It might be those last two miles on your run, the final ten minutes of your kickbox class, or the last 3 days of your diet challenge. All you wanna do is rest that weary body in a glorious Cheeto-laden heap on the ole’ potato maker. (read: your living room sofa.) It’s too easy. You can just head home, turn the tube on and call it a day.
We’ve all been there.
But you know what that road looks like. You know where it ends. How it feels when that cereal bowl of rocky-road is bone-dry and the laugh-track starts sounding stale. Honestly, how many euphemisms for “grisly demise” can those SVU detectives come up with? You can watch all Sunday afternoon and find out, but I guarantee there are more rewarding marathons out there.
Anyone can start a program of exercise and sound eating.
Day 1: “Eat raw carrots and broccoli for snacks? Pshh, I’ll eat them for every meal!! Half-measures are for the weak!!!”
But sticking to it is a whole different thing.
Day 6: “Maybe just a 1/2 mile walk today. After all, I did take out the trash earlier. And heck, the dog looks pretty tired too.”
Day 13: “Shut that alarm off NOW. You know we’re not going to iHOP until 10:30. Oh that diet thing? Let’s wait for New Years, it’s only a couple months away…”
So how do you tough it out? Where does that lady with the 3 kids and the day job find the resources to come in at the same time every day for an hour of hardcore butt-kicking cardio? Here are 5 things to think about next time you want to get started on the new you.
1) Make Modest Goals – and meet them. Not a morning person? Then don’t promise yourself that you’re going to get up for the 5:30 kickbox class five days a week for the next 3 months. Sure, you might make it through the first week. You deserve a pat on the back for the second. But if you’re miserable, you’re never going to really commit to this transformation. When planning, start small and stay reasonable. But once you’ve committed yourself, go hard.
2) Take a Day Off. Don’t hit it every day of the week. Not only does your body need time to recover from the barrage of intense activity you’ve now added to your regiment, but your mind needs the chance to take a breather as well. Use that time to enjoy the benefits of the program you’re on – the new energy you might have found and the endurance that your body is able to keep. Let loose on a meal as well, you’ll go crazy if you have to give up your old favorites for good. Plan this day in advance, so you won’t have the excuse to play hooky whenever you want. This way, there’s always something to look forward to.
3) But No More Than Two. A day off is fine. Two is okay as well. But any more than that, you’ll feel your newfound energy and momentum quickly depleting. Being on program is a commitment, and you need to make sure that discipline doesn’t lose steam during any time off you take. If you find yourself stuck in a stream of busy days, try to fit a quick 10 minute workout in, like this one.
4) Get a Mantra. The single greatest predictor of how successful your program is lies with whether you come in and do work on the days that you least want to. Maybe the weather’s nasty, your calves are a bit sore, and your husband just RedBoxed the Hunger Games. Here’s where you make it or break it. Close your eyes and tell yourself whatever it is you need to hear. “You’re doing it.” “Go slow.” “Head up.” “Whatever it takes.” Then take a deep breath, and get on with it. Cheat day’s not ’til Thursday.
5) Listen to Yourself. All this said, if you’re finding there’s an ache that just won’t go away or a hunger that is dramatically affecting your mood day in and out, you might need to reassess. You’re doing this to make that better, stronger, tougher you. You’re not in it to wreck yourself! Be kind to your body and find out what’s at the heart of your trouble. Maybe the program is too much too soon; maybe there are other factors at work like a lingering injury or external stresses at work or home. Make some adjustments, and come back harder than ever.