2014 Mindful Fitness Habit Survival Guide
Let’s be frank. Your fitness resolutions are doomed. I know what you’re thinking. This year I’ll stick to them. I’ve been reading more. I’m better prepared. I’m more settled. This year everything will fall into place. This year will be different.
There you are holding your intentions like precious stones, pregnant with hope and enthusiasm. But for many of us by February most of these gems will be lost. And those that remain will be tarnished beyond recognition.
That’s because the popular beliefs about how to get into shape are all wrong. They don’t apply to most of us. And even when they do work, they often don’t stand the test of time.
But your habits don’t have to be like this. Your habits can last. But only if you ignore much of the popular advice and instead follow a mindful path.
In that spirit, I humbly offer you my 2014 Habit Survival Guide. It’s four simple cautions and suggestion about how to make 2014 a more mindful healthy year.
1. Don’t Listen to the Media –
If you pick up a magazine, news paper, or even open a blog this month you will find an endless list of 2014 fat burning, ab sculpting, bum lifting, love handle destroying, hulk making workouts. These articles are great for fitness bloggers and magazines, because they allow us to repurpose an old workout as a new exciting technique.
But the truth is that most of these are crap. No one workout holds the secret to anything and in my experience 90% of what people struggle with is consistency not programming. So you’d be better off skipping those articles all together.
What To Do Instead: Pick an activity you enjoy and do it more often.
It doesn’t matter if it’s bike riding, roller skating, walking at the mall, or rock climbing. Pick something you like to do that is active and do more of it.
You don’t have to do that much more of it either. Shoot for something in between 5 mins a day and 30 mins three time a week. Your #1 goal should be to make exercise a habit. Because once you have this habit, you can do almost anything you want with it.
2. Don’t Go On a Diet –
If you’ve read my blog, a few times you know that I don’t think diets work. At least most of them. Diets are a short term solution to a long term problem and a damaging one at that.
What To Do Instead: Pick 3 mindful eating rules.
Make these rules simple and effective. Something like I can only have a coke at dinner if I walk for 30 mins today. These simple habit rules will help you form some small but effective mindful eating habits. For most of us, these few rules can slow or reverse our glacial weight gain.
3. Don’t Join a Gym:
For the love of all that is good, DON’T JOIN A GYM. Gyms are one of the least effective ways to lose weight or get into shape. Most of them are harshly lit, TV packed, prisons where good intentions go to die.
The reason is that most gyms offer little guidance or support for your desire to change. Not to mention their business model is based on you not using their services.
Generally, fitness folks like myself, avoid any gym for the first few weeks in January because it’s filled by novices with no clue about equipment or etiquette. That and we know that if we wait until February most of these neophytes will be gone.
What To Do Instead: Sign up for a class or make a fitness friend.
Community or social pressure is one of the most effective ways to encourage you to stick to a fitness habit. So utilize the crap out it. Join a class that looks interesting. Try out yoga, kickboxing, or even a ballroom dancing class. The more social the better.
Your other option is to find a fitness buddy and make a workout schedule together. You can do a weekly walking challenge or even make a fitness bet. A good workout partner offers, support, encouragement, and accountability that’s worth more than even the fanciest gym.
4. Don’t Listen to Popular Sentiment
People love to give people advice especially when it comes to fitness or losing weight. Some of it is arbitrary and some if it is just plain ridiculous. You should ignore most of this advice.
People have a good intentions, but often don’t know what they are talking about. Also, I try not to offer advice unless I know a bit about them. So, unless their advice is preceded by questions it’s probably worth what you paid for it.
What to Do Instead: Listen to your heart.
True transformation comes from within. I could know exactly what is keeping you stuck, but if you don’t see it. It doesn’t matter.
So, instead of listening to advice listen to yourself. You can do this by meditating, keeping a journal, or doing morning pages.
The path of change doesn’t go through a gym, a magazine, or even a personal trainer. The path of change goes right through your center. If you want to make this year, a truly new adventure let go of the external plans you have to make a new life and look within. Everything you need is just waiting for you to find it.
Question: What are your mindful fitness intentions for 2014?
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