Care to venture a guess as to the most common piece of advice I give at the gym?
Lift heavier weights?
Less pizza, more salad?
Don’t forget to stretch?
All good tips, but no. There’s one piece of advice I’ve shared more times than all of those – and others – combined: GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE.
Trust the process. Stay the course. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Various forms of “be patient” are often the conversation starter but in our instant-gratification society, no one wants to be reminded that it took 10 years to gain that 50 pounds, so it’s not going to take 10 days to lose it.
There’s actually one very simple thing you need to do to get the best results, but more on that in the next blog.
Recently, one of my members switched jobs, forcing her to change her workout schedule. She was part of the Happy Hour Crew at 6pm but working late means the 5:30am Zombie Crew has become the most viable option.
Here’s how it went on day one of the new schedule: Signed up for class, hit the snooze, missed class.
Day two: Repeat day one.
Day three: Samesies.
Day four: Didn’t bother to sign up. Will try again Monday.
This one is all about mindset and expectation. What happened during week one was the result of a “perfection” mindset and an unrealistic expectation.
When she committed to the new schedule, she saw herself popping out of bed when the alarm went off and prancing happily off to class. Ok, that’s a little far-fetched. No one prances anymore. But she did see herself managing to waking up on time, get dressed and (perhaps somewhat groggily) drive to the gym.
You know what she didn’t anticipate? How amazing a warm bed feels at 5am, especially when it’s cold outside. And how easy it is to sleep instead of work out. And how hard it is to start a new routine (especially when the alternative is a warm bed and sleep).
But the biggest thing she didn’t anticipate: The idea of perfect. Perfect says, “If I start this today, I have to do this EVERY SINGLE day. Which is not only false, it’s overwhelming.
What if we reframe the mindset and realize now is not the time to be perfect?
If to you, “perfect” is five workouts a week, what if you do your best and start with a goal of two? Two workouts a week is a helluva lot better than zero. Eating clean two days a week will make you feel a lot better than zero days of decent nutrition.
If you set a goal of five workouts a week and you do two, you feel like you’ve failed. If you set a goal of two workouts a week and you do two, you’ve accomplished your goal. If you do three, BOOM SAUCE. Extra credit.
Here’s the bottom line: Getting started – or starting again – is not easy so give yourself some grace. Your journey is different from everyone else’s so don’t use your neighbor, your co-worker or even your significant other as your success barometer.
Your best friend works out six days a week. Awesome. Your mom’s sister’s dog walker loves that class where you strap on boots and jump around. Cool. Your co-worker follows a strict Paleo diet. Fine. That’s not your jam… yet. Or ever. When you can start with small, sustainable changes FOR YOU that are achievable in week one, celebrate that success and build on it for subsequent weeks. That’s how two workouts becomes three… then four… and that’s when your body starts craving the healthy foods to fuel your active lifestyle. And the cycle continues.
But for right now, for this moment, you have one goal: Forget perfect. Just start.