Planning is my friend, at least when it comes to sticking to a healthy routine, which is something I’ve been striving to do these days.
Meal planning helps me avoid going out or getting take out when I have ‘nothing to make for dinner’ in the kitchen. It also helps me from straying into the cookie aisle. Scheduling and planning my times to exercise isn’t just helpful, it’s necessary. I’m no different from anyone else with two young kids – no planning means no time for exercise.
Right now, my schedule allows for a 30-40 minute workout three mornings a week, for which I’m very thankful. I try to make the most of the two days I don’t have a scheduled workout with a walk or bike ride, but as there are two little somebodies around, these plans don’t always work out the way I’d like them to! This is my summer schedule. When fall comes, things will change and I’m actually kind of nervous about it. So, I’m planning for it. Planning for pitfalls is what helps avoid completely derailing (at least that’s my theory).
For me, when fall rolls around everything changes. The kids’ schedules and mine are thrown for a loop and the time I have now for my three workouts? Poof! Gone. My plan of attack is to get up early to workout. I have a whole raft of reasons this doesn’t work and I’ve been clinging to it for ages, but really, it’s the only sane option left to keep working out and I’m going to face it and take the plunge. So I need to figure out what I can do to make getting up before my family does work better for me so I can stick to it.
One of my favorite approaches is the “you don’t have to do it all/the same as last time, you just need to do something” to get me going. We’re talking the epitome of short-term goals here. Even on current workout days, I sometimes feel utter dread as I wave goodbye to my kids and husband as they set off, on their way to childcare drop-off, thinking how much I don’t want to do anything. But I tell myself that my goal is do something: I don’t have to do what I did the last time, but I do have to put on my sneakers and do something. Last time I did that I had my best workout of the summer (and goodness, was I sore the next day as proof!).
I think I’m getting better at setting goals. Of course, the end goal I have in mind is wonderful, but it’s too far off and too unreal to me at this point. Short-term goals work better for me and I get a real sense of achievement when I reach the goal (even if it’s just “do something today”).
I just started using Slimkicker.com to help set and keep track of goals, too. It’s kind of like Livestrong: there’s a great food diary section that tracks not just calories, but carbs, proteins, sodium, and so on. And you get to input the exercise you’ve done, to keep track of how that is coming along. Plus there are groups to build connections and gain inspiration and forums for various diets.
But my favorite part are the challenges. There are a bunch of 7-day and 30-day challenges you can join. Somehow, promising to give up soda for 7 days feels so much more do-able than swearing it off indefinitely. I check in everyday to keep me honest that I’ve stayed off the Diet Dr. Pepper and the Diet Coke (my favorites). And I’ve found some other challenges, like “playing with my kids” and “30 minutes of down time” that are truly helpful from a feel-good perspective, too (that’s all part of this healthy living thing, right?!).
Checking in, entering my exercise and food diary info for the day, and so on earns me points and moves me along and up another level and that’s motivating. Plus you can upload a picture of a reward such as a cheat food, or a massage, or whatever you’re looking forward to, and as you reach a certain number of points, you’re reminded to reward yourself with that reward. I can’t control the scale directly, but I can control my behavior directly and seeing progress toward my health goals, even when the bathroom scale isn’t showing it, really helps me stick to my routine.
My first level reward I’ve chosen? New sneaks! (Boy do I need some. Can’t wait to go shopping – I’m 57% of the way to this goal already!)
This has given all this “planning” and “scheduling” and “routine” a little fun – like a game, which can go a long way in helping a person stick to something, too! Check out Slimkicker.com (it’s free and there’s an app version, too, for on the go).
GIVEAWAY: Want to win this seriously fantastic kitchen scale? (It sure puts my old-school, analog, plastic number to shame!)
Just comment below with your idea for a 7-day or 30-day challenge. Explain your fun and creative diet or fitness challenge in a phrase or a couple of sentences. The best one wins!*
Giveaway closes at 10pm Eastern, on August 1, 2012.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU!
*Chosen by Slimkicker – giveaway sponsor.