Thursday, December 3, 2009

Plans and Promises

I've broken two of my cardinal rules again:

1) Don't go more than two days without posting
2) Don't go more than two days without working out

I posted that No Excuses link just a bit before the holiday season started (Happy Thanksgiving!) and I'm proud to say that it actually carried me through what I consider to be the hardest part of the holidays as far as staying healthy is concerned--being home.

That should speak to the quality of the time I get to spend with my family--I so enjoy hanging out and having (a few) glasses of wine with mom and talking and watching tv that the last thing I want to do is go for a run.

In good fitness news, I'm proud to announce that my mom completed her first 5k on Thanksgiving morning! She did it in just under 40 minutes, which is a huge accomplishment on top of finishing!

My brother and I also ran it, he smoked me at 23:28, but I did have a personal best of 24:28.

I can't tell you why specifically I was motivated to actually get up and go for a run twice more while I was home (I know, it wasn't much, but it was something.) I think mostly because this time while I was packing my workout clothes, I promised myself that I would get out there at least twice more on top of the 5k.

The secret to coming up against what is traditionally a hard season to stick to diets and exercises plans is two fold. Remember the two P's:

- A Plan
- A Promise

Make a REALISTIC plan. That's always my down fall--the realistic part (haha, says the Realist).

Unrealistic Plan: I will work out every day that I'm in Florida with my parents.
Realistic Plan: Out of the 6 full days that I will be home, I will exercise on three of them.

Making a plan realistic is the hardest part, especially when making the plan. A good rule is to make a goal two thirds of what your first instinct is as a goal, but have a bottom line that's half. Keep in mind that realistic during the holiday season isn't always the same as every day realistic.

Idealism: I will work out 6 days a week.
Goal: I will work out 4 days a week.
Bottom Line: I will work out 3 days a week -- no excuses.

I've pretty much sucked at keeping my act together once I got back to DC. I got in late on Monday night. Tuesday, my coworker threw a Christmas Kickoff party, and I was in no shape to work out when I got back from that. Last night, I put up our Christmas tree (which is looking kind of pathetic right now). And this morning I slept in.

To combat that, take planning to the second level.

I've read (and learned first hand) that when you sit down on the weekend and plan out the menu for the week, people eat better and save money at the grocery. I havent' done this in forever, but I'm looking forward to getting back to it. The same goes for working out. Sit down on Sunday night and plan, as best you can, your workouts. I suggest setting plans on your calendar/outlook and giving yourself an "or" option.

Goal: Work out 4x a week.

Monday: 7 pm Cycle Class
Tuesday: Morning Run AND/OR
Wednesday: Morning Run OR 7 pm Cycle Class
Thursday: 6:30 Gym with K
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 10 am 20-20-20 Class

Right there are 6 options for me to acheive my 4x a week goal. Set a few times that are required for you (make yourself a priority), but give yourself the flexibility to deal with life, because it happens.

Now for the second P. Promise yourself and mean it. Make yourself and your health a priority and promise to stick to your realistic goal. If it's not realistic, you will have a hard time making that promise. Review your goals again if you have a hard time saying the p-word.

Unrealistic promise: Every week, I will exceed my workout goal and I promise to let nothing get in the way of the gym.
Realistic Promise: I promise that I will do my bottom line number of workouts and that I will not be mad with myself if I don't go above that this holiday season.

Be kind to yourself. It's the holidays, afterall, and while we're busy trying to be nice to each other, we often forget about ourselves (and sometimes the ones we love).

For example, last night I went to Target last night to buy our first fake tree. The place was a mad house and while I was pretty blissed out and honestly enjoying obessing over the tone of the silver in a box of ornaments....a couple in the tree area was buying decorations for their first Christmas together.

I was secretly happy for them because I remember how much fun Chadd and I had last year picking out stuff for our garlands, etc. But then, the whole thing spiraled out of control. A disagreement over the type of lights caused a major meltdown.

Don't let holiday stress get to you. Don't stress yourself out trying to look like a bombshell for that holiday party. Instead, enjoy the vacation days you take, spend some time for yourself, but don't stress yourself out over giving yourself the gift of health--it's counter intuitive!

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