I realize that not everyone has had a life fueled by movement, like myself. I know that my desire to stretch my day in any way I can just so I can fit in some movement here and there, isn't the norm. To exercise daily, like you'd have a cup of coffee, isn't an intrinsic habit for all women. But for me, exercise is my fuel - and without some form of movement daily, I feel off. Kind of foggy. Really tight. Out of balance.
Like every client (mom) I work with, I too have to plan more if I intend to exercise regularly. And, I know that the planning can sometimes feel overwhelming. The biggest barrier that prevents women from diving into self-care, diet changes and increased movement, is ourselves. It isn't in the doing that we struggle, it's in the starting.
The reality is, as moms, finding time for ourselves isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be downright impossible unless we wake up before dawn to sneak it in before chaos ensues. Health goals that may have been obtainable before starting a family begin to seem out of reach - and rather than being motivating, the idea of achieving those goals becomes daunting.
We set high expectations when it comes to fitness and nutrition, because we like the idea of hitting those goals. In our minds, we can see success despite the details of juggling a family and other responsibilities. What ends up happening though, is when goals are set too high, we end up talking ourselves right out of the game.
You've seen it or you've been there.
A week into a program, a gym commitment, or some other thing on the market - you start to doubt, lose motivation and create barriers.
Any of these thoughts sound familiar?
It feels impossible. You resign yourself to the fact that there just isn’t time now that you have kids and a full-time job and dinner to cook and and...
Nothing works. You’ve tried it before, and failed. Every diet program, packaged shake, workout class and fitness video on the market - and nothing speaks to you.
I'm too tired. With all the responsibilities and stress you just want to come home and sit on the couch. You can't imagine moving a muscle!
We “talk” about making time to get into shape or adding in more real foods but sometimes what comes out of our lips doesn’t result in action.
Instead, there’s a lot of inaction going on.
Getting past the self-sabotage and into the game isn't always easy, but you CAN do it.
Here are a handful of tips to move you from inaction to action.
Find an accountability partner. I know this term is overused (we've all heard it a million times) but its applicable to life. Going through your day-to-day without support and companionship would be demotivating, lonely, and just plain boring. In making transformations in our life, especially overall health, having someone around to keep you in check is helpful. And, if that someone has similar goals they are working on, even better - you can bond over shared challenges, share triumphs and maybe even sweat together. (And hey, if it's your significant other - maybe even burn a few extra calories in between the sheets.)
Do activities you love - If you hate running, the likelihood that you will get out and go for a run three times a week is slim. But, if you love being on a bicycle with the wind blowing against your face and enjoying a scenic view - you will probably get out and move (and make an effort to make sure you can) if it's on a bike. So, hello! Stop doing things you hate and do an activity that you enjoy - you'll get your body moving AND you'll be happy. Sounds better, right?
Break out the calendar - I find in working with my clients that one of the most common excuses challenges for not doing the work, is juggling time. What I tell them to do, is to sit down with their partner and dial in days/times that they can take 30-60 minutes for themselves, while your significant other watches the kids. Or, if you have childcare coverage - block out times in your day that are dedicated to you. Schedule that time as if it is an appointment or meeting - and don't cancel. Encourage your partner to do the same so that both of you feel you are getting your own time - it will do wonders for your relationship.
Discover your "healthy". Not someone else's. Part of my job is to help clients understand what they envision “healthy” being for them - not what someone else has told them it should be. It’s when we stop comparing ourselves to others & stop listening to what society tells us is right, that we begin to listen to ourselves. What may work for one person may be completely counterproductive for another. And, things change. What works for you now might not be what will work for you in a year - and the only way you will be able to respond to that is by practicing awareness. Awareness of your body, your mind and your spirit. Once you reach your best self, your "healthy", you will become acutely aware of how you feel moving forward. As a result, you’ll able to respond - instead of continually doing something that is ineffective or harmful.
Be realistic. Set small goals (10 minutes here, a vegetable there) that exceed the short-term and become habit changing. Ten minutes, is ten minutes. If that's all the time you have do a quick session of abs or walk the block. Finding little pockets of time to do something will get you in the habit of moving when you can - and on the days you have more time, it will feel more natural to get a little sweaty. Adding in one new vegetable a day to a meal is more effective than trying to cut out all the bad stuff. Ease into it - eventually the good will push out the bad.
Be patient. Discovering your "healthy" is an exercise in consistency and time, not a test in how fast you can get there. Drop the language of, “I just need to lose the baby weight by summer” or “I need to fit into my pre-baby jeans by the time I go back to work” - these are recipes for disaster. Quick blitz’s that for some might be motivators for overall permanent change, but most of the time don't result in long-term transformation. Big changes don't happen over night. Big changes don't happen in 30-days. Big changes, changes in habit, take place over time - the real work comes in laying out your purpose, creating a game plan and making the shift with one small change at a time.
Allow yourself room for missteps - You have a million obligations in this new chapter of your life, and it’s time to give yourself permission to set expectations that you can meet. Of course you can aim high, but give yourself permission to have a few setbacks during the process. Slow and steady wins the race, or in this case, helps you treat your body as an ally instead of constantly berating it. Forgive yourself when you can't find the time to fit in a workout or you have an extra glass of wine at dinner. You are human.
Everyone falls victim to self-sabotage in some area of their life. The key to kicking it to the curb is in setting yourself up for success from the beginning.