Nurture Your Motivation

Well it’s that time of year again with New Year’s resolutions staring you in the face. We have probably all vowed to be thinner, heathier, happier, and richer. Now we just have to find the time, energy and the willpower to actually follow through. Are you going to allow this to be another year you fall short or are you going to step up get proactive and be the master of your own destiny? It all begins with the first step, that first call, the first anything. Remember your best you waits for no one. The time is now, seize the day, its go time. Blah…blah…blah.  You’ve probably heard it all before, but does this actually work?

In truth other than the date and maybe the weather this time of year is really no different than any other time of year. You can go on a diet in March, join a gym in June or be smarter with money in August. Yet, we place a certain importance on the first of the year a sort of new beginning and with all new beginnings we want to do things the right way. We have renewed belief in ourselves and in our abilities to succeed this time around. So, why not take advantage of this positivity high point and make the best of it.

Less Is More

I’ve been a Los Angeles personal trainer for more than 20 years, that’s a lot of New Year’s resolutions, and a lot of best intentions. The problem with best intentions is that when we fail to do our best we have a tendency to lose our willpower. It becomes just a bit easier to rationalize it away and make excuses. So, does this mean we should just give up and not try? Absolutely not.

This year let’s try a less is more strategy. Instead of say, going to the gym every day, we plan on 2 or 3 ½ hour sessions in a week’s time. The goal is to figure out what’s realistic then aim for just a bit less. That’s right a bit less. We want it to feel easy.  After a few weeks if this easy schedule feels just that then you can add a bit more and so on. The key is to never feel overwhelmed. It things once again feel hectic then plan a reduced schedule you can stick to and go on from there. No guilt, you have a busy life, just feel good about doing what you can. Don’t let negativity seep in. Something is always better than nothing. Trust me if you let the positive energy foment getting to the gym will get easier. Every personal training client I have started with a reduced schedule works out more today than they ever thought they would or could. The best part for them is that it’s not all coming to the gym, but rather a more active lifestyle.

This same strategy works for diet also. All or nothing plans seldom work. Start with something simple like say replace one fast food lunch meal a week with a healthy salad. Or eat one more serving of fruit at least every other day. Or if you are used to eating a sweet treat make it 10% smaller and have a full glass of water with it. Pretty simple right? Okay, so let’s try something else now. How about replacing that sweet treat with a fruit every other day. The idea is to gradually clean up your natural diet in a way that fits your lifestyle. It may never be perfect (what in life really is) but, it will be much better and you’ll stick to it. I call if fitting a diet to a client rather than fitting the client into the diet. Look around that almost never works.                

Pat Yourself on the Back

Instead of beating yourself up if you slip up how about patting yourself on the back for trying. Give yourself a few days to get a grip then plan on being awesome at doing the minimum. When you are ready bite off a little more.

A QUICK TRUE STORY. Years ago I had a client come in to see me suffering from Fibromyalgia. (Fibromyalgia is a disease with a whole host of symptoms including joint and muscle pain, fatigue and depression.) When she came to see me she had difficulty walking, appeared sedated (on 7 medications) and was in pain. She told me I was her last hope. No pressure right? I evaluated her to establish her capabilities.

The next day I had her in for her first session.  I proceeded to work her out, but kept it to 25% less than I knew she could do. When she asked me if she was doing enough I told her, “are you kidding? I can’t believe how much you’re doing.” She smiled. Our sessions continued for 2 months. Every day she tried and every day I told her how impressed I was, always keeping it 25% less. Before long her progress truly was impressive. On week 9 or 10 she came to see me after seeing her doctor. She was no longer on any meds and she was going back to work for the first time in 5 years.

Positive energy is a powerful thing. The key is to use it not abuse it. Treat yourself with respect, honesty and kindness. You truly want what’s best for you, we all do. There is no need to force it this is not a race it’s a life.  Nurture your energy and it will nurture you.