Forgive Yourself and Move On but Learn…
Maybe it was the books, Daring Greatly and The Perfect Day Formula, that I’ve been reading over the past couple weeks that gave me inspiration to write this blog. And by reading, I mean listening to the audio book because who has time to sit and read, right? Or maybe it was another mini “new mom” meltdown I had last week, or the fender bender I recently had. Regardless of the inspiration, I found myself pondering the connection between emotional and physical health. I would argue that I have worked every day for the past decade to become somewhat of an expert (or shall I say lifelong learner) in the field of physical health yet emotional health still trips me up from time to time, as I’m sure it does for you. Yes, being physically healthy is one of the best things you can do to achieve emotional health but what happens when the two conflict one another?
I’m talking about the concept that trying to fit in exercise and healthy eating only becomes one more task for the day in an already crowded day thus increases stress instead of improving health. As I am grasping a new routine of being a mom and a business owner, I struggle with the very same concept that I’ve spent my professional life helping people with…”making time for health” or as I prefer to call it, “me time”. For myself, “me time” used to be a barbell, some loud music and my meal plan. My barbell date would sometimes linger and last a couple hours. Something that I could focus on and control, that would lead me to better health, better quality of life and a better self-worth. Now, I am getting the same endorphin rush just by staring at my daughter as she sleeps. The addition of her to our family has also pushed me, even more than I already push myself, to be better at business and well … everything. Become supermom right? SO what did I do?? I just tried to push on like I always did but using my old methods wasn’t not working. This “routine” I was searching for kept eluding me. I now have a long list of new business and family goals that are equally important to my physical health goals but only have the same 24 hours to get everything done. This is new territory for this fitness professional.
This was not new for many of the people I have coached throughout the years though. Personal training clients and boot camp members have often struggled with making time for the gym or making time to plan out their food. They learn what they need to do but then it’s a matter of finding time to do it. I found myself trying to use the very tactics that I’ve given to help others; make a workout date with yourself, get up early and do it before work, make a schedule so that there is time to work on each task, plan meals the night before, etc. I still felt as out of control as ever even with getting a workout in. Then it hit me; maybe I needed a new way of doing things. Maybe just going to the gym and blowing off steam wasn’t the only thing I needed to do to “feel better” emotionally and physically. After all, I found myself cutting workouts shorter than desired to get a few more things done in the office because of the overwhelming feeling of all these new goals to reach!
As stated above, I’ve been listening to two amazing books that put some things into perspective. In an attempt to get back control during the chaos of entrepreneurship and motherhood, I was referred to the book The Perfect Day Formula, in which you map out your perfect day so you can set your goals and actions on that ultimate goal you have for life. In this book, the author details his rules for life as an example. I was inspired! I got out a sheet of paper with my husband and scribbled out rule after rule that I would set for myself and was ready to conquer the world! All of my goals pushed me towards better health, and I just knew I could be successful. And then life happened.
- “I’ll just finish a couple more emails.”
- “Oh shoot! I told myself I’d stop at 3 to get my workout in before class, now I don’t have enough time for a really good workout so I’ll just start again tomorrow.”
- “Yes! I got a killer workout in and all my food prepped, this feels great! But I wonder what work stuff I forgot to do??”
These were all thoughts that came flooding in each day as I tried to be over prepared for my goals. Then something clicked. In a chapter of Daring Greatly during a morning walk, the author talked about pushing out of your comfort zone in order to find new ways that work for you. Being vulnerable to reach better emotional health. This immediately made think of “my rules”. And a conversation I had with my husband a couple weeks ago during a post-partum body image moment. He asked me one simple question. “Mis, what would you tell a client dealing with this same issue?”
When I put all those things together, I realized I was doing the exact thing that I try to help people with each day at the gym. I was beating myself up when I didn’t get it right that day. I was being too structured and then slaughtered myself with negative self-talk when I didn’t get it all done. “But I had a plan!!” My goals of business and physical health were wreaking havoc on my emotional health. Thinking back to some recent motivational conversations I had with a few boot camp members, I flipped the role on myself. I gave myself the same advice I gave them. We all start out the day or the week with good intentions, we just need to find a way to make it work for us. (It was these chats that inspired the “Snowball Effect” blog). Going back to the book, The Perfect Day Formula, I LOVE the concept of having “Rules”. However, I missed the most important part. It’s ok to change-up the rules if you find they aren’t quite working and that doesn’t mean you’ve failed at anything.
So maybe you told yourself, “Ok, I will get up every day and make it to 5am class and I will reach my weight loss goals!” Only to find that your body hated working out in the morning, and you hit snooze 20 times on day 2 of this new plan. Or maybe working out was the easy part, but you kept forgetting to take your lunch with you. Or one of the more common things I hear as a trainer, “Well I missed Monday so I will just start going to the gym next Monday since I didn’t start the week out right”. I invite you to read (or listen) to the books I’ve referred to in this blog, BUT I also invite you to write some “rules” for yourself. Rules for your health and rules that will help you achieve the goals in life you want. However, don’t be afraid to change things up when it’s needed. As a foundation, here are some tips to creating a healthy lifestyle change that just might stick!
- First, brainstorm 3 goals that you’ve always wanted in life. Make these about health, fitness, business, family etc. It would be great to have a goal for each of these items. Remember optimal health comes from moving, eating well, meaningful relationships and another sense of purpose whether that’s a hobby or business goals.
- Now write down 5 rules. These rules are going to be the rules you live by so that your goals can be achieved. Only write down 5 to start, making new habits requires baby steps. Don’t give yourself too many things to start doing (or stop doing) as this will only add to more stress and may inhibit the point of this healthy change.
- Go back and look at your 5 rules. Make sure at least one of them is focused on physical health and one is focused on emotional health. For example, one of my rules is that under normal circumstances, I will only have one rest day per week. Another rule is that I will practice yoga, meditation or just quiet “me” time at least 3x/week.
- Type these up and place them where you can see them! Do your best to hold yourself accountable to each rule to give them a fighting chance. Healthy lifestyle change does not happen overnight so give it your best shot.
- Share them with someone in your social support circle. Trust me; putting down my phone every night at 8pm is HARD! So my husband helps me remember my rule. After only a couple days, family time never made me miss extra screen time.
- Last but not least… BE FLEXIBLE! Maybe that rule didn’t pan out or that plan of attack didn’t work. You didn’t fail; you just need a new strategy. But now you have some good information on what doesn’t work so you can find what does! As a die-hard afternoon exerciser, I could never have imagined working out at 5am. I can teach it, but never could do it. Breastfeeding and some new business goals changed that so I gave it a try. Switching up my workout time may be the best thing that’s ever happened to my sanity!
We all feel overwhelmed with all the goals we have for ourselves. Just breathe and take it a day at a time. It can be a great feeling to overcome something you previously thought you couldn’t. I will leave you with a quote that was shared by one of my boot camp members, a person who inspires me every day… “You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.” So put some rules into action and move that mountain!!!
Remember, we are all going to make mistakes. Forgive yourself but learn and readjust to maximize your success in achieving those things you desire most!
That’s today’s Tip from the Trainer.