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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Planning For a Change

The other day I posted a little motivational blurb on my FaceBook page Fitness Bitness . When I thought a little bit more about it, I realized that it wasn’t as little as it appeared. Lots of info in just a few words. 

Little steps can lead to a big change. But no steps lead nowhere.
If you are not ready to step out today, then start formulating your plan for the day that you are ready. Start working on the following:
1. Positive Motivation Plan- identify what motivates you and how you will use that to your advantage.
2. Exercise Plan - List some exercises to start daily. Just a few reps will do at first.
3. Healthy Food Plan - List a handful of ways you can clean up your diet. Try adding 1 thing at a time.
Remember to make your plan for a beginner. Biggest Loser style is a fantasy. Try to keep it simple and relatively easy at first. Lay down some positive patterns then you will be able to build on that foundation more successfully.
And one last really important piece of advice;
Believe in yourself! I believe in you.

I thought it might be helpful to break this puppy down and do a three part series on planning for a change.
I am a huge planner. I love lists, tables, sticky notes. I’m a visual planner. I like to see my tasks laid out before me. Use to I could keep all this stuff in my head, but 40 came a knockin’ and something had to give a little.
So first things first. What is the best method to plan your new health and fitness attack? What is the best diet? What is the best motivation? What is the best exercise plan? I have opinions, big ones. You want to hear mine?
This may come as confusing to some and a relief to others, but, listen close. Are you ready for it?


 My techniques are not best for everyone and your techniques may only be good for you. The best is what works best for you right now. It may not work best for you in the future. This is where we have to learn what works and stick with it only as long as it works for us. Then we reassess and reapply new techniques. We are always a work in progress. Always. 

That being out of the way, I’ll address some ideas you may be able to use to help get you started on setting up a plan that works for you. Because one thing is for sure, failing to plan is planning to fail. 

So that facebook post above ended with the call for belief in yourself. I think that if you can harness that positive mindset in the beginning, your battle is already won. Honestly, I didn’t have that in the beginning. I had some fierce determination. But belief that I would change lagged behind a good deal until I started seeing bigger changes.
So how I actually started was I sat down with a notebook and wrote down what I wanted to change. Of course it was solely focused on losing weight. That was the goal. Then I wrote down 8 reasons why I wanted to lose weight. You know things like feel better, fit in my clothes better, inspire others, etc. Next I asked myself, how my life would be better if I lost weight. I really tried to paint a picture here. I wanted it to be vibrant and imaginative. I wanted to be able to read that list and almost feel what I wanted. Then I made the list of how my life would be if I didn’t lose weight. Of course that list was made up of the way a currently felt. And then the last list I wrote was how I would get healthy. The nuts and bolts of the plan I wanted to start with. It addressed beginning exercises and beginning diet plan. I then weighed myself and took measurements and took pictures. My weight and my measurements mean very little to me now. I have progressed past those rudimentary marks of success, but in the beginning they meant everything.  The photos tell a much better story however. It was hard to take the photos but I’m glad I did.

Now I would suggest you approach things a little differently. You know keep a little of the old and throw in a dash of the new. Always be learning and refining your approach. So here is what I would suggest you do as a beginner looking to start somewhere in addressing your health and fitness. 

1.    Get a notebook and actually write out this stuff. Invest some serious time and thought in your answers. Address the following:
a.       What is the goal? Lose weight is the most common answer. I would suggest listing 3-5 goals with 2-3 of them not pertaining to your appearance. It could be something like drop your cholesterol number or lower your blood pressure or have more energy, etc. Try to keep from the whole process being about the book cover. The contents of the book are more important after all.
b.      Then list out why you want these goals. Be specific. You want to be able to come back to this list as motivation. As a reminder to why you are on this journey.
c.       Next list how your life will be better when you reach these goals. Again, be specific and use sensory words. Feelings, what you will be able to do or wear. How you will act and move. I’m actually looking at my list and I have seen every one of my responses come to pass. But you know what? I’ve gained so much more than those 8 responses I wrote down. The journey just keeps getting better and better.
d.      Now list how your life will be if you don’t meet your goals. And don’t dwell in this spot to long. It really is time to stop living in this negative world and move your mind to the positive possibility world.
e.      And lastly for this section, list some things that motivate you. It could be success stories or videos. It could be motivational signs and sayings. Maybe it could even be fitness blogs (hint hint) or accountability groups. What gets you fired up? Write it down. These will be the things that you go to daily if needed to pump yourself up. You don’t just get motivation out of thin air. It’s cultivated. It’s tended and added a little at a time. Motivation and mindset are very closely related. Mindset being how I see myself and motivation being the force used upon your mind to get your actions in line with your vision for change.  With good motivation, you can literally change your mind.

If you will start with this motivational part, then you will have a framework to go back to when the going gets tough. You can remind yourself of where you are headed and why you want to head there. Motivation kept me going on the days I just didn’t care. Some motivational facebook pages kicked me into high gear or inspired me when I was about to throw in the towel. Set yourself up for the win by surrounding yourself with constant and positive messages.

Next post, we will delve into Exercise planning!

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