Let’s make 2021 the year we stop shaming ourselves into action.
How many times have you decided today will be the day you make a change and then at the first sign of an obstacle or a waning in motivation you throw your hands up in defeat? Or perhaps a year-long pandemic sidetracks you and jumbles up your priorities and now you feel like you’ll never be able to get the “old you” back?
Many of us may ruminate on regrets and get into a cycle of shaming ourselves for not being better which leads to punishing ourselves through exercise or restrictive dieting practices. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 ways you can put a focus on your health and fitness without fixating on the things you cannot control or aspects that may trigger negative behaviours:
- Wear clothes that fit comfortably
A person who reaches their goals is a confident person and you won’t find confidence in pants that are 2 sizes too small. This can be an incredibly difficult task for many as it may act as a physical reminder of body changes, but you deserve to look and feel great in every phase, body shape and size.
Feeling good about yourself is not something you need to earn.
- Track your progress in behaviours
Achieving health and fitness goals can all be boiled down to behavioural change and so tracking progress should come down to checking in on your behaviours. Set some goals for the week and check in at the end of the week or month to see if you stuck to the plan.
For example, if you want to go on a daily walk and drink 2L of water a day, make note of these things daily and then reflect on whether you were able to do the tasks at hand. This will work better for motivation than tracking your weight or going off how you look in the mirror because they are tangible, smaller and arguably, more important, wins.
- Measure success in performance
Traditionally in the fitness world we set milestones based on body size or weight, which can be a very fluid measure and one that isn’t always indicative of our efforts, dedication, health or abilities. Instead, determine a performance-based goal for yourself.
This can include getting stronger in a certain movement like squat or push up, improving your endurance on piece of cardio equipment, or even just getting less tired from exercise itself.
- Focus on what is going right
It’s easy and tempting to think about where you fell short. Maybe you skipped a workout or haven’t been sleeping well, but you have been eating vegetables daily and drinking water!
As you track your progress keep a list of things you have achieved rather than just focusing on the things you did not. This will help you push forward and aim to do even better next week.
- Understand that perfection isn’t healthy
Ultimately, it’s important to keep in mind that perfection itself is neither attainable nor healthy. Even the most outwardly healthy people have off day, months and even years. Life is not linear, our relationship with fitness is not linear and the healthiest perspective is a flexible one.