2012 Renewal — Motivation and momentum during the ebbs and flows of training

Mark Russell is one of the owners of Metro Run and Walk and is an avid walker and runner.

Mark Russell is one of the owners of Metro Run and Walk and is an avid walker and runner.

Tale of the Tape Through Week Seven

Weight:  January 1 = 189, February 19 = 181.5  7 weeks,  loss of 7.5 lbs. Ahead of 1 lb per week pace.

Mileage: Week 7 run/walk miles: 44.0.  Average weekly mileage: 38.3. Above target min of 35 mi/wk.

Tips on keeping your head in the right place week after week

It’s happened to me more times than I care to admit.  Get motivated. Choose goals and a plan.  Make progress.  Motivation and momentum drop, either in response to a discouraging event, or the general drift that happens when boosts to motivation and momentum are left to chance.  Progress reverses.  A months-long blue funk settles in.  New goals are chosen.  Get motivated.  And so on…..

This year, I am making sure I get those purposeful boosts to keep me moving forward.  My tips?  Making relentless incremental progress, occasionally immersing yourself in the culture you are pursuing, and having some consequences and rewards.

Relentless incremental progress

This comes from doing the little stuff day after day.  At least once a day, skip the starch and pile on some more leafy vegetables.  Feeling hungry?  Eat a small snack and drink loads of water.   Got a workout plan?  Add an additional quarter mile walk a couple times a week and when you drive somewhere,  be sure to park farther away so you walk even more.  Waiting around for something?  Grab a few stretches or drop to a plank for 2 minutes.  Choose chicken/fish over beef/pork.  Skip the sauces. 

These are all painless small things you can do every single day.  Cumulatively they really add up.  Hundreds of calories each day which translate into pounds per month.  And the extra exercise tones you a bit extra, too.

Immerse yourself in the culture you are pursuing

The trouble with undertaking a lifestyle and fitness renewal program is that much of it happens while you are alone or around your family, friends, and co-workers.  If those around you happen to be less fitness and health conscious than you want to be, it is inevitable that they will drag you down and sap your motivations.  Make an effort to seek out and spend time with others who share your perspectives:

Meet up with a workout parter at least once a week.

Join an relevant organization to be exposed to new info and events.

Follow a couple of relevant blogs or get on some email/listserv groups so your email gets a couple hits a day of good info or reminders.

Read a book about somebody pursuing and achieving a dream.  If it is about active lifestyle and fitness, all the better.

Attend / register / volunteer for some active lifestyle events.  There is something happening every weekend.

Try a vegetarian restaurant or attend a green smoothie demo.

Take a lean cooking class.

Consequences and rewards

Don’t just slog out your plan — spice it up!   And you can spice it up in ways that move you further in the direction you want to go (yes, that means a reward of a half dozen donuts is out).

A consequence can be increasing the rigidity of your lifestyle plan when you get off track.  For me, if I miss my weight threshold on Sunday morning, then Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon is 100% raw/steamed veggies, with a touch of fruit and no-fat protein.  That will drop my weight a touch, and it will re-establish my appreciation for the slightly less strict foods part of my typical diet (nuts and olives — yum!).

A reward should be a treat for a job well done or a milestone reached.   These treats should be good for your head, your body, your soul — whatever.   Sports massages are great rewards, and your head and body are better off, too.  Pick some active event in a nearby city, and make a weekend trip out of it.  Got a hobby and been craving something special?  Pick a fitness milestone and when you reach it — go get that thing you’ve been wanting.  Dropped a size or 2 as you have gotten more fit?  Go get some clothes!

Your renewal will succeed IF you keep your head right.  Keep making daily progress, seek out those with similar mindsets, and spice up the challenge with consequences and rewards.

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