Don't Just Talk About it be About it
If all 365 days were packed into a week, I argue Monday would encompass all of January. I have always found January to be the worst month of the year. It’s dark when I get up and when I get home. The weather’s shite – any reason to go outside seems unnecessary. You’ve got to return to work after a lengthy period of blissful laziness which also means going outside. Add that my squat rack is often occupied (everyone at my gym knows I use the same one), there is a queue for the treadmills and ellipticals, and someone is always using the battle ropes, this month tests my patience. Regardless, I love the “January People” (a.k.a. “New Year, New Me” people) as they truly are motivated and in turn, motivate me.
This year I made it a point to observe the “January People”. The beginning of the month, my gym was a zoo and now, it’s almost being faintly reminiscent of those hazy fall evenings where the same five people are in the gym every night. And the boys know to leave my squat rack alone on Mondays and Thursdays. The “January People” are slowly disappearing and for 1) I hate that for them and 2) I’m mad at myself for not reaching out to them on their journey (more on that later).
This idea that we will somehow start to improve ourselves once the new year rolls around is odd to me. From December 31st to January 1st is anyone a changed person? Not really. These resolutions are no different than the radical promises we make to ourselves throughout the year. It’s easy to think about that fabulous job, or making more money, or losing weight but it’s much harder to walk the path to attain those intentions.
So how do we change? We just do.
For the rest of this year, I want you to try something different. And yes it can be difficult. We all have a person or persons we admire but don’t ever let that admiration turn into something that makes you question your self-worth. Providers, I don’t want you to think about the colleagues with the perfect body, look and life, with a plethora of followers, and a bomb career/business complete with gifts and fly me to yous every other week. Clients, I don’t want you to think about the debonair and dashing, ambitious and affluent client with the perfect career and enough money to fly companions places and shower them with gifts. Just stop it. Instead, this year, resolve to look in the mirror. Instead of contemplating about what your future could look like, focus on what it looks like today and what you could make it to be today. Instead of letting the year slip through your fingertips while you daydream about what it could be, make it your year every single day.
But we’re talking about health and fitness so let me bring it back. So you fell off your diet. You haven’t been to the gym in two weeks. Ok. It happens. We all fall down. Now pick yourself back up. When you wake up on the last day of the month, and January comes to end, the last thing I want you to do is to think about all the vices and faults you have personified during the past month. Instead, lead a fulfilling life where every day is an opportunity to prove yourself to yourself.
Your only resolution, your only intention should be that you give yourself your all every single day and to do right by you.
Six Tools to Gain a Mental Edge
Health and fitness wise, it’s all about creating yourself. Creating yourself does not and cannot involve isolated New Year’s Resolutions a.k.a. Intentions. You need a game plan. Don’t just talk about it, be about it!
You are the CEO of your body. You determine how you will manipulate it, mold it, and shape it. Create a mission statement or some sort of personal statement. What are your short term goals? What are your long term goals? What exactly do you want to accomplish? Need an example? Mine is below.
Think SMART. Ever heard of SMART goals? They are kind of corny but it worked for me. My goals were written with the intention of being Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. The whole notion of “getting fit” is great but you know what’s better? Mastering your form when performing squats or increasing your RPMs during your cycle class within four weeks. It’s easy to say, “I want ‘x’.” Think about it differently. By what magnitude do you want to get stronger, faster, happier? If you want to lose weight, how much do you want to lose and by when?
What is your passion? Passion drives progress and the goal informs the content. Let it lead you. If you establish the “why” the “how” will follow. Think about what excites you!
For me, I’ve always wanted to partake in a Tough-Mudder or a Spartan Race, be more flexible, and be more confident. To do that, I think about the specific workouts and steps that will get me there. For example, I weight lift heavy and do a lot of HIIT to help me prepare for a Spartan Race. Focusing on flexibility and confidence, I have started to take pole and chair classes. By the time I leave those classes, I feel like a bonafide video vixen.
ACCOUNTABILI-BUDDY maybe? Tell someone your goals! Whether it’s a friend, your boss, twitter or Instagram, tell someone who will help keep you accountable. But they won’t just hold you accountable, they’ll encourage you, and connect you to resources that push you further and to people that will help you reach your goals. POST IT. Make it known. Also, track what you’re eating. “My Fitness Pal” is great but I really like “LoseIt!”.
This is why I’m upset I didn't reach out to more folks in my gym to help create positive relationships where we help one another.
Plan around your obstacles. If improving your overall health is important, you have to work around it. For me, I schedule workouts in the morning half of the week and in the evenings the other half. I also know when I’m hitting plateaus to work out in groups because it fuels my competitive drive. Right now, I hate early morning workouts due to the cold but I lay out my clothes the night before and pack up to make getting out the door easier.
Progress is progress. Often times, we view progress as this linear line when it’s actually circuitous. So you didn’t hit your weekly weight goal but did you lose an inch on your waist or hips? So you didn’t eat the greatest all week but did you work out as often as you planned? Are you lifting more weight? Are you able to run the same distance but faster? Can you run for longer? Are your resting intervals during High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) becoming shorter? Celebrate the tiny victories as those will keep you going.
New Year’s resolutions, or as I call them, intentions, are great. But the majority give up just two weeks. Instead, recognize you are the CEO of your body 24H a day, 365 days a year. Ask yourself what the goal really is & make a plan to get there. For me, it wasn’t primarily to lose weight, but to ensure that I was setting up healthy habits to combat health issues that are prevalent in my family. Showing up for yourself, whatever that looks like, is the ultimate lifetime resolution.
Personal Mission Statement
I am a courageous, driven, and resilient woman who is dedicated to improving her overall health and well-being. One day at a time, one squat at a time, one habit at a time. In the wisdom of Shonda Rhimes, I say YES to celebrating every win, no matter how small. I saw YES to eating well most of the time because restriction leads to rebellion. Healthy living is not “one-size fits all”- I am the authority when it comes to my body as I know what works best. I believe in moving my body in ways that give me that endorphin high. Progress will no longer be measured by a scale and an arbitrary number. Progress is measured by increases in strength, speed, endurance, how I feel, how empowered I am, my level of joy, and my own continued personal acceptance of me. I am committed to overcoming my inner-saboteur and perfectionism. I am striving to improve, but I am already enough. In an amalgamation of words of the baddest women, Beyonce, Cardi B, and Lizzo: “Heard you say I’m not the baddest, bitch you lie, ‘cause I give broads chills & I slay.”