Don’t Put It Off

by tinareale on December 8, 2011

Whew! This week. I know I have said it already, but I will say it again. This time of year always has loads going on. Not that it’s a bad thing, since it usually involves fun activities, but I have been wiped. I haven’t been up for much in the name of activity the past few days…and while doing my best to eat healthy, quick meals, a few extra treats have still been consumed.

I want to be clear. I’m not down on myself for these things. However, I know how easily I can slip into the approach of “It’s just that time of year. No point in trying. I’ll worry about healthy habits at the New Year.”

I’ve done it plenty of times in my past. And I refuse to do it again this year. So, I treat each day…moment..as new. And it’s time to START NOW.

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Awhile ago, I received the honor of joining an inspiring bunch of individuals as a Fitfluential Ambassador.

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We received a call to share our tips and reasons for not waiting to take action with our health and fitness journeys. It’s been on my mind ever since. What would be my tips and reasons?

Well, my reason is simple. I’m a better person when I strive for a healthy lifestyle. When I workout, eat well, rest enough, and care for my health…I’m happier, kinder, more patient, more capable, more energetic, more self-loving, and…well…better. In every sense. That is reason enough for me to keep up with fitness. And reason enough not to fall into the “wait for the New Year” trap. Which is why I start NOW. Every day. Here are my personal 7 methods to keep the fitness momentum moving. Not a month from now. Today!

1. Find Support. Having a support network to encourage your healthy goals makes a huge difference when starting up healthier habits or facing more challenges than normal. The blog network is a great place to find this support and I’m thankful for each of you every day.

2. Use Quick Training Methods. We’re all pressed for time. Too many times we may skip a workout completely when we can’t fit in a full hour or do an entire planned session. However, something is always better than nothing and quality matters more than quantity. You can still fit in a challenging workout in 30, 20, or even 15 minutes. My favorite ways to get quick and effective workouts are through weight training circuits and cardio intervals.

3. At Home Options. Along that same line, I make sure to have an at-home workout option when I can’t make it to the gym or it’s too cold for a walk or run. That way there are no excuses. Here’s a sample:

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4. Goals you can control. Instead of focusing on a goal you can’t 100% control (like what the scale says), focus on what you can control. Setting a realistic goal such as eating a particular number of veggies, fitting in X amount of workouts in a week, or splurging only on dessert OR a drink instead of both can promote a sense of accomplishment. Every healthy decision adds up and leads you closer to other related goals. Plus, it’s easier to avoid any sense of discouragement and a desire to “give up” with this approach.

5. Commit to a fitness goal in the early New Year. Signing up for an early race or a fitness challenge that ends in January, can help motivate you to stay on track with your goals now rather than waiting for January 1st to roll around on the calendar.

6. Start healthy traditions. There are a LOT of traditions that revolve around baking cookies, building gingerbread houses, sipping eggnog, and other high-calorie treats. Those all have their place, but consider creating a fun tradition that revolves around activity – like an active game night (Wii Fit or Charades, even) or a visit to the ice skating rink. Have a healthy soup meal to accompany the tradition and warm you up from the chill.

7. Progress…not perfection. Don’t think in all or nothing terms. Take the season one day at a time. One meal at a time. Make the best decision possible and don’t dwell on that unplanned cookie in the office break room. Make the most of each day and focus on the positive steps you take. Progress isn’t linear – it has its ups and downs. But the key still remains to work towards overall progress.

What tips would you give someone to START NOW? What motivates you to keep going on your own fit journey?

{ 49 comments }

1 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 8, 2011 at 7:35 am

I agree – this time of the year is crazy! I was kind of dreading the fact that we had 4 weeks of school in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but yowza! It’s going by waaaay too fast. Okay, not way too fast, but really fast.

Thanks for chatting with me the other night. I miss our chat sessions!

2 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Me too! We’ve just had things going on literally every night the past two weeks. It’s calming down after this weekend though. Finally. So hopefully we can catch each other more again.

3 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat December 8, 2011 at 7:37 am

I think if you can life a healthy, balanced lifestyle this time of year, you can do it ANY time. It’s a great time to learn moderation and ways to keep active with a busy schedule!

4 Lauren December 8, 2011 at 7:48 am

Why wait to get your life in check? Seriously, if you were diagnosed with an illness, you wouldn’t say, “I think I’ll wait until the near year to get healthy.” People should have the same mindset. Living healthy isn’t about a timeline that starts and ends. It should be a life change that never goes away!

5 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Oh I LOVE that example on how to view it.

6 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon December 8, 2011 at 8:11 am

Schedule workouts on your calendar! I always put them onto my google calendar and having it there to remind me help hold me accountable!

And I like #6 about starting healthy traditions. In my nutrition class, in the context of a discussion on obesity treatment, my professor presented research showing that it’s much easier to sustain lifestyle exercise (walking to work, playing with your kids, etc) than exercise that is solely for the purpose of exercise(i.e. going to the gym).

When out of shape, going to the gym can seem intimidating. Working out when your out of shape, at least to me, is just not fun! Planning an activity, like your suggestion of an ice-skating trip or a ski weekend, can make exercise FUN rather than a chore!

7 Heather (Heather's Dish) December 8, 2011 at 8:12 am

i think the thing that hits me the hardest right now is the “Progress not Perfection” piece…being pregnant means that I can’t really work out as hard as i would like, and there are days that i think, “when i have the baby i’m going to kill myself at the gym…” but that’s not the point! great to have it in perspective again!

8 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm

That has seriously become my mantra. It helps my mindset SO much. Especially on weeks I really need it…like this one. And wanted to say that I love you!!! I haven’t had much time to comment on blogs thsi week, but I’ve still been reading and thinking/praying about you. I hated hearing how homesick you’ve been feeling. I know you know you’re right where God needs you , though. Love you!

9 Lori Lynn December 8, 2011 at 8:30 am

I’m working on getting my motivation back, so thank you for the encouragement!

10 jobo December 8, 2011 at 8:30 am

Goals you can control and progress, not perfection – SO SO SO true and I completely love this approach. One of many reasons why I love your words and your inspiring words!!!

11 Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic December 8, 2011 at 8:36 am

Great tips! It’s never too late to do something healthy and the little choices we make all add up.

12 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I think that’s the biggest thing to try to grasp – little things add up to big differences. It’s too hard to keep up with big, oversweeping commitments or changes. But small ones CAN make a difference. Thanks, Bianca!

13 Lauren @ What Lauren Likes December 8, 2011 at 9:13 am

Great post! I love the last bit about progress, not perfection! Just what I needed to read this morning :)

14 Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) December 8, 2011 at 9:15 am

Great reminders! I really needed this today. Trying to navigate this busy time of year as a frost time mom has me crazier than ever and I’ve neglected my workouts for almost a week now. Time to get back at it!

15 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I feel you. These are reminders for me too this week. It’s been a rough one.

16 Kat December 8, 2011 at 9:22 am

like you, I am a MUCH better person when I am exercising regularly (and sleeping enough / eating healthy food!). I think during the holidays, the thing that keeps me sane is making time for exercise – even though life gets super busy, you can always squeeze in a quick workout (instead of or while watching TV when you are tired!), or do squats while folding laundry, or power walk the dog, or wake up early to get in a good sweat sesh – it’s the whole “the more you do, the more you can do” philosophy!

17 Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food December 8, 2011 at 9:24 am

I definitely agree with you that living a healthy lifestyle can make us better people. I am definitely happier and in a better mood when I’m feeling good about myself and the decisions I’m making! A couple days of from working out or a few days of bad meals in a row? Watch out! because I’m a sluggish and cranky ‘not very nice’ person!

18 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats December 8, 2011 at 9:36 am

i am definitely a better person when I exercise. right now i’m dealing with an incredibly stressful time crunch issue and I HAVE to carve out time for the gym. i was literally shaking with anxiety yesterday when I said, enough! time to go sweat this out! I was able to calm down and re-focus!

19 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Isn’t it crazy how a workout can help that much? I made time this morning for a run and it has been such a better day so far for me.

20 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn December 8, 2011 at 9:47 am

Still need to do my 7 steps. Mrow. I love yours! Especially the HLS throwback pic. Good memories. <3

21 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Yep. HLS fun memories never get old to use for post pics. ;)

22 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 8, 2011 at 9:52 am

Great tips! I’m a big fan of not starting “tomorrow.” The sooner you start, the sooner you for the habit.

23 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries December 8, 2011 at 9:54 am

I love these tips, Tina! Thanks for the encouragement and motivation you give us all. ;)

24 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile December 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

We have twin blog posts today! ;D Congrats on becoming an ambassador as well!! Amazing tips, love it.

25 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Wahoo for ambassador love. I love how far this topic is reaching.

26 Andrea @ Vegvacious December 8, 2011 at 10:10 am

Great tips Tina! I don’t like to deprive myself over the h0lidays, but I do pre-plan now to give myself a fighting chance at maintaining my healthy lifestyle. One thing I d0 is try to make sure that what I bring to the party is healthy and something I love, so I can migrate to the healthy eats and just have a nibble of the not-so-healthy eats.

27 Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama December 8, 2011 at 10:32 am

I like to remind myself that starting is the hardest part. Get that over with and you’re on your way!

28 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

That is SO the truth!!! I’ve had a few rough starts this week, but am always so thankful I started.

29 Khushboo December 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

Great tips! I would also suggest being realistic with your approach! Rather than try to overhaul your life completely, choose 1 or 2 areas to tackle first!

30 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Great one! That is extremely important to be able to stick with it.

31 Shannon ~ My Place In The Race December 8, 2011 at 10:48 am

So needed this right now! Awesome :D

32 Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona December 8, 2011 at 11:08 am

I totally agree with you, I’m a MUCH better person all around when I’m taking care of myself. When I’m not I feel crappy about myself, and that seems to rub off on everything else I do.

33 Lee December 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

I feel like if you don’t put it off, you’ll get the results quicker whether they are tangible results of some sort or just feeling better in general.

34 Shanna like Banana December 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

I would also add to *start small*. People tend to want to jump all in which is great, but then get disappointed when they can’t finish or get injured. If you have been somewhat sedentary, I suggest starting with only 10 minutes on the treadmill…not 30. Make sure your goals are ones you can easily succeed at for continued motivation :)

35 Danica @ It's Progression Not Perfection December 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I especially like #7 : )
The holidays tend to make me nervous when it comes to eating. I know it’s not good to get nervous about it but every year I do and every year I have to remind myself of these things:
1-The holidays are not about food. They’re about the blessings God has given us and the loving people we get to share it with. Focus on those things and the table of food is easy to “conquer”
2-Every little healthy choice adds up.
3-If I worry about food, exercise, etc. too much, I’m going to miss out on all the fun of the holidays and that’s not something I’m willing to let happen.

36 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I relate to the nerves around the food. I have the same issues around this time of year. Mainly because I know I will never 100% be past my old habits and I always fear them popping up more when treats and things to throw me “off schedule” or “out of my routine” are so abundant.

37 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health December 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I too feel like I am a better person all around when I am living healthy! I wrote a 7-tips post as well :D . Yay for Fitfluential…such an amazing community of wonderful people like yourself!

38 Tiff December 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Too true – support is crucial around the holidays. The family has to understand that when you need a stress-relieving run/walk! ha

39 Paige December 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I have so many friends who always say “ok next week I’m starting my going back to the gym week!!” I always ask them, what are you doing today after work? How about go to the gym with me? (provided they aren’t busy) because, why not start right now??

40 lindsay December 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

oh tina, i love this! you are so realistic and i love how you think. Great tips! and Congrats on becoming an ambassador. I am thrilled for you and of course think you are the perfect fit.

41 Jess December 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Great post my fellow fitfluential! :)

I totally agree with all of your advice (as usual) – particularly around creating healthy traditions that don’t necessarily revolve around food…and focusing on progress vs. progression. Setting an impossible goal will only lead to frustration – why not set a realistic goal and work towards it little by little, rewarding yourself at every step you take. As for healthy traditions – my friend and my sis are already planning a NYE run-barre-run date to end the year on a high note and to start the holiday on a very healthy and fit note. working out with friends is just as fun as eating and drinking with them if you ask me! :)

42 tinareale December 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I love your run-barre-run dates and wish I could join!

43 Bonnie December 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Great post, Tina! Loved your thoughts and agreed with all of them. I’m such a fan of starting NOW – it’s so easy to say, “I’ll start Monday” or “I’ll start in January.” Why NOT now? …I also wish others were thinking the same – I’m low on clients and could use extra work now versus the usual January rush, but I’ll take the down time to stay consistent with my workouts! :D

44 Leonor @FoodFaithFitness December 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I try to plan my “rewards” or “cheats”. If I know I will be going to a party where there will not be healthy options, I indulge and move on. If it’s not time to indulge, I eat beforehand and bring a healthy side. I am motivated by being able to feel confident, feel good, and pass on good habits to my children.

45 Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts December 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm

This is such good advice, and SO TRUE. I have found myself slipping into unhealthy eating habits and slacking on the exercise since we turned the calendar to December, and I’m peeved about it. I need to chuck the whole “oh well, I overindulged at lunch today, so gimme another cookie!” mentality and realize that every meal gives me a chance to right the wrongs I’ve made in the day. Because, like you, I am a much happier and energetic person when I am eating well and exercising daily!! Thanks for these tips, I will think about you the next time I decide to blow my diet or sleep in instead of waking up for a workout! :)

46 Marty December 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I agree with not waiting until the new year. So many people just toss in the towel and wait until the “magical” January 1st to pursue their health goals and get active again. One of my little tricks is to start right when I feel I’ve had enough of slacking in the eating/exercising department, especially if it’s like a Friday or something. Starting on towards the end of the week keeps me motivated and focused through the weekend, which is usually the toughest for me. Then, once i get through that weekend with my newfound motivation, the week is here and I’m back on track. Just a little mind game I play with myself. :) Hey, whatever works!

47 Karolina December 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I LOVE this post, and will be linking to it in my “Friday Favorites” post tomorrow.

48 Paula @ Lipstick and Lunges December 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Great post Tina! Don’t stress about a few treats, start fresh tomorrow. 7. is my favorite tip…striving for perfection can only leave you disappointed and takes the focus off what really matters..your health!

49 Jen December 9, 2011 at 1:01 am

Thank you so much for this – I really need it! Your reasons resonate so much with me!!!

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