Fitmark Ambassador Dawn Crocetti tells us how to begin when it all seems too big
If you’ve been on the health and fitness train a while, you may have forgotten what it means and what it feels like to be unhealthy. Sometimes folks spend a lot of time in that Pre-Contemplation stage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “I have to loose a little weight before I can start climbing with you.” They imagine scary things happening to them at the gym in the hands of a personal trainer or being awkward and embarrassed in a group class. They think a life of dietary deprivation and rice cakes awaits because surely ‘fit’ people must have to do that to stay healthy. It behooves all of us to remember what that fear feels like, to recall the anxiety and often, embarrassment, of trying something totally new, in this case, a new lifestyle.
That being said, when a client comes to me with goals of “becoming healthy,” I first ask them to tell me what that looks like in their eyes. I compare that to the life they have now and ask what might they be willing to do for 14 days. Might you commit to eating one piece of fruit a day? How about taking a 10 minute walk, or taking the stairs to the office and not the elevator? Maybe it’s eating breakfast or foregoing the after dinner snack. For some, the largest commitment they are prepared to take is merely adding in a multivitamin. 14 Days. That’s all. For some, even this is too daunting a task. When 14 days feels too big, I ask them to break it into smaller chunks: can you commit to doing this one task during the week?
It is true that motivation to change must come from within. No amount of poking, prodding or badgering is going to help someone change of decade of poor health habits. But by setting and reaching small, manageable goals (such as adding in a vitamin every day), it reinforces the knowledge that a person can be successful and sets up a reward system psychologically. This is a great tool to use on both a micro and a macro scale. For example,micro might be “How many reps of this exercise are you going to perform?” As we go up the scale, it might look like, “ How many days will you take a 20 minute walk?” And on up to “You’ll train for and ride in what race?” Super short term goals, short term goals, mid range and long term goals: set them, reach them, empower yourself to succeed and surpass your own self-imposed limits.
The important thing to remember, whether it’s your own goal or someone else’s, is to take small bites. You don’t have to eat every bite of that “9-course-Gourmet-Meal-Sized-Goal” all in one sitting, but a “Daily-Dose-of-Fitness-Tapas” will go down just fine.
Fitmark Ambassador 2013