I remember the day I decided that I was going to run a half marathon. I was pumped up and excited and couldn’t wait to run it! Except I needed to train. Badly. Seriously, I could only run 2 minutes until I needed to stop. When I looked at the training plan of a half marathon, I soon realized that I couldn’t run the 4 mile long run I was supposed to run that Saturday. Uh oh, now what?
It was discouraging to see just how long I’d have to train to run 13.1 miles but with a little modification, planning, and execution, I ran my first half marathon 6 months later!
If you have a nutrition or fitness goal that seems so far out of reach, I promise you can do it and I’m going to show you how! Here are 6 tips to help you reach those goals as quickly as possible.
Remember your why and change your identity.
This may sound weird, but stick with me here. If you don’t know your why, get clear on it and write it down. One of my favorite books is Atomic Habits by James Clear (link book) and if you haven’t read it, you totally should. In the book he talks about how true behavior change is identity change.
When I started training for my half marathon, I had to start telling myself that I was a runner. Do you think my brain was telling me “Hannah, you’re not a runner!” while I was getting side stitches and my legs were tired? Heck yeah it was! Breaking through that mental barrier is crucial. So talk to yourself like the person you want to become. Write down your why and look at it every single day. Seeing it written out and thinking about it daily will help you stay focused on the big picture.
Choose 1-2 action steps you will do daily or weekly.
Just having a goal is not going to get you to your endpoint. Writing down “I’m going to run a half marathon” is not what actually got me to that finish line. The action steps you take daily are the key to getting you to the endpoint. For me, it was writing out my training plan and following it each day.
Maybe your goal is to drink 8 glasses of water each day all week so you map it out and decide your action step will be to drink two glasses of water at each meal and 1 glass of water with each snack to get your 8 glasses in. Choose 1-2 small action steps that you can build on.
If your goal is to eat more vegetables, think about what will make you successful in doing this. You know you’re not going to eat vegetables at home if you don’t even buy any, right?! So maybe your action step is to purchase 3 different kinds of vegetables that you wash, cut up and put in clear containers in your refrigerator so they are the first thing you see when you go looking for a snack.
Don’t take on too much too soon.
Trying to do everything perfectly without giving yourself grace for the rough days is a recipe for disaster. It’s much harder to do all the things when you try to change too much too quickly.
One of my most successful coaching clients I’ve worked with started with getting her nutrition on track for one month. She waited to add exercise until she felt like she had a good grasp on her nutrition. And you know what? When she started exercise, it was easier for her to focus on her exercise because the nutrition piece had already become a habit for her!
On the other hand, I have a friend who was ready to make some major changes and get stronger. Anytime he started a weight lifting routine,he wanted to see results fast (who doesn’t?), so he lifted heavier weights and lifted every single day. He definitely jumped in head first rather than dipping his toes in the water first. He ended up with a hernia and had to stop lifting for a while and definitely didn’t see any results.
A couple of months later when he felt better, he decided to start again. Having learned nothing from the previous incident, he went in headfirst and re-injured the hernia. Back on the DL he went.
The third time, he decided to change it up and he started with smaller weights and for the next month he incrementally raised it each week. What happened? No hernia and he got the results he wanted.
Make a plan and a schedule.
If you don’t have a calendar, I encourage you to get one! Grab a paper calendar if that’s your jam (it’s my jam!) or use your calendar on your phone. It’s easy to have good intentions when it’s fresh in your mind, but then life happens and we have to pick a kid up early from school and practice gets changed and we suddenly have a last minute work meeting scheduled. Before you know it, all of your intentions were just intentions without any action. How many times has this happened to you? Probably more than you can count.
Writing your plans down on your calendar will help you stick to them. How many times do we say “oh I just need to get through this busy week”? But let’s face it. Every week is a busy week and we have to learn to create time and rework schedules. Check out my daily planner HERE as a guide
Check in on your progress daily.
At the end of the day ask yourself, did I accomplish what I set out to do today? Why or why not? If you didn’t, don’t be upset with yourself. Instead, think about why you didn’t and how you will change your next day to ensure you’re able to make progress.
A lot of planning is rearranging and restructuring when we need to. The first plan we come up with probably won’t be the finalized plan. We have to figure out what works well for us and our schedules. Don’t compare your plan or schedule to anyone else. Think about what works for you and stick to your plan. I’ve made a box on my daily planner sheet for this. Write down what you did well and areas for improvement.
Do something active every day.
Pick activities you enjoy and switch it up to keep it fun and new! Go for a 10 minute walk. Get up and move. Close the rings on your Apple watch. See if your kids will walk with you after dinner. Add in a 15 minute strength workout when you can. Exercises don’t have to take an hour. Think in small terms.
Even if you can’t make it to the gym or a fitness class, try taking an evening walk either alone or with your family. Evening walks can help you decompress after a stressful day and improve your mood. Walking has been proven to help reduce blood sugar levels and help with digestion. If you take your family along, it gives you more time to spend together catching up as well!
What small things can you start now and improve on? The more active you are, the better you’ll feel and the better you’ll want to eat. I know personally for me, exercise helps my mental health as well, but we’ll talk about that in an upcoming blog.