Spring cleaning isn’t just about tidying up your bedroom and the kitchen. It’s a good idea to take a fresh look at your fitness routine and health goals regularly. Milestones like daylight savings time or the first day of spring are great reminders to review, revise and reset your healthy habits.
If you feel frustrated by your progress or you can’t even remember what goals you set in January, it’s time to take a moment for honest reflection. If you don’t see the results you want it doesn’t make sense to keep going down the same path. Even if what you’re doing worked for you before it doesn’t mean it will work now. Taking time to reset your healthy habits means letting go of what was, connecting to what is and understanding what you want for the future.
I have four questions that I ask clients when they start working with me. These four questions are designed to help us both get a clear sense of what they want for themselves and how I can help motivate them to get there.
What do you really want to achieve from this program?
The initial answer is often to lose weight or feel better. Those are both great places to start, but the truth is they aren’t enough to keep you moving past your FailPoint. I challenge my clients to dig a little deeper and ask themselves why that goal matters. For example, if your health numbers are excellent and you can do what you want to do, why does losing any weight matter? Sometimes it is more about what the weight is keeping you from doing (like running a faster half-marathon) or fear of your genetic legacy. Digging deep to find your real why will help keep you focused and moving forward.
Why haven’t you achieved that yet?
I hear lack of motivation, lack of discipline, not knowing where to start and time management as the most significant obstacles. Asking for help and getting a coach can help all of these but you also have to better understand yourself. I recommend using the Four Tendencies framework from Gretchen Rubin to find out if you respond best to internal expectations (Questioner), external expectations (Obligor), both (Upholder) or neither (Rebel). Knowing yourself helps us both create the best system of accountability (the other reason people hire me) and the right tools to help you develop healthy habits.
I also hear a lot of “I know what to do. I just can’t make myself do it.” I want to push back on that notion. You may know what worked temporarily for your life and body ten or twenty years ago. In most cases, this is not what you need today. Every time you do not see results it is time to think like a beginner and be open to new strategies.
What awesome things might happen to you if you did make progress?
I love asking clients to dream! I challenge them to create a 100 Dreams List or do a 19 in 2019 list. Here is where I want you to think about the answer to the first question and create a picture of where you want to be a year from now. What are you doing? Who are you with? What do you feel? Think about how your goals and your list of dreams match up. Dream beyond the wedding next month or the first day at the lake. Dream a year or five or ten down the road. Do you want to dance all night at your daughter’s wedding? Do you want to take your grandkids hiking? Do you want to climb Machu Picchu? Visions of a healthier and happier life years from now will keep you more focused and committed than a high school reunion in a couple of months.
What specific things in your daily life will show you that you’re on the right track?
The grind will set in. You will get frustrated when pounds don’t fall off immediately. There are times I have to almost beg some clients to just hang in there as we slowly build consistent healthy habits. It takes redefining results to stay with it when the scale doesn’t budge. You need to set measurable non-scale victories. Can you touch your toes now? Can you get up off the floor without help? Can you carry all the groceries into the house in one trip? Do your pants feel looser despite the lack of change in the scale? Is your blood pressure down or your HDL up? These are wins to be celebrated! Determine what measurable milestones you can set for yourself that will show you that you are on your way to a healthier happier life. If healthy habits are done consistently your body will start to change shape and weight, but it takes months not days if done in a sustainable way.
If you want to do a thorough spring cleaning of your fitness routine and reset your healthy habits start with these questions. If you find your obstacles are more about thoughts than actions, I suggest you work with a health coach (like myself) or consider joining my upcoming Refill Your Cup retreat. We’re going to focus on topics like self-compassion and emotional eating while we relax in the woods. I only have one room left so registration will close soon. Click here to join us or email me for more information.