So here I am, on April Fools Day, no less, forging ahead with my experiment. I will focus on one specific behavior each month in my own life, and catalog my journey along the way. My goal is to share my process with the hopes of inspiring you to make your own changes or at a minimum empathizing with your struggles to make lasting behavior change. I welcome your comments, thoughts, support and criticism.
When developing this idea, I spoke with one of my coaches (yes, I have multiple!) about the fine line between a blog being self-serving and/or preachy and being a vehicle by which I can share with, teach and learn from others. I trust you all will keep me honest.
I brainstormed a list of specific behaviors (note, these are not bigger “goals” per se, but singular behaviors that I would like to change in order to reach the bigger goals). Here are a few of them:
- Drink more water
- Go to bed earlier
- Cut out sugar
- Work out consistently
- Meditate daily
- Go on weekly “Artist Dates”
- Write daily
- Be on time
- Be more organized
- Put myself first once daily
Good list, right? These are the little things that nag at me on pretty much a daily basis…things that I really want to be doing as I know what an impact they will make in my life. I also know that if I try to tackle all of them at once, I will fail. So I decided to pick the one thing first that 1) I think will have the MOST impact on my life 2) is on most of YOUR lists and 3) is probably the hardest. WORK OUT CONSISTENTLY! Making Fitness A Priority. Why the hardest one first? I like to employ the “swallow the frog” theory made popular by Brian Tracy’s book on procrastination: Eat That Frog! — the concept is actually about doing the most dreaded/big task first thing in the morning and everything else will “go down” easier, but I also link it to bigger projects – this may be the hardest one for me to actually do consistently, but I figure if I get this right, everything else will be a piece of cake!
First I need to actually define the behavior I wish to change. Specifically, I have found that the number one reason I don’t work out consistently is because I don’t make it a priority — in the past I have treated working out as a “luxury” — something I can do if I have time after everything else — vs. a priority — something that is just as important or urgent as everything else.
The best way I know to prioritize something is to plan for it. So, to get really specific, the behavior I need to change is to stop putting working out on the back burner, and start PRIORITIZING fitness by PLANNING for it.
I need to have my “behavior” be measurable (so I know when it’s actually changing), so I am going to do that in two ways:
1) I commit to working out 3-5 times/week, with a mixture of strength and fitness
2) I will take my measurements at the beginning of the month and at the end of the month
The second measure is more for the satisfaction factor – I am actually not worried about the numbers and do not want to set specific goals around that. I purely want to change my behavior (and attitude) around working out so that it is so much a part of me that it happens naturally. I know that fitness is essential and foundational to success. I know that when I am employing physical activity in my life, I feel better, I am more productive, and it is easier to accomplish all that I have on my plate. As I said to my coach, when I don’t workout, I know I can “get there” and get it done, but with a strong, active body as a foundation, my energy and outlook are supporting me, vs. pulling me down. And CONSISTENT exercise helps me maintain that outlook and energy level.
Now that the behavior has been defined, I need to identify those actions that will help me change that behavior:
1) Make a plan for working out (weekly? monthly?)
2) Put workouts in my schedule — treat them as non-negotiable
3) Tell people (guess I’m already doing that)
4) Get support (from husband on days he needs to watch kids, from friend who works at gym, from coaches)
5) Do it.
So, today I am going to 1) go to the gym and get my measurements taken and 2) get the schedule and sit down and block out my workouts.
What do you think? Are you in? I’m off to the gym. Let’s do this thing.