I’ve been talking a lot lately about your core values. What’s important to you? Why is it important? How can you prioritize these things? These values and the WHY are how you set goals that actually stick. This applies to all kinds of goals- personal, nutrition, business, and of course fitness goals.
If you know your “why” and who you truly are, and then make sure every change you focus on aligns with this, you stay TRUE TO YOU! If you’re not being true to yourself, no change you make will have a long term difference towards your objective.
My Ah-Hah Moment
Since becoming a mom, my whole outlook on fitness has changed. It used to be that my appearance was my first and foremost objective for setting fitness goals. Yes, it made me feel good, confident, and more energized. But my main focus was the muscle tone and the number on the scale.
When these superficial things were my focus, I was inconsistent. I felt like I was either forcing activity or being lazy. Basically, I was taking activity and my body for granted.
Unfortunately for my pregnancy, my fitness was in a lull when we conceived. So I wasn’t able to maintain my strength even though I tried to stay active. I felt weak, had low energy, and gained too much weight for my tiny frame to handle by the time I had Gordon. Add in the unplanned c-section after 24 hours of labor, and I had NEVER felt so terribly weak and was in physical pain all the time.
This was my ah-ha moment. The moment I realized how much I needed physical activity. The moment that I knew I had taken it for granted. I was itching to get moving again. I couldn’t wait for my doctor to clear me for exercise. When I finally was cleared, I had to start super small and slow. But it still felt so good. It felt great to just MOVE. And every teeny tiny step forward in my fitness level felt like a gift. And I knew I would never take this gift for granted again.
Fitness as a New Mom
So of course, I had my ah-hah moment just as I was entering the hardest chapter of my life 🤦🏻♀️. How was I going to make this a lasting habit with a new baby?
The answer was 2 simple things:
1. I made it an absolute priority, and
2. I did ONLY what I was capable of WHEN I was capable of it.
This meant that in the beginning, I would only exercise at sporadic times. Whenever I could get it in, even if it was only 15 minutes on his naptime or a short walk if it was nice out with the baby. When I got to a point in my business where I really needed to spend his nap time working, I decided I wanted to get up early to work out.
But I had a baby, and babies don’t sleep through the night. The key was to not beat myself up for needing to sleep in a few days here and there. It sounds counterintuitive to some people to let yourself off the hook, but it really is essential.
Just because something is important to you doesn’t mean you don’t ever need a break.
And if you’re going through something like the 4 month sleep regression, you have to forgive yourself for taking that break. Even if it’s often. If you don’t, you’ll constantly feel like you’ve failed and then exercise becomes this chore you can’t make yourself stick with instead of something you WANT to do for YOU.
How This Was Different
Taking breaks when I needed to felt different than my previous exercise ebb and flows. Before, it was because it wasn’t important to me enough. The number on the scale wasn’t enough motivation for me long term. But now, my reason for my fitness goals is more than that. And I take breaks because I’m honoring my body and my sanity. This is a MAJOR difference.
Step by Step Tips for Fitness Goals that Stick
- Start by nailing down a routine. Not just a “one size fits all” calendar given to you by some fitness empire. Just a daily, flexible routine. It doesn’t have to include exercise right off the bat. I started by only setting a goal that I wanted to get up before everyone else in the house. I *somehow* got my husband to agree to wake up with Gordon so that if I was still getting ready for the day, I wouldn’t be rushed to get through my routine. If that’s not an option for you, brainstorm other ways to create a little more time in your day, whether that’s in the morning or at night. So I decided that with or without exercise, I would be up. At first, I just made sure I was showered and dressed for the day. Then I started adding in exercise and/or meditation. I woke up early even on the days I didn’t feel like exercising. I made breakfast and coffee, and did a little work. This helped me stick to my routine, which helps me keep the window of time for exercise open.
- Start where you’re at. When it comes to your fitness goals, don’t just jump in all at once. When you’re motivated to make changes, it can be tempting to do that. It’s also tempting because you may think “well if I skip a day or 2, then it throws me out of the routine and then I won’t keep it up”. Well, see above for that excuse- keep your routine and window of time open, but do something else if you need a rest day. The same goes for what you’re doing. Don’t go from walking to Cross Fit. You have to start where you’re at and slowly build. It will feel more natural and then one day, you’ll feel like a fitness queen 👑.
- Make it enjoyable. This may mean mixing it up. For a while, I got up early to go to kickboxing classes. It was just what I needed at the time and I felt great! But as soon as that started feeling more like a chore than fun, I stopped and found something else. It’s ok to search for new types of activity. It’s actually better for your muscles, stamina, and health to mix it up sometimes. You can mix it up every few months, or mix it up within your week. Personally, I enjoy my activity most when I vary the intensity of my workouts. So sometimes I run, sometimes I work my muscles with Jillian Michaels, and sometimes I stretch it out with yoga. But I still love random classes and workouts like kickboxing, UGI, barre, pilates, etc to keep it interesting. For you, it may mean taking hikes once or twice a week, playing your favorite sport on a regular basis (my husband plays in an adult rec basketball league), swimming, dance parties with the kids, a dance workout of some sort, Class Pass so you can get the best of everything. There are so many ways to stay active, so just find what’s most enjoyable to you! Or, if there is something you like doing- like skiing/snowboarding, surfing, running, choose workouts that will improve your performance, or sign up for an event to train for, so that you have another reason to exercise and work towards your goals.
How the Right Fitness Goals Impact Your Overall Wellness
With my Never Diet Again clients, nutrition is only one aspect of several. Setting the right fitness goals is another. I always use these steps because my goal with each client is not necessarily to “burn as many calories as possible”. Of course, when suggesting certain workouts to focus on, I keep in mind their personal health and fitness goals. But MY objective is to help them create space in their lives to make exercise a reality for them in the long term. Because I want them to create a lifestyle that allows them to reach their goals and never have to look back. I don’t WANT them to come back to me a few years later saying that they “fell off the wagon”. I want them to learn about themselves and I want them to know how to stay healthy while living full lives.
Exercise and being physically fit helps us to keep our mental health in shape as well. It keeps us centered, it gives us more energy, it boosts our moods. So this is a VITAL part of overall wellness. But you can’t do it by forcing someone else’s workout plan on yourself. You have to do what works for you!