Friday, January 30, 2015

My tools

I once read an article of things that wise and successful people don't do.

The item on the list that resonated most with me was that successful people don't rely on their own willpower.

Mind. Blown.

I had always been of the school of thought that if I couldn't just push myself out of the blue to do or not do something, I was obviously weak, and most likely destined for failure.

Ironically, it's that very mindset which set me up for continual failure in the past with regard to my goals.

There is nothing weak or shameful in setting up habits and processes, or utilizing tricks and tools to help yourself reach your goals.  As long as the tools you choose are healthy, sustainable, and fit well into your life; they can make all the difference in the world.

Today I'd like to share with you a few tools that have helped me to reach my goals without relying on my fallible willpower.

-Purpose
There is no way I'd be able to jump out of bed in the wee small hours of the morning (especially in the dead of a frigid, Michigan winter!) without knowing my "why".  For me, prayer, and spending a few minutes letting God wash over me and prepare me for the day is a big part of this.  I know that without His help and blessing, I cannot succeed.  His early morning whispers of love and support are crucial for me.
Secondly, knowing that exercise allows me to feel like I'm doing the absolute best for my body that I can, which will hopefully continue to give me health and energy to care for my family - this pushes me to get my feet on the floor.

-Schedule
I mentioned this in my first post about how I got started on my exercise journey. Scheduling is key for setting myself up for success. When I know what to expect each and every day, there is no question about what I have to do, which in turn leaves no room for excuses. I don't have to think. I wake up, head downstairs and start whatever I've predetermined for myself. I take the events of the week into consideration and design a schedule that I know will fit my life perfectly for that week.

-Journal Keeping 
Since beginning the "Love Your Body"  challenge series over a year ago, I have written down every workout I've done, and every meal I've eaten. It feels great to be so disciplined in this way. Looking back helps me appreciate how hard I've worked, as well as keeping me accountable. It was a little tough getting started, but ever since it became a solid habit, I don't even think about it anymore; it's just a natural part of my day.











-Sustainable workouts
Everyone is not going to enjoy, or get the same benefits from, every type of workout.  I had to find a groove that worked for me.  Running was intimidating, but I started slowly and now I know that I enjoy running 3-5 miles a day.  More than that and I become bored and feel like I'm in danger of injuring myself, less than that and I feel dissatisfied. 

While a 40-60 minute HIIT workout makes me feel amazing and empowered, on busy days it's nice to also have the option of stringing together a few short strength training circuits.  Know your life, and choose workouts that fit into it and are enjoyable for you. 



-Family/Friend Support
This one is so incredibly huge, and since I have had complete support since day one, I fear that unfortunately I take for granted how crucial it really is. I feel like few things are more important than surrounding yourself with people who lift you up, support you and genuinely want to see you achieve your goals. No one in my house balks at my making exercise a priority. I'm grateful to have a husband who understands how important it is to me, giving me the space, time and equipment necessary.  My kids sometimes even join in on certain moves (although I'm usually working out while they're sleeping or at school.)  Having them be aware of it, though, is super important to me. I want them to see their mom as being strong, fit and active.  Living by example in this way and watching them see exercise as a normal part of one's life is definitely a priority for me.
In a pursuit of being an active family, here we are at a 5k together! We all had a blast!

I hope that if you've been reading this, you can take heart that just because it has seemed impossible to "just do it" in the past, doesn't mean that you're weak, or will and can never reach your goals. If you find tools that work to motivate you and sustain you, you CAN reach every goal you set for yourself!

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