It’s 5:30AM and my alarm goes off. It’s rainy and cold outside, day one of “aunt flow”. We just moved this weekend and I’m tired AF. Oh and did I mention I’m coming off of two weeks with three kids on winter break.
Zero motivation to go to the gym.
Ever felt like this? There is so much to do, and the part of you that reeeeallllly wants to be fit and healthy, ends up losing out to the other version of you that’s just plain tired.
For a long time, I was a proud part of “the 5AM Workout Club”. I hate to say that I almost was a little smug about it, like I had all my shit figured out. It was the best I’ve ever felt, frankly, when I had that routine. But life will throw you a curve ball precisely when you think you’ve got it “together”.
I struggled for 18 months to keep my business afloat during Covid, then struggled to meet the demand as our personal training studio, TriFit Wellness, doubled in 2022. Then the opportunity to foster two young girls was literally dropped in my lap one Wednesday, and left me wondering where I would find the time and energy to run my business, let alone have a minute to focus on myself ever again!
Thankfully, I’ve gone through situations that have knocked me on my ass enough times to know how to get back up, and today, I’ll share a few of those lessons in hopes that they help you find clarity on how to accomplish your health (or any) goals, despite an insanely busy life & schedule.
Channel your inner Simon Sinek and find your WHY.
I’m quite sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard someone say, “find your why”, but it is SO important that it’s got the #1 spot on my list. Often, we get some fleeting thought of a thing we want to change or improve about our lives, but we haven’t truly identified why it’s so important to us to change. Because of this, we will lose motivation quickly and get derailed when any unforeseen situation throw us off our game (sick, vacation, work, etc.)
Unfortunately, pain is a really fucking powerful motivator. If it’s something surface level, like “I want to lose weight,” be prepared to dig deep and ask yourself why three times. It should hit that soft spot inside that is pretty close to bringing tears to your eyes. Maybe you want to lose weight because you can’t stand looking at yourself in the mirror. Perhaps you feel uncomfortable and unconfident in your own skin. Maybe you don’t have the energy to play with your grandkids.
Find that “why” and write it down someplace you’ll see it often. I used this when I got sober from alcohol nearly four years ago, and looked at this every single day for that first year.
Optimize your environment
If you have unhealthy, unproductive triggers around you everywhere you turn, no amount of willpower in the world will help you! If you really want to change, set up your environment to win.
If you want to adopt a morning gym routine, buy the workout clothes, lay them out the night before, have your water bottle next to your fully charged headphones, ask a friend to meet you at the gym, and set two alarms – one so you go to bed on time, and one to wake up on time.
If you want to eat healthier, get the junk that is most tempting for you OUT of the house, meal prep, use a meal delivery service, pack a lunch.
For example, if you KNOW your office will have donuts in the conference room for your morning meeting, PLAN AHEAD for this so you have a yummy snack to munch on instead of reaching for a donut just because it’s in front of you.
Similarly, who are you spending your time with? Are they people with similar health goals who have the lifestyle you want to adopt, or people that are unhealthy, overweight and not prioritizing fitness or nutrition.
One study in 2005 found that simply the design of a neighborhood or community can influence physical activity and related health outcomes such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. In other words, give people a neighborhood with lots of walking paths, and they will walk more! Environment matters.
Master your schedule
If it’s important to you, it should be in your calendar. Schedule your workouts. If you struggle with getting to the gym, consider hiring a personal trainer so you have an actual appointment time and a penalty if you don’t show up.
I use Google calendar and color coordinate my activities, making sure I’ve planned for my most important priorities:
- Self care: Workouts, meditation, journaling, reading, massage, etc.
- Family: Time with my spouse, time with my kids, family and kids activities
- Business Strategy: Time to think and strategize so I’m clear on my goals and high value priorities
- Administrative Time: Time for tasks, email and miscellaneous errands
Create a 90 day habit plan
When was the last time you had to actually think about HOW to drive a car, or tie your shoes? Habits are this handy tool that our brain uses as a shortcut to be more productive and efficient. As soon as it recognizes a routine, a habit is triggered, which makes the behavior automatic. Atomic Habits is a great book that discusses this in detail with a lot of strategy, but here are a few keys to creating habits:
- Start VERY SMALL. The habit should feel easy at the beginning. I suggest no more than 2-3 minutes. For example, meditate for 2 minutes, take a 2 minute walk or do 2 minutes of squats. If you start very small, there is literally no excuse not to do it.
- Give it time. According to the research done at the University of College London, it takes on average, 66 days to form a habit. This can be much, much longer when we are trying to change something significant, or undoing a lifetime of bad habits — be gentle on yourself and give it enough time.
- Consistency matters. Don’t put up a zero. Can’t get to the gym for your workout, do 5 minutes of squats and situps at home. The more days you can stack in a row, you are well on your way to creating a habit. Come hell or high water, stick with your habit for at least 66 days.
- Plan for failure and reflect. It’s going to happen. So plan for it. What has knocked you off of your game in the past? What triggered you? Getting sick, going on vacation, emotional eating, staying up late and sleeping in? Whatever it is, plan for it so when it shows up, you know what to do. I plan one hour every Sunday to review my week
- Get some accountability. I like to make things very public so if I go back on my word I look like a total fraud, but that’s just me. Money can be a big motivator for a lot of people (both positive and negative). Can you have your personal trainer impose a $100 fine if you miss a workout?
- Find a supportive community. At TriFit Wellness, we find that group training in a positive, encouraging gym community is one of the factors that helps our clients achieve their goals. We know them by name, they have friends that workout with them, and we will call them out if they don’t show up.
- Envision the future you. This might seem a little “hippy dippy” but it’s so true. If you’ve failed over and over to achieve your fitness goals, it might be hard to envision the new, healthier version of yourself. Write it down. What does this “new you” feel like? Look like? Do you have a morning routine? What are your new fun, healthy hobbies? Who else is with you…Spouse, kids? Are you enjoying new adventures like hiking the Grand Canyon or Machu Picchu?
Become a master of goal setting
Influencer, Chalene Johnson uses a goal setting strategy that I love. Sit down when you have an hour or so to focus and rate yourself in the following life categories with “1” being horrible and “10” being that it couldn’t be better!
- Physical health [strength, body fat, workouts, skin, appearance in general, etc]
- Mental health [Handling highs and lows, stress management, etc]
- Environment [Are you happy with your space, office, house, car, do things need to be updated or decluttered? etc]
- Relationships [Friends, family, etc]
- Romantic love [Connection, love, passion, etc]
- Purpose [Your career, service, waking up with purpose]
- Spirituality [Connection to a higher power, whatever that means to you]
- Personal management [Control of your schedule, tasks, time, right focus and priorities]
- Hobbies, social life and fun [What do you do that give you joy?]
- Financial stability [Whatever that means to you]
Take the ONE lowest area that will impact how you FEEL on a daily basis and write three goals or behaviors related to that one area that you will work on for the next 90 days.
My personal approach is to write three goals down for each quarter (they might be business, personal or both), and I write down one thing I will do that day that gets me closer to accomplishing one of my goals.
I hope that these 5 tips will help you uplevel your goals in 2023 and beyond. Revisit this list whenever you are feeling like you are a little “off your game” and need to refocus. Pick up a journal and get intentional about your life. If you live in the Central Phoenix area, and we can support you on your health and fitness journey, please reach out!