Out of all the posts I've written thus far for Cultivate What Matters, this is certainly the most unlikely one! Why? Because I am by no means the "most fit" person on our team or in my circle of friends. However, after celebrating our new Cultivate What Matters holiday, I hope that my little by little progress will offer you some encouragement to keep making little by little progress on your goals!
First, I should share a little bit of backstory with you. I've never been an athlete; I didn't play sports growing up, though I certainly enjoyed cheering my siblings and friends on at all their games and competitions. After being rejected from my middle school volleyball team (don't worry; I recovered!), I shifted my focus to various other extracurricular activities. When I moved to college, I spent a lot of time walking around campus, and I worked out at the gym occasionally, though it was never a big part of my routine.
Fast forward to 2015, and I unexpectedly broke my leg and went into surgery (let's just say I steer clear of trampolines now.) Since my surgery, I've found that my motivations for taking care of my body have shifted from losing weight or getting into shape to being a good steward of my body. All of that to say, while I'm by no means a fitness expert, I've learned a few things over the past two years that have helped me on this journey. One of my 2017 goals is to care for my body well, and I wanted to share what's been working for me! If one of your 2017 goals is to cultivate a healthy lifestyle, I hope this post encourages you to begin doing that, right where you are!
Figure out your why. Take a few moments to ask yourself these questions: Why do I want to spend time on this goal? Will this goal get me closer to where I want to be when I'm 80? You'll feel much more motivated to stick to your goals when they are connected to a purpose. For me, spending time on this goal makes me a better daughter, coworker, friend, and girlfriend because I'm taking care of myself and staying energized!
Find something you will enjoy. I've never been a runner, and while there are many days I wish I were, I've found that I'm much more likely to exercise when it's something I enjoy doing. For me, that's attending my local Pure Barre (shoutout to the most amazing Pure Barre staff in Durham!). If you're not familiar with Pure Barre, it's a high-intensity low-impact workout that focuses on isometric movements using a ballet barre. This was extremely helpful for me early on in my surgery recovery since there was no impact for my healing leg! If I had been forced into another form of exercise I didn't enjoy, it would have been much easier for me to skip my workouts.
Make it a priority. Treat your workouts like a business meeting or dinner with a friend, and schedule them! You wouldn't skip a work meeting or dinner with your best friend, so don't skip your workouts! When I sit down on Sundays to plan my meals for the week, I also look at my schedule and try to sign up for Pure Barre classes that fit into my plans. When it's written into your calendar my calendar, I've found that it's much easier to keep me accountable.
Find accountability. Similar to scheduling your workouts, it's important to hold yourself accountable to making them happen. Luckily for me, Pure Barre has built-in accountability with a penalty for missing classes. This means that if I've signed up for a class and don't want to go, I'm still obligated to go so I don't have to pay a fee. Let me say, I've gone into many classes wishing I could just go home and sit on my couch, but I have never left one of those class thinking, "I wish I hadn't done that!" If your exercise routine doesn't have built-in accountability, find a friend to cheer you on in this goal. Whether you find someone to meet you at the gym at the same time or ask your roommate or significant other to hold you accountable, find ways to incorporate accountability into your fitness goals for the year!
Think outside of the box! Cultivating a healthy lifestyle is more than just exercising and eating right! Seemingly small but intentional decisions add up over time. Take the stairs when possible. Schedule walks with your friends instead of drinks or dinner. Park farther away from store entrances to get extra steps in. Take a few laps around Target the next time you're there to pick up items on your shopping–just don't let it add unnecessary items to your cart (guilty!) Lara's recent blog has great ideas for those that are looking for ways to incorporate fitness into your everyday life!
One of my favorite photos of thinking outside the box for getting fit by Lara :)
Celebrate your progress. Like any goal you set in your PowerSheets, we recommend finding ways to celebrate the little by little progress you've made! Don't approach your fitness with an all-or-nothing mentality; choosing to celebrate your victories along the way will help you feel even more encouraged to keep up your hard work!
I'm excited that our friend and fellow PowerSheets user Robin Long of The Balanced Life will be sharing with us this Thursday about how embracing imperfection can help you get in the best shape of your life and offering a free Pilates challenge coming this March! If you're looking for a way to start making progress on your fitness goals, Robin's free challenge will be the perfect place to start!
What are some ways you have incorporated more activity into your lifestyle? I'd love to hear any suggestions you have in the comments!