August 28, 2014

Time flies when you’re having fun. Think back to what seems like yesterday, and we were sweltering through January and battling to keep New Years’ Resolutions. Suddenly it’s the end of winter: where did the time go? Now some of us are thinking up new and inventive ways to hide from summer.

Now that winter is ending, many people start to panic. Shorts, sleeveless tops, and swimwear become appropriate again, but the panic involves whether the body and the confidence are appropriate for these clothes. Sure, it shouldn’t matter, but for many people it does.

A plan of action is needed. This plan of action must be ‘doable’. It must be sustainable.

Find an eating plan that you can implement both for yourself and for other members of the household. Initiate an exercise routine.Find someone or a group to support you in achieving your goals.

There are many 30-day challenges around, where Day 1 starts with a tiny amount of exercise (for example, 1 push-up) and is added to each day until by Day 30 the challenge is really hard (eg 30 push ups).

The interesting thing is that over the course of 30 days, your body becomes adapted to the challenge and Day 30 actually isn’t anywhere near as hard as it would have been had you tried it on Day 1.

You don’t have to do one of these challenges to benefit from the idea. Start today. Start small. Start with something you can see yourself doing every day.

Let’s use a daily walk as an example.

  1. Day 1: Walk to the letter box and back.
  2. Day 2: Walk to the corner and back.
  3. Day 3: Walk around the block.
  4. Day 4: Walk to the bus stop.
  5. Day 5: Walk to the corner store.

You get the idea. A very small addition each day means that by Day 30, the exercise will be part of your daily routine. Whatever distance you’re capable of by Day 30 might be enough, or perhaps you could continue to add to it. Maybe you could add some small bursts of slow jogging to the longer walk.

This gradual approach means that the added time it takes to complete the exercise can fit into your lifestyle and your priorities, so that it really is ‘doable’ and sustainable.

The key to success is to avoid starting with the end in mind. Start with the start in mind. Think about what needs to be done today. Then tomorrow, do the same thing – think about what needs to be done today. And again and again.

As an extreme example, no marathon runner started by running a marathon. They started by walking, built up to running, increased the distance, and then at some stage thought “I’d like to run a marathon”. Then they focused their training.

Make your exercise routine ‘doable’ and regular. Make it non-negotiable. Make it easy to commit to. Make spring your time for developing the routine and the habit, and enjoy summer rather than hiding from it.