Have you noticed it seems to be harder to break up with our bad habits than to create the good ones?
When I first started my own fitness journey over 10 years ago, I found it way easier to skip those workouts. Eat the extra serving regardless of if I was hungry or not.
It took time and consistency to create the good habits, and it seemed like I was just hard wired for the bad ones. In some ways this is true because the “bad” habits provide immediate satisfaction. Whereas, we don’t see or even feel the results of eating one salad. At least not at first.
Consistently doing what needs to be done is the only way to get from where you are today to where you want to be six months or six years from now. It can be hard though to start doing something consistently. Especially when for the most part we have either been conditioned for the quick fix mentality in the diet industry.
Success comes from doing the most important (not necessarily the most urgent) things over and over again
I think we’d sort of be lying if we didn’t acknowledge we don’t want the rewards without having to do the work.
We all want the quick fix or magic bullet on some level, even if we know that quick fix won’t last. It’s taken a long time for me to just settle into the journey, and not be so zeroed in on reaching my goals.
I am the type of person who wants to get where we’re going as quickly as possible. Whether that’s on a road trip or from one goal to the next. However, I’ve come to realize most of the excitement around reaching a goal is the anticipation of what that destination will feel like.
Not the actual goal itself. Because, let’s face it, by the time we reach those goals, we’ve likely already started setting new goals for ourselves.
We’ve got to train ourselves to take satisfaction in just showing up and doing the thing.
“Success doesn’t come from what we do every once in a while, but what we do consistently.”
Know your priorities
We will make time for what’s truly important to us. That’s the bottom line.
There have been seasons in my life when I thought being super lean or super skinny was important to me. As a result I did whatever it took to look a certain way. A lot of my energy and time went to thinking and obsessing over food. Pinching the bits of fat that still covered my body, and working out like it was my job.
I thought I could only be happy, confident, and sexy if I looked a certain way. There came a point in my own fitness journey, when I started to loathe eating a certain way or working out for 2 hours/ day.
The tricky part, is we’ve been conditioned to believe we should always be looking to improve ourselves in some way physically. My priorities were changing, but I still felt pressure to pursue certain physique related goals. I started to feel stressed out about food and exercise again.
When our goals and priorities aren’t aligned, we will always have a hard time reaching our goals. If you’re pursuing goals that aren’t really that important to you, you will find all the excuses you need.
“Weight loss shouldn’t feel stressful. You shouldn’t feel frustrated by your goals, or like it’s a prison sentence.”
Gain more clarity around your goals, and decide what you’re willing to do (and sometimes give up) in order to reach them.
You can create new habits easier than you think
When you stop trying to make all the changes at once, replacing old habits becomes much easier.
How many times have you started a new diet or workout program? It usually feels like you went from 0 to 100 real quick. Often making all of the changes at once is overwhelming.
Start slow. Pick one habit at a time, and give yourself some space to practice your new habits.
Pick the low hanging fruit first. Get some wins under your belt first. What is one habit you feel you can replace with ease? I like to ask myself “on a scale of 1-10, how confident are you you can do this?” If it’s less than an 8, I’ve got to make it easier.
Diet culture’s quick fixes don’t last, this will.
Creating habits through consistency seems like a waste of time because it goes so slow at first. I totally get it. Before I bought into the idea of focusing on habits and consistency, I was entrenched in the diet mindset (and sadly even mainstream fitness culture). The changes had to be quick, even if it meant unsustainable.
If you just make all of the changes at once, follow the food rules perfectly, and never skip a workout you’ll be smooth sailing. What about the rest of us?
With extreme approaches like this it’s no wonder so many women feel stuck. This start and stop ‘healthy lifestyle’ only breeds disbelief in your ability to actually ever reach your fitness goals long term.
If you’re feeling a little unsure of whether or not you can actually create lasting change, you’re not alone. I’m here to tell you, you can. It just might take a little reworking of your beliefs in yourself and your mindset.
Why do we rely so much on habits anyway?
Have you ever stopped to think about your habits? Essentially our habits are just actions we do over and over, and often without even thinking about it.
This is great as long as our habits support our goals. However, when our actions are not supporting our goals or long term vision of what we want our bodies and our lives to look and feel like, this is a problem.
Our brain uses habits to cut down on the amount of work it has to do. It wants to preserve calories, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to cut down on the number of decisions it has to make. Charles Duhigg wrote an incredible book on the studies of habits. (link to book) I’d encourage you to check it out if you are curious about how habits work on a deeper level.
This is amazing news though, because it means that you can essentially create a healthy lifestyle without it taking over your entire life.
Can you be on autopilot and still be intentional and mindful?
Yes. I believe with my whole heart you can. At anytime during the habit loop you can ‘tune in’ to what you’re doing.
I am always talking to myself (usually it’s inside my head). When I notice I’m just going through the motions, I like to check in and see if that is what I really want to be doing in that moment.
Sometimes the answer is yes, I do want that thing even if I’m not hungry or I know they it isn’t ‘healthy’. And this is ok. The quick pause to check in, allows me to make the choice from a place of awareness and control. Not a frantic feeding frenzy because I’ve been depriving myself all week.
Sometimes, I surprise myself. And the answer is no. Even if they do sound good, even if I know I can have them. This kind of food freedom was really only ever possible by removing the food rules I’d been living under and giving myself the power to choose what to eat–not follow someone else’s idea of what a healthy lifestyle should look like.
Sometimes it’s good to rebel
Everything you know or think you know about health, fitness, and weight loss may be the exact thing that is keeping you stuck on the diet hamster wheel. Going against the flow isn’t always a bad thing. Not convinced? Click the video below to see why it might be time to start questioning the ‘normal’ way to reach our fitness goals.
For most of us, we don’t feel like we have enough time in the day as it is, because we are so busy putting out fires and reacting to life. If you want to make lasting changes to your health or your fitness, you’ve got to change this mindset.
While there aren’t many things in life you can truly control, your mindset happens to be one of them. When you don’t plan ahead, you spend all your time reacting to things that just seem to pop up.
Constantly reacting to life is exhausting, and it can really screw with our ability to make gains on our fitness goals.
One way you can feel confident and ready to tackle your goals is by setting yourself up to win with systems. One of those systems is all about managing your time.
Time blocking: how this apply to the ‘everyday’ woman.
About a year ago I started using a system for setting up my schedule known as time blocking. Essentially when you implement time blocking you’re putting ‘like’ activities together. It might seem like a silly way to organize your day, but it works–both in my coaching business and in my personal life.
By sticking ‘like’ activities together I’m not constantly switching from one type of task to another. This saves my brain so much time and energy. I feel less stressed, and I’m getting way more done in a day than I’d ever imagine.
For example: I like to cluster my meal planning and grocery shopping back to back. Or I will usually get my workout in for the day, and have a super smoothie shortly after. Maybe I’ll put all of my home responsibilities into a pocket of time on a Saturday.
One thing to keep in mind though, is you really only need to aim to get three key things done in a day to drive you closer to your fitness goals (or any other goal for that matter).
If you try to do too much at one time, you will only be setting yourself up for overwhelm and burn out. And the diet cycle starts over again.
If you’re not quite sure how to go about establishing your priorities, we talked about setting your priorities and scheduling those things first a couple weeks ago. (link to other blog/video)
Set yourself up to win
I wish I would have been a bit more organized when I started my fitness journey over a decade ago. Honestly, I just kind of started and figured things out along the way. This worked ok, but I could have saved so much time and energy if I would have had certain systems in place then like I do now.
It’s no secret, we wear lots of hats as women, and sometimes it can be hard to transition from one role to the next. This is especially true if we don’t have any clear rhythms or boundaries to our days.
Pick just one to focus on at a time. And give your energy to that one thing until it starts to feel more automatic and like a seamless part to your day. For me, moving my body has become as natural as brushing my teeth, but it’s taken time to get to this place.
We often underestimate what we can accomplish in a year, and way overestimate what we can do in a day.
With a renewed and refreshed mindset toward your goals. Take the long, slow journey. This is definitely the road less traveled, but it is a sure fire way to create a healthy and fit lifestyle that is uniquely yours.
I know there’ve been times when you’ve looked at someone who was living a life you wanted, and thought “how does she do it?” I know this because it used to be the very same thought I’d have as I looked at other women who seemed so alive and so comfortable in their skin. Her secret isn’t really a secret, and it’s certainly not something you can’t do too.
She’s consistent. She doesn’t start and stop things over and over. She may not nail it on the first attempt, but she doesn’t give in or give up. She just tries something else.
I didn’t get that though for the longest time. I thought there had to be some sort of a magic pill or potion. It’s not magic, its just reality. Consistently doing something over time will yield results. Depending on the actions, they will either be results you want or ones you don’t.
Consistency is rebellious
In the beginning of any lifestyle change it’s much easier NOT to show up day after day. Choosing to do the opposite, is rebellious. Stop for a moment, and think about the closest people to you. What are the things they do consistently that are benefitting them? I’ll bet it’s easier to make a list of the things you think they could do a little less if they wanted to make their lives better.
“Choosing to be consistent in showing up for yourself, is essentially choosing your life. “
Choosing to be consistent in showing up for yourself, is essentially choosing your life. When you’re ready to make real changes, you’re no longer satisfied to let your dreams pass you by. You aren’t going to wish for something different, but actually do something different–over and over and over. This is what turns your wishes into reality.
Make time for your priorities
If you ever want to see your dreams come to life, you can’t cross your fingers and wish things to be different. Remember, if nothing changes, nothing will change. So if you’re not making time today to move your body or choose more nutritious foods because you don’t have time, it will be the same story tomorrow, or six months form now unless you intentionally change something.
Most people don’t intentionally think about how their actions today are impacting and creating their future. We usually go through today only thinking about today. When this is the case, it’s easy to not see how our decisions today are forming who we will be in the future. The truth is, your choices today (whether positive or negative) are shaping your future.
Take a look at what you’re choosing today. Do you like the person you’re creating? If not, it’s ok. Be patient with yourself, give yourself some grace, and then get to work.
Choosing to show up every single day for yourself and your goals is tough work.
Not everyone is willing to do the hard work of transforming their minds and their bodies. Give yourself a pat on the back for being different. The people who don’t ever create real lasting change are the ones who have made friends with their unpleasant circumstances. You’ve got to be at the place where it’s so much worse to stay as is than it is to venture into your discomfort zone on purpose.
Be willing to endure a little discomfort now by not giving into the urge for instant gratification. The next time you have a craving or an urge to slip back into old habits try the 5 minute rule. When the urge hits, wait 5 minutes before giving in. When you force yourself to pause, you might find you don’t actually want to eat the whole candy bar, but you’re just stressed.
If you can learn to exercise self-control, and make decisions from a place of intentional and mindfulness rather than from a mindless place you’ll find it easier to be consistent with your food choices, workouts, etc.
Keep your long term vision for your life, your health, and body front of mind
Set aside some time to see yourself living the life you want in the body you want. What do you want to feel. How do you want to ‘be’?
Ever had those dreams that seemed so real you wake up wondering if it actually happened? Your mind can’t tell the difference between reality and an imagined vision. Use that to your advantage.
Still not convinced consistency IS the way to live your life like a modern day lady ninja? Check out the video below.
We’re rarely motivated by punishment. If checking in with a coach or your fitness friend is like having a babysitter, then you’ll likely not be stoked to check in. It will be entirely too easy to flake out and blow it off all together.
Accountability is not punishment.
I get it, I used to have an extremely negative perception of accountability. In my mind accountability was another way I thought people were trying to control me. Being held accountable to my actions seemed like one more way for others to judge me because I didn’t measure up.
With spiritual maturity came the realization that being held to my word was not punishment. In fact, having to own my choices and their subsequent consequences has been such an act of love.
Ultimately if we choose not to show up and do the work that’s our choice entirely. And we will essentially reap what we sow.
Trying to figure it out by yourself.
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, you were created for community. We thrive in situations where we feel supported, loved, and understood. Part of being in a community with other women working on their own fitness goals is not having to know all the answers or figure it out by yourself.
When you have your tribe, you can use them as a resource and a cheering squad. One of the biggest mistakes I made when first navigating my fitness journey was trying to do it alone. YOu can learn so much from others, but in order to do so, you have to be willing to let them in.
We all have the same insecurities
We have this misconception that when we finally reach our goal weight or have the body/ life of our dreams we will no longer feel insecure or like we don’t measure up. The reality is even when we do have those things, there will still be times when you don’t feel like you’re good enough. I certainly felt that way when I was at my unhealthiest–not taking care of myself and at my leanest and meanest. When I was eating clean and lifting weights 5-6 days week or when I was eating fast food and living that couch potato life.
To this day I still have moments when I pull up to my kids’ school, see other moms, and feel like somehow I’m not as good of a mom as they are. Truth be told the reasons I feel insecure are so silly. But that is how those little lies work. The lies take the truth and distort it, or blows it way out of proportion.
Allow others to see the real you
There are many reasons women don’t seek out accountability in their fitness journey. One of them being they feel they have to reach a certain level of fitness before they can start. It is no secret, there is a stigma around being in a larger body. Even if that body is healthy in every way, but just doesn’t fit the mold.
Sometimes we don’t create accountability for ourselves because we don’t feel worthy or good enough. We can use our insecurities as a reason we don’t pursue accountability because we don’t feel we measure up.
I want to encourage you to explore the source of your insecurity. Dig into the thoughts that promote the feelings of inadequacy. This process can feel a bit messy. You might even be wondering how your thoughts relate to you reaching the fitness goals you’ve set for yourself this year.
The reality is, your thoughts are everything. Imagine for a moment you were already living in your dream body. If you still thought you were unattractive or bigger than you actually were, would you be satisfied? The good news is you don’t have to wait to be in your dream body. You can start to cultivate those thoughts and feelings right now.
Don’t pick just anyone to be your accountability buddy
Find a coach or trainer who doesn’t emphasize weight loss and fat loss as the primary goal EVEN if those are your main fitness goals. Look for someone with a similar story to you so they can relate to you.
If you hire a coach or trainer who has never shared the same experiences as you it may be hard to really show up and be honest. You also want to look for someone who is willing to be vulnerable and honest with you.
Even if they are your coach or trainer they owe you accountability too. They are not the expert. Your coach’s job is to be a support, and to be someone who makes you feel confident and let’s you know you’re not in this alone.
Make time for accountability
We all have the same 24 hours in a day and only 7 days to get it all done. That is more than enough time as long as we are diligent about our priorities, and are intetnional about where and with whom we spend our time.
You have to make time for accountability. It won’t just happen. Much like everything in life you either make time for it or it doesn’t happen. I suggest setting up a weekly time to meet with your coach or your accountability squad. Aim for the same time each week. And if you absolutely cannot do every week, then aim for biweekly check ins.
Be sure to schedule your meetings ahead of time as well. This will ensure you don’t skip your meetings or go too long without touching base. You’ve got to advocate for your fitness goals because nobody else will, so be as proactive as you can.
The process of finding the right accountability system can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Avoiding some of the mistakes I shared today will help you create an accountability system that will work for you, your goals, and your lifestyle.
Cheers to creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with your body!
PS. Be sure to catch up on this series by reading the other articles on accountability.
PPS. Fill out the form if you want a weekly dose of inspiration sent right to your inbox 😉
If we are honest with ourselves, we are all a hot mess from time to time. Sometimes those seasons feel a bit longer than we’d like. But there’s literally no reason for you to feel embarrassed or ashamed if you haven’t been able to reach your fitness goals…yet.
I failed time and time again. Starting a new workout program promising a bikini body in 6 weeks or less, or a new diet it seemed every other week. Each only lasting for a few days consistently at best before I’d quit on myself.
One of the biggest problems with *most* of the fitness information out there is the promise you can totally and radically change your life in a short period of time.
The reality is, change is hard. Change takes time. And change is a practice. We are sold the lie we should be able to completely overhaul our nutrition and movement routines with the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, that is not how behaviors are changed or habits created.
Change is about learning new skills, creating a support system, and changing your habits. All of that takes a lot of time, patience, and practice.
You won’t get it right all the time, and you won’t get it right at first. Ditch the guilt and the shame you might be carrying around. Simply decide to practice. Each and every day practice becoming the woman you want to be deep down just a little bit more.
And whatever you do, don’t try to do it alone.
If you’ve failed at this whole fitness thing, you’re in good company
One of the biggest lies we believe is you’re the only woman who struggles to implement radical changes to your lifestyle. But you’re not. We are all struggling at different times and with different things. Learn to embrace and even welcome the struggle.
Fitness really is a lifestyle change. And it’s not just the discipline to change your body, but it’s also the discipline to change your mind. The fitness industry has done a great job of teaching us that being ‘fit’ looks one way. This can often feel we are fighting an uphill battle if we’re either not able to achieve that fit ideal or we’re miserable once we do. Begin defining what fitness is for yourself, and you’ll learn you cannot fail.
Accountability is the key to consistency
For a long time, I struggled with consistency in working out and eating ‘right’. After enough time and practice, it’s become a part of my daily routine. In the beginning though, I needed accountability. Having others who knew the goals I’d set for myself and who were committed to helping me succeed was a game changer. I truly believe it was their support and their belief in me that kept me going on the days I couldn’t see the progress I’d made.
If you’re trying to make lifestyle changes, you are going to need to have as much support as you can. This also means changing your environment, changing your routine, and possibly even changing who you spend your time with. You want to set yourself up for as much success as you can, yet realizing you cannot control everything.
When ‘good enough’ is enough
There are days when I follow my workout plan and there are days when I don’t. But every single day I try to move my body, even if it’s just a leisure walk with my pup. And without feeling guilty or ashamed because I wasn’t perfect.
As a recovering perfectionist this mindset is not one that comes easily to me. Much of my pride and confidence used to come from trying to do things perfectly. When I could, it was great, and I felt so much pride in myself. The times when I couldn’t do it perfectly devastated me.
Own your struggles and use them as fuel. Don’t try to hide from them or sweep them under the rug. If you want to make true lifestyle change it’s not enough to try to add in new healthier habits. You’ve got to understand and acknowledge the behaviors that aren’t serving you. Don’t see your struggles as weakness. Use them to drive you forward towards your goals, and do it by bringing other women along with you.
When we try to keep all of our guilt and shame hidden it festers. And eventually you won’t be able to hide it anymore. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Whether that’s with your coach or a group of friends. Let others in on the struggles you have with food, exercise, and your body. Simply bringing those things into the open brings healing. It empowers you to face them head on.
Created for community
As women, we need community. It’s hard-wired in our DNA. What better community to have around you than one who is just as committed to your success as they are to their own?
In creating a healthier lifestyle it’s important to realize this encompasses all areas of your life. Being fit really isn’t just about what your body looks like despite what social media tells you.
Leave the toxic relationships behind. Maybe this will be just for a season, and maybe it will be for longer. When you’ve decided you’re ready to make positive change, there isn’t much room for people and/ or circumstances that don’t support you.
Replace the toxic relationships with healthier ones. Think about the women in your life that energize you and inspire you to be a better version of yourself. How can you spend more time with them?
You have everything you need
Allow yourself to be seen just as you are. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my fitness journey was thinking I had to learn how to do healthy living perfectly. The only thing that did was remind me of how inadequate I was, because I couldn’t do it perfectly.
Trust that you’ve already got what it takes to reach your goals. You don’t need to look for the next diet or the next fitness fad. You know more than you think. Now it’s time to implement.
Tap into the pain, shame, and guilt you might be experiencing because of past failures. Instead of hiding from it or trying to conceal it, use it as fuel for your fitness journey. You can learn so much from mistakes and failures. Don’t let it go to waste, and remember it’s all of those experiences (and the successes) that make you who you are.
I want you to see and believe the very things you believe disqualifies you from reaching your fitness goals are exactly what you can use to move forward with confidence.
You’ve got this, and I’m here to help. Fill out the form below to receive weekly tips and pep talks right to your inbox.
Cheers to creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with your body long before you reach your goals!
There are some days I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. Some days I feel completely submerged by mom life, wife life, and work life.
I used to think balance was a magical destination. I imagined one day like my son’s lego block, it would just click, and I’d be there like all the other unicorn mommies on social media.
The reality is, balance is a constant struggle between all the important things in our lives. You don’t ever completely arrive. Balance is something you will always have to be intentional about.
Back in the day, one of the first things I would give up would be my gym time. I’d settle on eating whatever was quick and easy even if it didn’t align with my goals.
I lived with an all or nothing mentality. Either I could be an excellent mom or career woman, but not both. I could be fit and healthy or a good mom, but not at the same time. There was a time I believed accelerating in one area meant I had to sacrifice in the others.
You will have to make decisions and you will have to exercise self-control. You won’t have to choose between those things, you can learn to manage them.
Make time for relationships
If you weren’t my husband, my client, or my three year old I’d likely not be spending too much time with you.
I’m sure you’re not surprised to know after going on like that for too long I became a total momster (monster + mom). I felt less like the woman I was created to be, and a bit more like an empty shell shuffling through the motions.
I felt alone and isolated. Like I was the only woman who was having a hard time finding balance.
I’ve been the mom and the woman who has just put her head down to work and have seen how lonely that can be. Not to mention how hard it is when you feel like you’re failing.
I’ve also been the woman who has let herself be totally into motherhood- she forgot her dreams. Forgot who she was. Who wasn’t filling anyone else’s cups too well because she wasn’t filling her own cup.
You’re made for community
I’m an extrovert. And I’m committed to doing the work I was put on earth to do well. There are times my intensity towards my goals or my passion gets in the way of me having the close relationships I crave as a working mom and wife.
I’ve realized in life if I’m not intentional about creating the space for those other important relationships they won’t happen. I didn’t realize in that season of small children how much I needed that connection to other women hustling for their dream life too.
You may not be extroverted like me, but you still need community. Your idea of community might look a little different from mine, and this is totally fine. Find what works, and do more of it. Whatever you do, don’t sacrifice relationships because life is easier that way.
Find women who share your values
The closer you are in your values and priorities, the easier it will be to let yourself be vulnerable without fear of judgment. The more vulnerable you can be together, the deeper the connection and commitment to one another. This is true of any relationship really. Learn to open up, and see what begins to happen in your key relationships.
Find other like minded women to use as an accountability system. When you connect with other women who you can relate with you’ll be more likely to reach your fitness goals and have fun. Life is about community, it’s about cheering each other on and fixing other women’s crowns when they slip.
Other women are not your competition
We are seriously not in competition with any other woman.
The only person you should concern yourself with being better than, is the person you were yesterday.
Unfortunately society likes to pit us against one another. There is no need to be catty. You don’t have to put someone else down so you feel better. And you definitely don’t need to put yourself down or let other women put you down either.
Stand together instead of letting your insecurities create division. Society seems set on creating competition between women. it’s more important than ever to choose unity and community.
Often there is a clear line between ‘us’ and ‘them’. We might be judging ourselves or other women based on how they look compared to us. What their life looks like on social media. Or how well they are performing in their roles as wives, moms, and women.
Getting sucked into the competition mindset, only ever leaves me feeling worse about myself. I think honestly this was why I avoided places like the gym for so long.
I felt like a fish out of water. It seemed like every other woman there knew what she was doing. I thought I was the only one not in my dream body. However, the closer I got to my dream body, the more I realized all my insecurities still existed. It was in that moment I knew they were probably more like me than I thought.
Choose women who will push you to grow.
I don’t believe you should just choose anyone to hold you accountable. Find women you click with, and make sure they will push you to grow and get better daily.
Finding your tribe will be inspirational, motivational, and at times a life line. On the days you feel like you can’t continue, want to give up, or like you’re a complete failure, they will be there to pick you up.
Life already brings enough challenges. We might as well make the most of them and our fitness journey by linking arms with other ladies on the same struggle bus.
Cheers to creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with your body before you reach your goals!
PS. Fill out the form below if you want to get weekly doses of inspiration sent to you.