Own It To Get Fit: How to take responsibility for your health

Yesterday at the gym, I overheard a woman telling her trainer about how she didn't stick to her food goal because her husband had left something out on the counter.  Before the complete sentence was even out of this clients mouth, the trainer curtly said, "That's crap.  You decided to eat it and that's that, so I don't want to hear about how it is someone else's fault."  Oooo SNAP!  Talk about cutting to the chase. Something in me hurt for the client who had received no grace, and another part of me was like, right on trainer...you tell her! There's no doubt we all have a million excuses...

"I didn't have time today";

"I don't know what to do"';

"I have no money to get the right help";

"My family eats too much tempting food and keeps it around the house";

"I don't like to sweat"

I have heard them all.  And they all have a legitimate reason behind them.  But if you look at what is really important to you.  The Big Why behind what is driving you to get healthier or lose weight, all the excuses typically pale in comparison.  Self-discipline is a learned trait and one that I feel we have to keep mastering over the course of our lives.  Most things don't come naturally or easily until we practice them.  And that takes self-discipline.  When I was a kid I loved to play the piano, but I hated piano lessons.  Maybe it was the fact that I hadn't practiced enough or maybe it was just that I didn't like it because it made be accountable to how much self-discipline I had committed to since the last lesson.  Now that I am a grown up, I wish I would have stuck with the lessons longer despite my annoyance with them.  Most likely you have something you wish you would have stuck with longer too.  Studying more, finishing a project, getting in exercise more regularly, staying away from wine a little more.  It all boils down to owning up to what you say you want and what you are willing to take action about to really make the necessary changes.

There are so many things that can help you get more disciplined beyond simply mustering up more will-power.  Here are a few ideas:"

1) Get very clear about your Big Why.  When you have a specific reason for why you are doing something, rather than "it would be nice if" then you will find that you naturally want to complete the tasks to get there more.  That's why people have more success losing weight or exercising consistently when they have a class reunion or a wedding coming up.

2) Make a specific plan.  when you are wishy washy to begin with because you don't set parameters on what it is you are really committing to, then it is even harder to follow through.  Your intentions should be specific, measurable, applicable to your end goal, realistic for the time and resources you currently contain, and timely so they can actually be accomplished within a reasonable time-frame.

3) Enlist help.  Talk to a friend, hire a coach or trainer, start writing a blog or posting regularly to an app like My Fitness Pal.  In fact, you can get all sorts of ideas for how to get help from apps to keep your goals (one of my other favorites is "Lift") in the most recent news article that features me (Nicole) and the 9 Top Health and Fitness Apps to Help You Stick To Your New Years Goals.

4) Give yourself a bit of wiggle room.  I am not saying to give in to not doing what you said you would do, simply that we can't always be perfect all the time.  With that said, you may do best to aim for 90%.  That's what we teach our clients here with there nutrition and exercise goals and it is so much better than feeling like just because you missed a day that you are a now a failure.

5) Do it anyway.  If there is nothing else to fall back on, do it simply because you said you would, and the time it takes to just get it in is much less than the time you will spend beating yourself up because you didn't do it.  Taking responsibility in anything means you fess up to the fact that it is up to you to make things right.  At the end of the day, even when you have a great community to fall back on, you are the one who has to take action.

Don't let destructive thinking or a day or even a week of missing your target derail your entire process.  Simply re-evaluate, and get back on the horse!  You can do this!!