When starting a new health and fitness program a persons’ motivation is usually very high which is great! The down side of that same enthusiasm is the tendency to do too much too soon which results in really sore muscles or in some cases injury and discouragement. It is important to remember that your current level of fitness is not something that you arrived at overnight and that you will not achieve your goals over night either. I know that when I want something really bad it is super hard to be patient – I too suffer from the ‘I want it and I want it now’ syndrome sometimes.
In reality the best most effective way to create a happy healthier you is to take it slow and make small livable changes over time. When we consistently engage in activities or behavior we create a habit. We can create habits that are both bad and good. It is up to us to decide what changes we are willing to live with. I never tell a client that they can never again eat a favorite food I just ask them if they can consistently eat less. Let’s take ice cream for an example – if you love to eat ice cream everyday then fine eat ice cream. If you eat 2 scoops a day then try eating 1 scoop. When you are comfortable eating 1 scoop then try eating half of a scoop everyday or a whole scoop every other day. Over time you will feel the desire to eat ice cream on occasion.
Another example of making small livable changes is in activity levels. When I start working with a new client who hasn’t had much activity to speak of for a while they often say that they want to start doing an hour of cardio 5 to 7 times a week. I think that it is a great long term goal but not a realistic goal for the short term. I ask that they start doing 10 minutes of activity 3 days a week. They think that I have lost my mind – after all how could 10 minutes of activity 3 days a week help them get where they want to go? When added up over time 30 minutes a week is equal to 24 hours of exercise a year. I have found that when I ask for 10 minutes 3 times a week I often get 15-20 minutes which is great and when they are active 3 days a week I am thrilled!
Consistency really is the key to long term results. Consistently doing less of what isn’t good for us and doing more of what is good for us. I will never tire hearing my clients success stories especially when they come to me and say ‘remember when I could only do 10 minutes 3 times a week? Well I just completed my first 5K and I am SO happy!’ We all need to walk before we can run and sometimes walking might look a lot like crawling but that’s okay because sometimes we need to start very small so that we can achieve our really big dreams.
Here's to you in Health, Wellness and Fitness!
Jennifer Malocha CEO of Fun at Wuhoo Fitness
Listen to my weekly radio show Let's Talk every Thursday from 9-10 AM PST
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