Getting started in something is easy, but continually progressing and moving forward is much harder. This is especially true, it seems, when it comes to fitness and nutrition.
So often I’m asked how I manage to keep moving foward and progressing in my fitness goals. I’ve come so far in such a short time, and the truth is very simple, I just keep practicing. Every day I make it a point to set an intention for myself, whether it’s 30 minutes of yoga or an hour of weight lifting, and I stick to it. It’s really that simple, for me. Not everyone has the same mentality when it comes to fitness and nutriton though, and I can respect that. Speaking with a friend recently we touched on the fact that while people may want to get fit, they don’t always have the drive or motivation. This is the biggest setback for him.
One thing that I’ve learned, possibly the biggest thing, is that you have to want it enough to reach for it. For so many years I wanted to start, but my mind was never quite there, and that’s a huge setback. Not one person will be able to convince you to get started, except yourself, so if you’re not ready to jump in and do the work, nothing else will matter. Once you are ready, there are a few things that I’ve learned which may help keep your mindset moving forward.
So, what are my top three pieces of advice?
- Support system/Accountability
Consistency. Simply put, it means that no matter what you’re feeling that day, you make it a priority to get out there and do something for your goals. Maybe that means you do some cardio (my nemesis) or maybe it’s lifting weights or showing up on the mat for yoga practice. Whatever it is, make it a priority. It doesn’t matter whether it’s first thing in the morning or the very last thing you do at night. Making the time, penciling it in or whatever you have to do… that’s what counts. I like to create a split schedule for everything that I’m doing and when, so that I know each day what I have to make time for. I recognize that not everyone is like me and some people will not be this disciplined, but if you want it badly enough, you do your absolute best. I don’t think I have to tell you that exercise in any form is going to make you feel better, because we all know the evidence behind that… but carving time out to do something for you will also create a happier mindset. Plus, keeping things consistent creates a healthy habit and that’s never a bad thing.
Support system. This is probably the biggest thing, in my experience, that attributes to how well you will progress in what you do. When I first started out I worked strictly with a trainer, and although that’s sort of one on one, she has a number of us and we operate in a group to keep each other motivated and supported. At any given point and time, if I felt like I was slipping or I wasn’t really feeling it, I would go there and reach out. It’s often support from others that keeps you encouraged to move forward and keep doing what you set out to do. Another great way that I’ve found to keep myself accountable is by posting on social media. Now, a lot of people think that this is a way of being vain or wanting to showboat what you’ve accomplished. That’s simply not true, at least not in my case, or with most cases that I’ve come across. Taking note of what you’re doing on social media can be a great way to stay accountable for what you need to be doing and how. By making it a priority to post you’re documenting progress and can essentially note when you’ve begun to lapse in that progress. Consider it a virtual diary, if you will, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a public forum if you’re not comfortable with that,.
Mindset. I mentioned this earlier, and again, this is by far the biggest thing that can make or break you when it comes to fitness in any form. In fact, before I ever started with my trainer she told me that if I wasn’t 100% in she wouldn’t train me. A person can want a certain body type or fitness goal, but if you’re not willing to invest everything you have into it, you’ll never achieve it. If you want to get started, your mindset is the first thing that’s going to take you there. Imagine waking up and telling yourself that you’re only going to give 50% effort to your whole day. Starting off with that type of mindset will ensure that you are going to be at least 50% miserable and unsuccessful in anything you do. But if you wake up with the attitude that you’re going to give it 100% and be invested in your day and your life, it will be better. Do you still have to put in the time and effort? Absolutely. But you’ll be halfway there with the right attitude. When it comes to wanting to lose weight, gain muscle, gain flexibility, develop skills, etc. the biggest thing will always be the drive to do it, and that starts with your mindset.
What’s holding you back from achieving your goals? Is there something in your mind that’s preventing you from moving forward? Do you not feel capable of accomplishing the things that you want? Is it a voice in your head from someone else that’s nagging you? Take the time to think about these things before making a decision on what you want to do and then move forward.
If there’s one thing I can’t stress enough, it’s to find someone who is truly knowledgeable in the art of fitness (and nutrition too) and go to them. There are a million people out there who claim to be good at fitness coaching and know how to train you, but be mindful of how they claim to do things and where they learned what they know. If you’re simply taking tips and tricks from people that’s one thing, but if you’re going to start paying someone you want to be certain you’re paying the right person, just like anything else in life.
So, there you have my tips for how to stay accountable and keep moving foward. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start training or needed motivation to stay on track? Let’s hear it.