Choose Your Hard

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There are only two choices: hard, and hard. That’s it.

If it was Choose Your Easy, it would be done already. And let’s admit it, that would be boring.

We’re well into January, and this is about the point where it gets harder and harder to keep those New Year’s resolutions: to drop some pounds. Get off sugar. Eat clean. Make most meals at home, all healthy. Get off bread. Abstain from alcohol. Go to the gym–five times a week. Run. Yoga. Circuit train. Begin that weight lifting program that “Mari” suggested. For some of you, I know it’s pretty hard right now.

What no one tells us is that motivation and “will power” are limited resources. They’re each sources of energy that often help us get started but when they run out, or it just gets too tough, we can’t count on limited motivation or will-power.

It’s hard to eat the way you decided to. It’s hard dealing with cravings and temptations. It’s hard on rainy days to make the exercise happen. It’s hard to pass up the cocktail, or wine, with friends. It’s hard to plan the menu, by the good food, prep it, cook it and clean it all up.

Being true to yourself is hard.

You know what else is hard?

Giving up on yourself–that’s the hardest! Excuses are hard. Not meeting your goals is hard. Feeling out of shape is hard. Eating in a way that you feel is wrong is hard. The after effects of too much alcohol is hard. Letting time go by and not changing your condition is hard. Buying bigger clothes is hard–that’s super hard.

Letting yourself down is hard.

If motivation has run out, then it’s time for grit and continued resolve. You may be realizing that this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And it’s one hard choice after another.

It’s time for love. Time to love your big ole badass self enough: to continue. To push. To endure. To be good to yourself. Because what you want and what you dream for yourself matters.

You matter.

Here are some of my hard won tips:

1. Get used to being uncomfortable. Yep, it’s uncomfortable to exercise regularly and to pass up yummy fatty or sweet food. This is where you have to get over yourself and learn to be in some form of discomfort to make your goals.

2. Buy the good food–the food you decided was on your plan–and eat it first. Have it handy so that when you have a craving for other things, you can tell yourself that if you still want pizza or the lasagne or the burger later, that you’ll consider it after your healthy meal.

3. If you don’t feel motivated to exercise, just lace-up. Then walk out the door. Just start your run, or your gym warm up. Don’t think further than just that moment. I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t have the motivation to exercise. Still, I laced up and walked out the door. I’ve now done hundreds of exercise sessions I was NOT motivated to do. You want to know how many of those I regret doing? None. I’ve never once regretted a workout.

4. If your exercise routine is wearing you out then rest. But don’t quit. Which brings me to #5.

5. Recovery is just as important as exercising, especially with intense work. Make sure you’re eating a post recovery meal. That you’re drinking enough water. That you’re eating enough protein. And that your exercise sessions are spaced far enough apart to allow for recovery.

6. If your diet has you lethargic or feeling off, talk to a professional and get some advice on how to tweak your plan. Tweaking is good. Quitting, not so much.

7. Make sure you’re sleeping well and enough. This is as important as nutrition and exercise.

8. Find your tribe in this area of your life. I watched my friend, Babes, join a tribe of fellow runners. She’s been running for forever. I noticed a dramatic change when she found her running tribe. She began to run marathons. The tribe meets up and runs together. They support one another. They run in cute costumes and they even post pics of their early morning runs celebrating each other’s birthdays. Her tribe inspired me to find and create my tribe of like-minded athletes and healthy eaters. Finding my version of my tribe has helped me to have support and encouragement, and even a little bit of cheer-leading.

9. Get tougher. Sometimes when the going gets hard, you just have to be tougher than any resistance you are feeling. Be stronger than the push against you. Tap into your grit.

10. It’s normal to want to give up, or not feel motivated. Everyone feels that way. Just take it one day at a time. One lace-up at a time.

11. Once you form better eating and exercise habits, it begins to feel easier to live your life in this higher plane.

12. Be kind to yourself. If you went off plan, don’t beat yourself up. Forgive yourself quickly. Makr your next meal on plan. If you missed a workout, just pick up your game in your next session. Don’t get crazy and decide that because you went off plan at dinner, you’re going to restart the following Monday. This could turn into much longer. I encourage you to make your very next meal on plan.

13. Forget about perfection! Progress is made by being consistent. Let’s say you decided to workout five times a week, that’s 210 times in a year. But since you’re not perfect, you laced up 175 times this year. I promise, it will still be a huge win! Same goes with your healthy meals. If you eat healthy 90% of the year, I bet that’s a lot better than last year.

Choose Your Hard.

Forget perfection.

Love yourself like a badass.

You are so worth it.

~Mari

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