Shape Up Series: The #1 Secret To Physical Fitness. Hint: It Has Nothing to Do With the Gym

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Is one of your goals for this year to get in shape? What if I told you that not only can you stick with your fitness plan this time but it can actually be fun?

It’s a new year and based on research from the University of Scranton, losing weight or getting into shape ranks #1 as the all-time most popular New Year’s resolution. Between over indulging during the holidays and the tendency to eat hearty comfort foods in the winter months, it’s no wonder by the time January 1st rolls around, we need to recommit to being healthy. But just like so many of us make the resolution to get in shape, only 8% actually stick with the plan. Whoa! So how do you become one of the 8% who actually stick with your fitness plan?

Here’s the secret to sticking with your Physical Fitness goals: Work on your Mental fitness first!

Could it be that the reason we don’t stick to our fitness goals is simply because we have not given the goal enough thought?

In Charles Duhigg’s book on the Power of Habit (highly recommended!), he shared that we all form habits differently. He also shared that the make a new habit, you have to be willing to replace the triggers and cravings that caused you to make a bad habit. In essence, to make a new habit or to stick with a plan, you have to be willing to take a step back and look at your tendencies and find ways to break unhealthy routines.

What this reveals is that if you give yourself the time to go beyond just saying you want to get healthy or lose weight or learn a new fitness routine, to actually writing it down and mapping out the process, you have more time to think about what you want to achieve and what that will look like for you. Visualize the process so you can actually see yourself in shape. How will you feel when you make this change? And how will you reward yourself when you reach your goal? Is this a commitment to a short-term goal or is this something you’ll continue doing? All of the things that your mind needs to process your goal is simply giving yourself a few moments to think about it. Now don’t use this as an excuse to procrastinate! The goal is to be mindful about what you say you want to achieve.

Mindfulness is what your brain needs to take in the fact that you want to make a change. Don’t overlook this important step to sticking with your fitness plans. In fact, this applies to any goal you want to achieve. Take some time to think things through and you’ll come up with a plan that works.

Want to Get In Shape? Make Up Your Mind!

The power to lose weight, make a new habit or achieve a new goal is not found in the gym at all. It’s right between your two ears.

1. Start small, then work your way up.

If your goal is to lose weight, it can seem overwhelming if you have several pounds to lose. Or if your goals is to simply make better food choices, it can be frustrating to find just the right nutrition or diet plan. But guess what? You don’t have to do it overnight. Just like it took time for the bad choices we made to creep up on us, it can take time to undo those habits. Right now, look at your fitness goals and make them as concrete and specific as you can. Then take ONE small step towards that goal today. Take 2 tomorrow and 3 steps the next day. Making healthier habits is just like what they say about eating elephants – How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

2. Give yourself a choice

One of the most important things I have learned about setting and achieving goals is that if you Do it YOUR way, you’re more likely to stick with the plan. You made the first choice: The choice to do something about your health and fitness. Now you get to choose how you’ll do it. No matter how much diet, workout or nutrition advice we get, we simply won’t get as much out of if it we feel compelled to do it out of obligation or force. Just like not doing something about your health is a choice that you get to make. So is the action that you take to change your health habits. Take time to look up different ways you can achieve your fitness goals. Allow yourself to be creative and try new things you may have never considered. When you find what works for you and makes you feel good about the choice you made, you’ll realize that you are in charge. And I’ll tell you, being in charge feels wonderful!

3. Give yourself a chance.

Many times we sabotage ourselves because we simply don’t give our best effort. You made the decision to get in shape, so give it 100% of your attention (a mental thing) and give yourself the time and space you need to make it happen. Set yourself up for success and do whatever it takes to motivate you toward your goal.

4. Be a woman and man of your word.

Be honest. Have you ever lied to yourself? You know, you say you’re going to check out that new movie and you never do it. Or maybe you said you’d subscribe to a new health magazine, but you never ordered it. Every time you do that, you lose the ability to keep your word. Just like you want people to take you seriously, you need to take your own word seriously. Keep yourself accountable by blocking out time to work out or go to the store to buy healthy food. Little things like this when not planned can make it easy to go back on your commitment. But don’t do it. Be a person who follows through with what you say you’ll do, and remember to reward yourself for following through. Before you know it, you’ll realize that you actually want to stick with your plan rather than see it as a chore.

So am I saying don’t go to the gym? Absolutely not! But I am saying you’ll be more likely to go if you make up your mind to do it.

Happy New Year!

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