So it's the start of a new year and you've decided NOW is the time for a change to your fitness, health, weight, energy levels or lifestyle. First of all, good on you for making the decision to change where you currently are. It takes courage to make a conscious and determined effort to improve ourselves for a better, healthier, or happier life.
But where do you start? How much change do you need to make? Everyone is different but at the end of the day you'll need a balanced approach that includes exercise, nutrition, mental focus, all applied with determinatation and long term consistency.
The following are a few rules to making a start, and more importantly, keeping it going!
Stop what you are doing right NOW. I want you to just sit back, reflect on your life and where it is....and then start to dream about you'd like to achieve. Go on, dream a little....just relax and let your mind create a vision of how you'd like things to be. Because if you have a dream you also have a goal, and like shooting an arrow into the future your goal becomes a solid target that aligns the rest of your life and activities into a single purposeful plan.
If you want to make some change but you havent thought about HOW it will happen or WHAT will make you achieve your goals then you need to sit down and "get with the program!". It's impossible to be on track when you have no path to follow, and without a clear outline of what you want to achieve and how it will happen you'll very likely flounder and sink.
Do you need to walk or run? How long should you exercise? Do you train hard and short or slow and long? Do you cut out carbs, or eat less fat? Will weights training make me big or burn more energy? Is pilates good for me or not? How can I give up smoking? Will drinking alcohol ruin my training program?
You need to find the answers to these questions and any more you have so you can sort out what it is, ie what program, will ensure you get what you want. It's just like buying a car: you need to do your market research to find the suitable make, model, and price range that suits your individual needs. Once you have the information, then all you need to do is "just do it!".
You can plan and plot all you like, make brilliant programs and write a fantastic outline of how it all works, BUT, unless you actually DO IT you cant expect anything to happen! It reminds me of a chararcter called Rimmer in Red Dwarf who would spend several days writing a perfectly planned and colour coordinated study plan for his space captain exams....but by the time he had finished the plan he had less time to study so would have to re-work the plan....and so on until no study was done at all!
The solution? Planning is good and it will ensure you get the right results, but there comes a time when the planning needs to stop and the action needs to start! If you find yourself getting bogged down in the details, just remember that you need to just do it!
A good friend once said to me "you dont need to be flashy, just consistent!". Wise words and they are very true when applied to making a change in your lifestyle. There are many different fitness programs and a hundred different diets, but none of them will work unless you are prepared to keep going at them week after week and month after month, until you reach your goal! It's certainly ok to have a few off days, or make some mistakes along the way, but if you really want to change then you have to be consistent.
Think of Lleyton Hewitt - does he have the biggest serve in the game? Is he the best stroke maker? Is he the most athletic player on tour? It's debatable but I dont think he's any of these. However, when you watch him play tennis the thing that strikes me is that he consistently gets the ball back to put pressure on his opponents. His recent game against Andy Roddick in the Australian Open semi-final was amazing: Roddick was firing down aces at 220kmph+ and you really wondered whether Hewitt had any chance at all. But bit by bit, point by point, he just kept trying to return the serves when he could, making rallies, and eventually he triumped over a more powerful opponent.
It's easy to be swayed off your path by other people, friends who invite you out for drinks, the warm pull of the blankets in the early morning, snack foods strategically placed at supermarket checkouts, and the sweet seduction of chocolate bars! There are times when doing these things are ok, but if you really want to make changes then you need to be strong and sacrifice some of the pleasures in life. It doesnt have to be a permanent sacrifice, and you may even want to reward yourself every week if things are going well. You never achieve anything without giving something else up first, and if your lifestyle and acitivity patterns have made you unfit, overweight, or unhealthy then you need to change something before you get results!
If you cant laugh and enjoy what you're doing then I think you need to think twice about what it is! Life is too short to be unhappy or grumpy at everything, so either change what you're doing or change the attitude you have about it! I know that not all of us are overwhelmingly thrilled every time we go for a walk or run, but you need to enjoy something (anything!) about training or you'll never keep it up. Focus on being outdoors, the people around you, the way your feet hit the pavement, the morning sunshine or the clouds in the sky...anything that gives you a kick or let's you enjoy what you are doing. The world is a beautiful place, so get out their and enjoy it!
It's your attitude that determines your happiness in life. You could be the richest person in the world, or be a famous super model, but if you dont have a happy and positive attitude I dont think you'll ever be truly happy about life. So smile, think good thoughts, laugh a lot, and try to make every day a little more positive than the last.
To get inspired for the new year, or to find motivation contact us!