Spring Check-In: Setting Yourself up for Success

by Joanna Whitney (Personal Trainer and Mobility Specialist, Certified Yoga Teacher, Transformational Health Coach)

How are you feeling as we move into the first full week of May? If you're anything like me, perhaps you're looking back over the last four months and wondering where the time went. Maybe as you reflect, you realize that you haven't quite hit those wellness goals you set for yourself back at the start of the year. If so, I can totally relate. This is completely understandable with all the demands of day-to-day life. And, if that's you, we're here to help.

We need at least two things to succeed on a wellness journey: 1) a destination, and 2) a plan. In other words, we need to have goals established and steps to follow in order to achieve them. As a trainer and a coach, I know first-hand the importance of having these two things in place.

Think about a road-trip for a sec. It’s really hard to get where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re going. It’s pretty hard to end up in Toronto if you don’t know that Toronto is where you want to be. Likewise, it’s hard to get where you’re going if you don’t have a plan on how to get there. It either ends up taking WAY too long, or you just get stuck with all the options and end up going NO WHERE. (Are we going on the train or in a plane? Are we going to take the 401 or do we want to take the scenic route of highway seven? Should we rent a car to save wear and tear on our car? …Oh, forget it.)

Today we’re not going to talk about the goals themselves. Instead, we will focus on the planning part. And we’re not necessarily looking at the content of the plan - i.e. the specific training program or approach to use - but rather the plan for follow-through.

Take a few minutes to consider what you need to put in place to set yourself up for success in reaching your goals. Here are a few suggestions that I've found helpful for myself and my clients when it comes to following through:

1. Make your workout/movement time (whether at the gym, outside or in your house) an appointment on your calendar.

It’s true for me and it’s true for most people: If it’s not written down, it doesn’t happen. Treat these appointments with as much importance as you would any other scheduled meeting at work, with your friends or the doctor. Consider this a work meeting with the CEO of your life.

2. Involve other people you like.

Make your wellness regime part of your social life. Grab a friend or two and schedule those workouts together. Even if you’re not in the same location, there is something to be said for getting a workout in knowing someone else is sweating at the same time as you. You also know they’re going to be checking in to make sure you didn’t back-out on them!

3. Set up your environment for success.

If your plan is to wake up in the morning and do yoga, consider laying your mat out the night before and putting your yoga clothes right beside your bed, ready to go when you get up. Or if you’re want to hit the gym first thing, pack your bag with all your shower gear, search for your keys (if you’re anything like me they’ll be sitting exactly where they belong but you still can’t find them), set your alarm and pack your protein shake the night before or ahead of time.

4. Start small.

While your plan might eventually be a daily practice for an hour, consider starting with a few minutes. Ryan wrote about starting (or re-starting) an exercise regime here which has lots of great advice, but just know that follow-through comes when we experience success. When we experience a win, we want more wins. So create small successes that grow over time.

5. Get support and accountability from people who know the route.

Sometimes we just need an extra bit of support from people who know what they’re talking about. That’s where having trainers or coaches is invaluable. They can share their knowledge and experience, saving you time en route to your goals, and also give you a bit of objective accountability when needed.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it’s a start. At RD Athletics, we strive to implement many of these strategies – except for finding your car keys and laying out your clothes. But our semi-private training hits the mark on all the other points.

Regardless of what the first four months of 2019 have looked like, you get to decide how the next one goes. And then the next, and the next. So, make a plan, set yourself up for success, and get moving!

Joanna Whitney