turning fitness into a habit

Can you believe it’s November already!? The year seems to have flown by! And as the year is coming to close, many people will start thinking about how 2016 went and how they want 2017 to go. For many, this process usually includes declarations of “I’m going to eat healthier, work out more!” and so on. Fitness is one of the most common things that people think of when setting their annual goals. But sadly many of those same people won’t make it past the one month mark. Why is that?

Well, a lot of it comes down to habit. Too many people depend on motivation to get them to their goals, which is simply not enough. Motivation is great for the first week or even the first month! But eventually motivation dissipates and the goals that seemed so important suddenly don’t rank so high on the to-do list. So how do we change this and go from depending on motivation to creating a habit? This is a question I have struggled with myself.

I’ve had many starts and stops when it comes to my fitness journey. I can look back 10+ years and see different points where I tried to include fitness into my life more, but it never lasted. I would lose motivation or hit a roadblock and I would give up. I tried obsessive calorie-counting, programs at gyms that made big promises, and many other things. And most of them probably would have worked! Except the obsessive calorie-counting…that one was terrible. The problem was I didn’t know how to turn fitness into a habit and so I was never able to keep it up.

Fast forward to 3 years ago. I had lost a decent amount of weight already through some lifestyle changes and a highly physical job and was feeling pretty good! But I knew I wanted to make a bigger change and put more focus on my health and my fitness. So I started trying to work out more. There were some more start and stops, but there was less time between them.

And finally to last year. I started getting more consistent and even started a great program! If you were with me back then, you know that my attempts at Kayla Itsines’ BBG didn’t go smoothly and there were a lot of obstacles! But I did finally complete it and the community around BBG really helped me to make fitness into a habit!

And now? I am at the gym 5-6 days a week, I am active outside of the gym and I do a few workouts at home too! Are there are days I don’t really want to work out? Of course! But most of them I do anyways and I always feel better afterwards!

Working out has become a habit in my life and I know it can in yours too! These 5 methods helped me make the transition from depending on motivation for my workouts to having a steady fitness habit!

To succeed in your fitness journey you need more than motivation...fitness needs to be a habit! These 5 tips can help you build that habit and succeed at your fitness goals!

5 Things that Can Help You Turn Fitness Into a Habit

Schedule your workouts

Just like any other appointment, you need to make appointments with yourself. Write down when you are going to exercise and what you are going to do. At the beginning of each week I sit down and write out my schedule for the week, including my workouts!

Find something you enjoy

Don’t like walking on the treadmill? So don’t! Especially at the beginning of your fitness journey, finding things you enjoy is so important. There are so many activities out there that will improve your fitness, so try some out! Take a kickboxing class, go hiking, try out a climbing wall! There are even groups in many cities that you can join that are centered around fitness. If you aren’t sure what you want to try (and you have the budget for it) you can join a gym that has a variety of classes and try them out! I recently joined the YMCA and have been loving the classes available, especially kickboxing!

Find your “why”

Now, I understand that finding your “why” might sound a little silly, but it works! Knowing your reason or reasons for wanting to work out. Really give this one some thought and preferably find a “why” that is long term. If you goal is to look great in that dress for an upcoming event, you may have a hard time keeping your focus after the event is over!

Find other like-minded individuals

This can either be on-line or in person (I do both!) but having a community is so helpful. There are many challenges that can come with changing your lifestyle and making fitness a priority. Having others to turn to and find support from can be the difference between pushing through them and giving up, especially at the beginning! Also, it’s just a lot of fun!

Look for the small victories

It can be disappointing when you are starting to work out and you don’t see a huge change right away. It can feel like all your hard work isn’t paying off and can really kill that motivation that got you started. Instead, look for the small victories! Did 5 push-ups last week? Maybe this week you can do a few more! Maybe you can lift something that last month you wouldn’t have been able to. Or you are sleeping better and having more energy. Paying attention to those smaller things can really help you push through the difficult moments and be reminders as to why you keep going!

Have you turned your fitness practice into a habit? What techniques have helped you do it? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

2016 goals check-in: 3 months to go!

I can’t believe that we are mid-way through October already! One of the things that I find really important this time of year is to check back in with my annual goals and see how they are going. It can be easy to write down your goals for the year and be super excited about them for a month or two. Then you can start to forget what was even on that list of goals! So I like to check in every 3 months or so. Have you checked in on your annual goals lately?

So here are how my goals are doing so far!

Checking in on your goals is one of the most important things that help you accomplish them!Read More

101 things in 1,001 days – 1 year update!

Yay! I’m so excited to be sharing my one year progress on my Day Zero project! 101 things in 1,001 days seems like a lot…even more so when I have one year gone! But I’m excited with what I am getting done and what I hope to accomplish over the next year. Before I get into the list, I want to talk about a few of things I learned in this first year of the project!

Get your download to help you make your own project a success!Read More

life outside of your comfort zone (+ 5 tips to pushing your boundaries!)

Do you like to try new things and push your limits? I know I do! This wasn’t always the case though. I used to avoid new situations, especially if I was trying them on my own! My comfort zone was well established and I liked it there.

It can be easy to stay in of our comfort zone. After all, they are by definition “a place, situation, or level where someone feels confident and comfortable” We avoid a lot of stress, insecurity and self doubt by staying there. They are where we feel the most self-assured and capable. But while comforting, those feelings can be deceptive.

Getting outside your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries can be difficult, but so important! Click through for my top 5 tips, plus my story of how I am working to push myself too!Read More

Create a positive mindset and overcome your negativity

Frame of mind can be a powerful thing. Our thoughts alone can lift us up or drag us down, sometimes both within the same day. But we don’t have to be powerless to our thoughts and emotions. It’s not easy, and it doesn’t mean that you will never have a negative or doubting thought…but it does mean that you can learn to recognize them, deal with them and slowly start to counteract them.

Before I get going, I want to make this clear: Clinical depression is very real. Help from doctors and medications are very important. I am not talking about that here. I am not stating in any way that you can defeat depression through the power of positive thinking, or any other such nonsense. At different points in my life I have been in therapy and on anti-depressants, among other things. Medication is nothing to be ashamed of or ignored.

If that particular topic is something you would like to me to write more on, I can. But that is not the topic I am covering today. Today, I’m talking about everyday negativity and the issues surrounding it.

I’ve struggled with negative thoughts, self-image and defeating thoughts for most of my life. While these were particularly difficult to deal with at points and very damaging, I had a situation a few years ago that really caused me to feel lost, detached and overwhelmed with negativity.
set-positive-mindset
Past me was overwhelmed by negative thoughts and self-image, even during a once in a lifetime opportunity
I’m going to talk about something today that I’ve never talked about on here before. If it starts to feel too personal, feel free to skip this post and catch the next one! But I feel that it’s important to give some background into what started me on this journey and lead me to the life and the mindset that I have today. There some events in life that can really shape a person and how they view the world. One of those is divorce.
That’s right. I’ve been through a divorce. I’ve thought about talking about my experiences on here before, but it’s difficult. And very personal. Now, I’m not going to get into the details of my marriage, or my divorce. But it’s important to understand that my separation, my suddenly being single, really lead to that dark time period in my life. I had never been single or alone as an adult, having started dating my ex-husband in high school. We were together for 9 years. I was about to graduate college when we separated. All of my plans, goals and a lot of my support system fell away and I was left….stranded. My remaining friends and family were supportive, but didn’t really understand why I was having such a hard time adjusting to my new, single life.
I felt swallowed by the negative thoughts. My self-image had never been lower. It took almost a year and hurting a few people I really cared about before I realized just what that negative mindset was doing to me. And that’s when I realized that I needed to make some major changes in my life, a few of which are what I want to talk about today. Before I could make a lot of those changes though, I had to learn how to recognize when I was being negative towards myself and some of the particular activities that would trigger those thoughts more than others. I started to avoid those activities where I could, which helped.
Change and progress was slow. It was hard. It still is sometimes. But there are some things that I have found to help a lot.

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100 lbs lost: my fitness journey and what I’ve learned in the past year

A year ago I posted some about my fitness journey to that point and a bit about my background. I had already lost quite a bit of weight, but I hadn’t really fallen in love with fitness at the point. I exercised in spurts and wanted to get more into it, but I really didn’t enjoy it. And I didn’t honestly think I ever would. I still had a lot to learn when I wrote that post….both about fitness as a lifestyle, and about myself (I still have a lot to learn about fitness!) I could have never anticipated how the year since that post was going to go!

This year has definitely had it’s ups and downs. I finished a 12-week round of Kayla Itsines’ BBG! I also ended up in the ER twice (one of them fitness-related) and in physical therapy as well…3 injuries in as many months. I had months of working out regularly and MONTHS of not being able to do much at all.

fitness-journey-post-workout-pictures

 

Through all of it, one thing was clear: I love a fitness-based lifestyle. Even when it sucks, even when I don’t really want to work out….I love it.

I never really imagined loving working out. If you had told me at 25 that I would ever love working out I wouldn’t have believed you. The only exercise I had ever enjoyed as an adult was martial arts, but I didn’t even stick with that for very long. So the fact that I enjoy a lot of different exercises, that I want to try even more, seems crazy! But it’s true. And I’ve learned a lot through this fitness journey, especially over the past year!

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25 cheap (or free!) summer activites!

While summer as an adult may not be as carefree and open as it was when we were kids, it’s still a great time to get outside, try new things and just have fun!! But sometimes that can really put a stress on our budget, especially if we have any summer vacations to pay for too. But that doesn’t mean that all the fun has to stop. There are so many options out there that are free or cheap that can make for some great experiences and awesome memories.

Here are just a few that I could think of!

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2016 goals check-in

Can you believe it’s halfway through June already!? I know I can’t. This year seems to be flying by! And with that realization, I want to do something I think it really important to goal setting. I want to do a check in on my goals for 2016. 🙂 Maybe it will inspire you to do the same?!

A lot of annual goals are set and then forgotten. To achieve them, it really is important to check in on them throughout the year and see how you are doing. It can be really easy after a few months to forget what you even set as your goals!

So here is how I’m doing on mine!

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My Top 5 Tips for Setting Mindset and Increasing Productivity

I have this ideal in my mind….I sit down in my beautiful clean office at my nice, cleared off desk and just write. Everything flows, there are no starts and stops, no writing and then erasing, just wonderfully composed words on my screen. It’s easy. This scene is not reality. Not even close.

In reality, my office is a corner of my living room, my desk is never really cleared off (and is a bit too small overall) and the words rarely flow smoothly into the keys. And that’s ok. Even if someday I have that beatifiul office and big, cleared off desk, the words probably won’t just come to me. Writing is work for me. Enjoyable, most of the time, but work. This is probably a lot of people’s reality, not just mine.

So the question becomes “How do I make this easier? How do I get as close to that ideal as possible?” Because while I have a lot of things I do as a blogger, writing is a pretty big part of it! I can’t have this blog and get to interact with all of you without actually writing the content!

So you might be asking at this point “How does this apply to me?” Especially if you aren’t a blogger or writer! Well, maybe it doesn’t…but I think that most of us have some sort of task that we struggle with and I believe that most of these tips work for a variety of tasks! And I think most of us can agree that there is a lot of satisfaction and pleasure in finishing a day feeling like you were super-productive! I know I love that feeling and these are tips I’ve been using since college (WAY longer ago than I would like to admit!) to achieve just that feeling! They have helped me through a lot of different types of tasks.

 We all love that feeling of being super-productive and getting stuff done! These are my top 5 tips for increasing your productivity and setting your mindset! I use these all the time and they really help me get things done!
Top 5 Tips for Setting Mindset and Increasing Productivity
  • Use music to set your mind – This is a trick I’ve used for year, first in college for studying and now on the blog for writing. Pick a style of music that isn’t distracting to you and put that on every time that you work on that task. I love soundtracks, since they are instrumental and usually pretty uplifting! Only put that music on when you are working on that particular task. It takes time, but after a while you may find that putting on that music actually helps you focus and start working!
  • Declutter your workspace – I still struggle with this one on a regular basis! I am great at adding to my desk or workspace without even realizing it. Then suddenly I barely have room to work! But I know that when my space is cleared off I work better and am less distracted.
  • Turn off your notifications, phone, etc – This one is pretty obvious, but still needs to be said. It takes 20 min (Check for research source to back this up) to get into the “zone” and only takes checking one notification to pull you out of it. This can really mess up your productivity and make it harder to focus!
  • Don’t multi-task – This is one that has taken me the longest to figure out. When I started this blog I wrote most of my posts while sitting in my comfy chair with the TV on. I didn’t have a workspace set up and figured that since I always picked a show I knew really well it didn’t matter. I was wrong. It took me so long to write anything and the quality was probably lower than it should be. I will say, this one is mostly for things like writing, researching, correspondence, things like that. I do some of my more time-consuming creative stuff in front of the TV and it works fine!
  • Pick a day or time of day to work – This is probably one of the hardest for me and doesn’t always get followed, but when you can it helps a lot. I writing most of my posts on Wednesday nights. I’m also adding in a few other times throughout the week, but I know it’s easier for me to get in “writing mode” when I sit down on Wednesday because that’s when I always write.

I will admit, I’m better at some of these than others! Clutter and attempting to multi-task are my weak points and things I am constantly reminding myself about. I hope these tips can help you in being more productive and setting your mindset to what you need to work on!

Bonus tip! Make sure to schedule short breaks into your tasks. This Research News Post from talks about a research study showing improved focus due to short breaks during a 50 minute task. And it’s definitely not the only study out there! There are lots of studies showing that trying to focus too long on one task can decrease your focus and productivity.

Did I miss a technique you use to increase your productivity? Or maybe gave you a new one to try? I love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

 

Sara

1 year of blogging!!!

29th Birthday
Ok, so this is from my birthday, and I sadly don’t have a cupcake, but this definitely fits how I feel! Maybe I can get a cupcake later 🙂

Wow…I can’t believe it’s been one year since I started this blog! I have so many things I want to say that I’m not even sure where to start! (apologies if this ends up being rambly because of that)

First off, before I get talking about everything else going through my head, I want to say “Thank you!” to you, my readers. I’ve loved getting to know some of you through my little blog and I hope to get the chance to know you better in the future! There were many times over the past year that I wondered if there was any point to what I was doing, if anyone was listening. But then one of you would say you were inspired to start meal prepping, on your own fitness journey, or tried your own DIY and I was re-energized! I really do love each and every one of you and I appreciate the support I’ve gotten throughout this year.

When I started this blog, I had no real idea what I was doing. (most days I still feel like I don’t) I didn’t have much experience with anything technology-based. The photography was….well, while I still have a long way to go, I’m WAY better than I was when I started! All the technical stuff seemed so overwhelming and foreign to me. To be honest, I’m a little surprised that I stuck with it long enough to get going, but I was determined!

I just knew that I wanted to share the things I was learning with people. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I wanted to inspire someone else the way that I had been inspired.

And that is still my purpose, my “why”….I want to take what I have learned about happiness, health and living a fulfilled life and share it with others! When I was in that darkest point of my life, I felt like I had nowhere to turn. I had my friends and family, but they didn’t really understand what I was going through or why I was having such a hard time navigating my newly-changed life. But there were a few blogs that had really revitalized my interests and life in general and they helped me get through that dark point and come out whole.

That whole experience is what started this whirlwind of a year! From meeting new people, both online and in person, to learning new photography skills, this year of blogging has taught me so many things! Both about the world of blogging and about myself. In many ways it has changed the way I view the things in my life in a very real way. Sometimes in the way of keeping an eye out for inspiration for that next blog post.

But in many ways it has helped me to appreciate the things I have in my life. Draz for being so supportive, plus keeping me grounded and realistic when I get too out there! My parents, for pretty much everything. Even my day job, because so many people there have been supportive of this, even acting as sounding boards sometimes! Blogging has changed me and I’m so grateful for that and for you! There have been so many experiences this year that I couldn’t have ever anticipated, all brought about through the blog!

I’m so excited to see what this next year and beyond will bring! I have some ideas and projects in mind, all with the goal to bring you some new content that will really be of value to you! That being said, I would love to hear what YOU would like to see from me in the future! Is there an area of health or the journey to happiness that you are struggling with or want to hear more about? Do you want to see more recipe-geared posts? More DIY? I can’t wait to see what you would like to see, so please leave a comment below!

Sara