-fit, super-successful or just all around have their shit together. Here’s the truth:
“What looks like luck is simply a shitload of little action steps take day after day.” – Jill Coleman