Is improving your health and fitness on your priority list AGAIN?

Don’t disappoint yourself –
this is how you set yourself up for success…

Without fail, the Every Year Itch that never leaves the top 5 of people’s lists is health and fitness. Especially in January there are endless echo’s from every corner saying: “I’m going to do it”, “I’m going to take care of myself, move more, eat better, relax frequently and invest in my health”. This is the one every year itch that probably comes up more than once a year, and rarely fails to disappoint.

Long before I consulted people and companies regarding behavioural or strategic matters, I worked with people’s physical bodies, their injuries, diet routines and fitness levels. Through clients I learned that physical fitness isn’t about physical things at all. It’s not about what gym membership you have, how long you do CV fitness, lift weights or what diet you are on. It is all about how you take this itch on from the outset and the decisions you make around it.

Do you do the following:

  • Set out from disappointment and self-loathing and start to do something because you feel you really need to – you end up following a programme, a fashion, a trend and reach for a target (that is high, on top of all your usual commitments, challenging and possibly painful) – you adhere to it for some time and then let yourself down again- a string of starting again/disappointing yourself or losing weight/ re-gaining it will over time make it mentally and physically harder and harder to achieve fitness for life – you end up in a yo-yo/ on-off loop that’s hard to escape.

Try it like this, because it works:

  • Make health and fitness part of your daily/weekly routine (like work, doing the shopping and helping your kids with homework), because you know it’s important – set the bar extremely low so you can easily achieve the goals and win– start by addressing your health and fitness for a portion of the year (i.e. 8 weeks before a holiday, 3 months of the new year, 6 weeks to recover from an injury) – you come to associate it with something that is fun, effective and good for you – it becomes part of your routine long-term – the positive association will make you reset your own targets naturally (but it’s fine if you don’t) and plan for the next “portion” of time.

The second approach always works, but people struggle terribly to set low targets. Once someone is set to address this “Itch” they have the bug to go for it and they want to be ambitious. I’ve had many a discussion with clients to lower the bar. Not because I don’t believe that they can do it, but because I know that life will get in the way. Think about this way:

You plan to do this:

  • 4 training sessions a week of classes and running
  • No alcohol and no sweets or sugary snacks
  • Cut down on carbs
  • Be in bed by 11pm

A recipe for disaster. You will feel terrible when you only train 3 times, or you have a small glass of wine and a sandwich, ending up in bed at 11.30pm. Also impossible to sustain throughout all seasons- this routine isn’t “life” proof.

Imagine you make the plan like this:

  • 2 activities/workouts of 45 min a week
  • No alcohol Sun – Thu
  • Cut down on sugary snacks on Mon, Wed and Fri
  • No complex carbs after 8pm
  • Sleep 7 hours minimum

A winning strategy. Much easier to stick to and when you do more than you intended, you will feel great. Success feeds success.

Address your every year itch and achieve it. You can do this with the right tools and encouragement but set yourself up to succeed. If you are going to be well, fit and healthy for the rest of your life, then start today in a way that you can continue and enjoy it. Reap the benefits without killing yourself. This is for life. Be in charge of it.

Are you ready to reinvent, re-shape, innovate and transition your life, your career, your business?

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