As we’re writing this, it is October 2020. For as many unexpected and inexplicable changes as this year has brought, it’s hard to believe that we’re already on the tail end. Dominoes have fallen, and continue to fall around us with each passing day – maybe you found yourself jobless, or have gained new titles like “stay at home parent” or “teacher number two”. One thing is for certain, where we are now is nowhere near where we were at the beginning of the year! If gym closures, added stressors, or the social distance slump has taken you off the path and into the weeds with your health goals it’s okay. If you feel that nagging from within to restart your journey towards women’s fitness, don’t worry, there is no time like the present.
The four-step plan we’re about to go through, as featured in Dr. Vonda Wright’s book Guide to Thrive, will help you to get back on track to prioritize your body, brain, and bliss as we take it one day at a time in the “new normal”.
Women’s Fitness: Where We Are Now
Before we dig into Dr. Vonda Wright’s guidelines to get us back on track, we need to back up for a minute. Maybe you’ve heard this plan already, and maybe you were even following it! No matter where you are today, it’s important to acknowledge and accept your progress. If you didn’t get as far as you wanted to with your health goals, it’s okay! But in order to make progress, we need to shed our guilt and understand why we didn’t make it wherever we were trying to go.
Identify what Led You Off the Path
Time is the best teacher! Reflection reveals our true motivations, and sometimes, our downfalls. Was your vision short termed? Did your vision and reasoning behind setting health goals change without you changing your actions? Did you get tired? Did you get pulled in another direction? Did your vision get hazy? Or did you not have the vision to begin with? If you want to move forward, and if you made it this far into the article we’re assuming you do, take a moment to reflect on why you didn’t make it to point B without shaming yourself or adding guilt onto your shoulders. Be good to your present self, and your past self, to set your future self up for love too.
Realize Your Power Over Your Own Health
Now that we’ve taken a look back, we’re more prepared to achieve our goals than we were when we first started. Before we set our health mile markers, we’ll need something to stake them into. Following these four steps set out in Guide to Thrive will help you to find your true motivations and help you navigate through whatever hurdles are in your way.
Create a Vision
This is the most crucial step to achieving any health goal. It’s easy to set superficial goals – do 50 situps a day, cut sugary soda out of my diet, or even run a marathon. While these are great goals to have in mind, they are baseless without first creating a vision for yourself and believing in that vision. For example, Dr. Wright’s vision is to raise her children and be there for her children’s children, and to change the way we age in this country. This vision isn’t “I want to lose 10 pounds” – it’s much deeper. In order to live the life she envisioned for herself, she needs to take care of her body and health so she can be there for her family and have the energy to revolutionize women’s fitness and health.
No matter how lofty or little your vision seems, you need to conceptualize your future self achieving it, otherwise, sit-ups and daily jogs become meaningless.
One common fault in starting and sticking to your plans is to set an indefinite start date. Even if it’s very definite, like next Monday, the time leading up to it counts in setting your attitude and preparing yourself to hit the ground running. Consider starting right away, not running in a full sprint, but by making small changes that you can do today. For instance, you can make a healthy choice for dinner, start your own at-home workout routine, or get started on drinking plenty of water. It will help to set your mindset and prepare you to take action.
Like we hinted at before, your attitude is a huge determinant of your success. It can be hard to imagine ourselves 10 or 20 years into the future, or even 1 year into the future, but the truth is that you are in charge of 70% of your body’s aging process. By adjusting your attitude to remember that you are worth it today, you are looking for yourself in the future.
Last but not least, celebrate the little wins! It’s important to reward yourself in the short run in little ways to see your progress add up. Try adding a dollar to a “manicure jar”, grab an iced coffee, or grab a square of dark chocolate. What we do with our bodies affects our brains, so rewarding yourself for squeezing mobility into your day goes a long way in ensuring you can start and continue working towards your health goals.
Women’s fitness is more attainable, flexible, and impactful than you might think. No matter where you are now on your fitness journey, you can always get back on the path to the life you envisioned.