Years ago I had a gym membership. It cost $400.00 per year and I actually went three times!
My story is not unique. We usually read about this sort of situation early in the year, when New Year’s resolutions are abandoned. Truth is, the gap between intention and execution is often huge for a variety of personal reasons.
Excuses abound. Time management, energy levels, lack of “buddy support,” and the list goes on. In the end, I believe it boils down to a sense of ownership. If our motivation to exercise, eat properly, get enough sleep, etc. is external (e.g. looking good for other people, acquiescing to social pressures) then the chances that we’ll be able to stick to any kind of fitness regimen is greatly diminished.
Another challenge that often subverts our fitness intentions is having a sense of scale. Grandiose makeover plans are often a reason why we can’t stick to the plan. Rather than investing in grand and glorious makeover visions, I think it’s easier to establish smaller short-term goals that are more easily achievable. Completely quitting smoking vs. cutting back on consumption is an example. Totally changing our eating habits rather than adjusting one or two consumption patterns is another.
I recently made the decision to remove bread from my diet. I love bagels or marmalade toast! I recently received some information from a friend who explained how carbohydrates are processed in the body. What they had to say made sense to me and it’s been easier to skip the bread aisle when I go grocery shopping now that I have that piece of information.
Will that make my protruding belly disappear overnight? Of course not! But over time, this single change in what I eat will support making other changes to my diet as I establish new habits around eating.
As I’ve said in previous columns, being gentle and generous with yourself is key to building your personal power and sense of agency. If you had a friend who was trying to make changes to their fitness level, would you berate them and call them a loser if they had a misstep or “fell off the wagon?” Of course you wouldn’t. You’d offer them sympathy and positive encouragement.
So why would you berate yourself and sabotage your own efforts with that kind of internal negativity? Make every effort to be your own best friend. Be generous and gentle with yourself.
Put marmalade on that rice cracker.