Don't go nuts!

Or, buzzword bingo: 'sustainability'.

(But not in a Social Studies teacher way)

Fitness and health are not short-term things. When you start to build back to that level where you were before, or where you imagine you could be, or start at all, you want to see results. You want things to happen. And so, many of us are tempted to hit that latest 12-week-plan or celebrity diet that we see in facebook or wherever, we spend up large on gym memberships, and we hope that this time it will be different.

What I have found, through lots of trial and error, is that this just doesn't work. When I get to the end of the 12 (or however many) weeks, I just go back to doing what I did before, because that plan or diet or programme was just too hard to do all the time. And as the saying goes, "if you always do what you've always done ..."

But, if I just make one or two small changes at a time, then I am far more likely to keep going with them, and to see effects that last. This where that idea of sustainability comes in, and how I am managing my fitness re-start. (and here I go with another list...)
  • Don't do too much. I am aiming at one fitness class and two other bits of exercise a week. The fitness class is good, because it makes me accountable. I have known my instructor since our small people were at playcentre together, and many of the others in the class are people I know and am friends with. The two other bits of exercise could be anything - mostly they are both a run, but last weekend, after dropping the pink small person at dancing I just didn't feel like doing that. So I thought about what I did want, came home, and did a half hour of yoga with the online yoga class recommended by a colleague, (thanks Andrea). I felt good, and that, added to the run I had done earlier in the week meant I didn't need to get out for my longer run on Sunday when the weather was rubbish.
  • Fit it around what you already do. We are all busy people, but there are generally gaps that we can fit something into without the logistics getting too hard. My fitness class is scheduled by my trainer to be on at a time when small people are generally fed and another parent is likely to be home to look after aforementioned small people (Yay, Beth!). My during-the-week run usually happens either when the blue small person has a football practice or the pink small person is dancing. (Luckily both small people are not so small any longer, and so the not-dancing or -footballing one can be trusted left at home for an hour or so by themselves.) The weekend activity is easier to fit in.
  • Don't feel guilty*. Sometimes the logistics get too hard. Or I get sick. Or there is something scheduled that I have to do. That's okay. I can skip one, and just do the others for the week. I don't have to make some supreme sacrifice to catch up. And I don't have to drop the whole thing as too hard forever, just because that one part of it was. I am doing what I can, and I feel good about that, rather than feeling bad about what I can't or am not doing. 
What this all adds up to is making my changes sustainable. Because they are not big changes, and they are designed to fit in with my life, I can keep them going over a longer period of time. This means that they become part of my lifestyle, rather than something which is fighting against it like those 12-week programmes do. If I want to, later on, I can add something more in, but what I am doing now works really well for me, and so I am going to keep doing it.

What do you do to make your fitness goals a sustainable part of your life? How do you fit everything in? Or, what might be just one change you could make that you could start you back in?

#fitandhealthy #fitnessgoals #startagain #startover #fityou

*I'll be doing another post about the big-picture version of this later on.


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