Summer is here! Fun, sun and lazy days. Travel, loose schedules and unexpected social engagements can lead to delaying a workout, maybe rescheduling an appointment or ten with your personal trainer, and skipping a few classes that you would usually be first to sign up for. A few days of missed exercise opportunities can turn into weeks, that then can turn into losing perspective, then a whole lifestyle shift… not a good one. There is a cover of O magazine from many years ago that haunts me- it had the title, “How Did I Let This Happen Again?” and a 200lb Oprah holding a photo of her much more slender self. Inside, she says, “I give up. Fat wins.” Whaaaat? That can’t be right. I mean, I know we have all felt like giving up entirely at some point, but no one really believes that is a real option, right? I am here to show you the path back on the wagon. You can do it!
- Start Slow. Plan a relatively painless and fun way to get back into your fitness routine. Don’t hit the gym expecting to put in ten times the effort to make up for lost time. That will only make you sore and less willing (or able!) to come back for more the next day. Consider it an intentional small step, with plans to make incremental progress.
- Enlist a Buddy. Working out with a friend means that you will hold each other accountable, support each other, and ultimately celebrate your success together. If you are able to corral a few friends to join in the journey, even better. That means that if one of them is sick or traveling, you still have a few others to keep you on track. Beyond the benefits of keeping you headed in the right direction, working out with friends is much more fun that trying to go at it alone.
- Keep a Journal. Whether in a spiral notebook or a fun new app, the process of keeping track of what you are doing can be motivating and therapeutic. When you look back on how far you have come, it is extremely gratifying. You are writing your own success story- very exciting!
- Schedule Exercise Time. This is a priority. Is anything more important than the way you feel? Your health, your mental stability, your happiness? Think about it- anything you might think is more important can only be improved by a healthier, happier you. Increase your patience, positivity and energy, and everyone around you will benefit, including your family, your friends, your coworkers, your community, even your pets!
- Curb Your Urge. Once, I heard about a term called “urge surfing”. It’s the idea of coping with a craving by recognizing an urge is like a wave… it goes up and then down. You can’t get rid of it, and its almost impossible to ignore, but you can accept it and let it pass. People seem to think that urges will continue to escalate infinitely if they don’t yield to them, but really, just like a wave, they rise to a peak and fall. Don’t give in and the urge will dissipate.
How you handle a break in schedule where your routine is displaced is totally up to you. Choose to stay on board the wagon and everyone wins, especially YOU!