Life gets all up in the way!

Well, the last few months have kind of been a time-management train wreck for me!  I could go into the long boring story of why and what but the short of it is I got sideways for a while and I’m trying to get back on the tracks.

I’ve got back to working out.  Lifting weights, hiking, walking the dog and even shooting some hoops!  My diet has been very grab-and-go based lately and that’s never good.  I put back on a few of the pounds of lost, 8 of them to be exact, and now I’m trying to get the diet back in place as well.  Rather than trying to back track and catch up on the few hikes that I’ve done I’ll probably just do a quick catch-up post to track everything then try to get back at it 110%.

I know I don’t have a huge reader base here so this is as much to get myself in check as it is to let both of you know that I’m still at it over here.

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their Springtime!

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How to Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year 2013

The New Year is right around the corner (wow, is it really 2013?) and it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions!

Right at the top of many people’s list is Lose Weight or Get In Shape.  Gyms will be packed out the first week of the new year, and the second… most of January… but then the numbers will start to fall.  According to the folks at Franklin Covey, who conduct a survey on New Year’s Resolutions, only 25% of people making resolutions to themselves kept them and over 35% of those resolutions didn’t survive to the end of January.  Two of the biggest reasons people have for not keeping with their commitments were that they had too many other things going on already and they just simply weren’t committed to their resolution in the first place.

But you don’t have to fall into the ranks with those that couldn’t keep it going.  There are a few tips to make keeping your resolutions easier.

  1. Be Specific.  A resolution like Get In Shape is so broad that it’s hard to keep it.  So many things can fall under getting in shape that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  Instead, try setting a goal like, “I will walk for 30 minutes a day 3 days per week”.  30 minutes X 3 days is a measurable goal.  When you can see progress being made towards your goal it’s a lot easier to keep at it.
  2. Make a plan.  Write it down or type it up but this goes hand in hand with being specific about your goal.  Give yourself steps to take to get to your goal and make sure to check each step off as you completed.  Hey, even adults feel better seeing a gold star on their homework.
  3. Be committed to your goal.  If you kinda, sorta want to quit smoking but you really enjoy cigarettes and you’re only doing it because your SO keeps nagging you then you probably shouldn’t make quitting smoking one of your resolutions.  However, if you’ve been smoking for 15 years and you know it’s killing you and you’ve had enough and are ready to kick the habit then rock on, you can do it.  But remember #1 and be specific in how you’re going to do it, it will make keeping at it much easier.
  4. Tell a friend and ask them for support.  Many people underestimate how powerful this can be.  Having a friend or group of friends that can help support you makes a world of difference.  With today’s technology there are even sites where you can have 100’s of friends there to help support you for various things.  Find a forum, an app, a support group or whatever works for you where you don’t go it alone.
  5. Don’t expect yourself to work miracles.  If you’ve got a list with 20 resolutions you’re bound to have some that get broken.  Even worse, the stress of such an overwhelming task could cause you to give up on goals you would have otherwise kept.  Make a short list of goals that are important to you and that are attainable, then kick ass on following through on them.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, and a bit of Google searching is likely to give you several great suggestions as well.  I’ve applied these principles to my weight loss goals and can say they definitely work.  I struggled for many years without a clear plan or goal but once I put some definition to things it helped tremendously.

If losing weight is your resolution there are a lot of great tools available online to help you along the way.  I use MyFitnessPal.com, Fitocracy.com and Runkeeper.com to track my calories and exercise.  Not only do they help keep me on track but there’s a strong community on each site that helps to keep you motivated and give you tips and the discussion forums give some great info as well.

I hope everyone had an awesome 2012 and that your 2013 exceeds all your expectations!

No One But You Can Find Your Motivation

I’m a member on a few weight loss and health forums and I’ve noticed a couple of common themes that come up with people starting (or trying to start) their fitness journey.   One BIG one I hear/see is, “I just can’t get motivated.”  Or even, “I need someone to get me motivated.”  No one but you can be your motivation.  Other people can be motivational, but they cannot be your motivation.

From personal experience I can say that there were many, many times I tried to get in shape and failed.  I would see people say that you’ll only succeed when you were motivated enough to make it happen.  I used to get so angry at this, I felt like I was motivated, I know I really wanted to get in shape.  But over time I found out there’s a difference in really wanting something and having the motivation to make it happen.  My breaking point was around the holidays last year.  I’d gone through a divorce a couple years prior and it really depressed me, I stopped going out with friends and just really quit giving a damn about much of anything.  I didn’t feel good about me at all but rather than making the moves to change it I allowed my mental state to give me an excuse to slide even further.  By the end of 2011 I felt the absolute worst I’d ever felt in my life – physically, mentally and spiritually.  I hit my rock bottom, and that was my motivation.  I couldn’t do the things I used to love doing.  Even going to a museum or the aquarium made me cringe as walking was so difficult that I didn’t know if I’d make it through, I was very close to needing one of those ride-on carts just to go about my daily activity – and I was not going to let that happen.  Getting started was hard and I had some ups and downs, I made some mistakes and still had a few excuses left over.  But now I am 100% motivated to make my life better in every aspect, for me.

When I first made an effort I was so discouraged at the results.  I would get on an exercise bike and would be totally worn out within 3 minutes, that is not an exaggeration.  I would walk around the block and almost hyperventilate walking up the slight incline on my street then I would have to endure horrible leg cramps, muscle aches and general pain all over my body.  I couldn’t sleep because I hurt so much… but I pressed on.  Today I’m proud to say I’ll hike on the weekends and I love it.  I can walk around the block with no issue at all and my 3 minute bike rides went to 5 minutes, then 10, and now I’m riding at 30 minute intervals sometimes twice a day.  About a month back I challenged a friend to do 100 miles on our stationary bikes in one week, I rode 101.7 miles that week.  I still find new muscles that I haven’t used before and have to suffer through them hurting over a few workouts until they get a bit used to being used.  I have to be careful what hikes I take as I still have a ways to go before I can tackle big hills, but I’m steadily on my way.

Wanting to enjoy every day of my life more than I did the day before is what motivates me.  I want to run, climb, jump and go, go, go!  I can do this.  I will do this.  I have the desire and I have the motivation.  I am motivated to change me and I hope others find my journey motivational.  But I cannot be your motivation.  Don’t allow yourself to hit bottom before finding your motivation.  Find something now to be motivated about.  Grab hold of it and do not let go.  Tell yourself every day that you can do it and make sure to believe in yourself.  Never compare your results to someone else, only challenge yourself to be better than you were the day before.  Albert Einstein said, “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.”  If you’re just starting out and you compare your fitness level to an athlete you will feel like a failure, but if you work harder every day and compare what you did last week to what you are doing now you will see what an amazing success you actually are.