Forget the Resolutions and Make a Mantra for 2015
The time is now. Start today. Live joyfully. Just run. Breathe. Love with intent. Relax the shoulders. It’s 2015 and time to pick a new mantra or two.
I love mantras and slogans, but not resolutions. If we truly resolve to do something, then it would have meaning. Too often, it’s just another rote chore at the end of a busy holiday season. For me, goal setting has more meat to it and using mantras that fit each goal help to follow through on those goals, big and small. At this time of year, after a few too many of grandma’s goodies and slightly tighter slacks we re-focus our efforts to get healthy. Hundreds of goal setting strategies exist, but these are my top 6 for 2015. Dream big and take it one day at a time!
Be intentional and specific
Sit down and think about what it really is that you want. You say you want to get healthy. Do you want more energy to chase your kids around or do you want rock hard abs? Knowing what you want is the first step to designing a path to get there. Write it down and tell a supportive friend or partner who will keep you accountable.
Small Consistent Changes / Choices=Big Changes
Set smaller goals along the path. In addition to attainability, sequential goals give opportunities to evaluate your progress, and a chance to celebrate your hard earned success along the way. Stop worrying about tomorrow and focus on today. I tell runners not to think about their goal race distance at the start of each season, simply focus on this week’s workouts. One week at a time, follow the schedule and that distance becomes manageable. The same is true for any goal. Every day matters. Executing your plan or most of it each day will eventually lead to victory.
A small change could be adding a ten minute walk after each meal or setting bedtime back 5 minutes each night until you are at your target. Over the course of just one week that’s 210 extra minutes of walking and after two weeks a full extra hour of sleep each night. If you slip, let it go. Don’t make it an excuse to fall into the patterns that you are trying to walk away from. The path doesn’t have to be straight. Often, it is those curves that make the road most interesting.
Make it a Lifestyle, Not a Finish Line
One of the main reasons people give up on goals, whether they are in fitness or in other aspects, is that the change doesn’t become habit. Aim for creating a new lifestyle. If you succeed in the small consistent choices (with a few curves here and there), eventually the changes become the norm. It is what I love most about both companies that I have the privilege of coaching for: M3S Capital City Half and Quarter Marathon and Marathoner in Training (MIT). Their goals are to engage Central Ohio and beyond in healthy active lifestyles. We want you to train and race with us, but more importantly we want to be a kick-start and a lifelong community of fitness and good health. Back to my love for mantras – M3S says “Get Fit. Stay Fit. Live Fit.” And MIT “Change your Life, One Step at a Time.”
Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable, At First
Challenge yourself. All new endeavors worth pursuing will stretch us and pull us out of our comfort zones. They are, by definition, uncomfortable at first. The first time I ran with a group or hopped on a bike I was nervous, uncomfortable, and embarrassed. Being a newbie is intimidating but everyone was once new and soon you will be the veteran. Take a bit of time to get through that uncomfortable feeling and you might just find your passion.
The most inspiring days of the year for me are the first day of MIT and Cap City race day. Every season on the first training Saturday, we ask how many people are training with MIT for their very first time. Hands go up and everyone cheers. The physical work of training lies before them, but the bravest thing they will do all season is walking through the door into a sea of new faces on that very first day.
Do What You Love
The old saying goes, “Find a way to get paid for doing what you love and you won’t work a day in your life.” Similarly with fitness, love your workouts and you will do them consistently. Dread them and they’ll fall by the wayside along with the well intentioned goals. Too many people tell me how much they hate running but they do it because they want to get fit. Why? If you hate it, find something else. Professor Steven Devor at Ohio State advises that the most efficient form of exercise is the form that you love. As much as I would love to see you on the trail each week, there IS more to life than running. Columbus has so many options from hiking our Metro Parks, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking at Alum Creek, indoor soccer, golf, hip hop classes, ballroom dance, or simply walking around the block with your dog each morning. There’s no law that says calories are only burned doing traditional gym workouts. If your workout reminds you more of recess than work, you are doing it right.
One of the most empowering words in the English language is choice. As a college freshman hundreds of miles from home and questioning a sport I had loved since I could speak, I was lucky to work with an amazing sports psychologist. His most powerful lesson was that everything we do every day is a choice, with the exception of breathing. We choose to get out of bed or not, to go to class or skip, to play soccer or not, to choose fruit or ice cream. Every day, every action is a choice. Isn’t that wonderful? There are consequences, good and bad, but the choice is ours.
Big dreams are scary. I jumped into the world of long distance triathlon in 2009. Training for an Ironman is years in the making. The feeling is that it all comes down to that one day. It’s unknown and overwhelming. Can I really swim 2.4 miles? How will my back feel after 112 miles on the bike? A marathon alone is hard but how difficult will it be after all those hours on the bike? Will I finish? Panic and anxiety take over. The past 5 years have been a wonderful teacher. The nerves still come but now I have a plan and more than a couple mantras.
Little by little make progress. Respect the task in front of you. Take a deep breath. Celebrate how far you have come and your achievements along the way. Then just start swimming.
Happy New Year and Happy Training!
From January 5 – 11, Columbus Underground is featuring our Health & Wellness Week series, brought to you by the The Fitness Loft. The Fitness Loft is more than just a gym – it’s a visionary approach to developing a sustainable community and creating an atmosphere that encourages people to lead a healthier life. Our holistic concept includes biometric wellness screening, Technogym exercise equipment that records progress, free group fitness and nutrition classes, an on-site Registered Dietitian, and much more to give you a truly unique wellness experience. Located at 625 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, OH 43206.