My kids have this story called Caps For Sale. In it, a peddler walks up and down the street trying to sell the different colored caps that he’s carrying on top of his head. The unfortunate peddler doesn’t sell a single cap that day. He’s thwarted by hunger, fatigue, and a group of monkeys that steal the caps right off of his head while he’s sleeping. As a result, he spends a major portion of that day stymied with frustration.
Sometimes, when it comes to fitness and nutrition, we all feel like that peddler. But it’s how we deal with the roadblocks on our path to fitness that ultimately determine how successful we are. We all get hungry when we’re trying to lose weight. We all get tired when we’re out for a run. Hopefully we don’t get mugged by a pack of monkeys. But hey, stranger things have happened, right?
The next time you find yourself struggling to make progress on the fitness goals (you do have concrete goals, right?) try one of these quick and easy solutions to help get you back on track.
FIND A COMMUNITY
One of the primary reasons that I’ve been able to go from an overweight couch potato to a fit, semi-athletic, marathon runner is because I’ve been able to create a community at my blog. I write about my goals, my successes, and my failures. Sometimes I write about current research on nutrition and fitness and I try and answer questions that my readers ask of me. I love the community at Get Fit Slowly. It’s what finally got me writing again and it really does an awesome job of keeping me accountable towards making progress on my goals.
But you don’t have to start a blog. There are lots of communities out there. Daily burn, Daily Mile, Garmin Connect, Map My Run, and Spark People are all great places for you to find people with similar goals and ideals. The people you meet there will be your biggest supporters, but they’ll also call you out when you’re not performing. If you hate to disappoint people as much as I do, that can be a powerful motivator.
Competition really gets some people motivated to perform. If you don’t like to lose, then set up a friendly fitness or weight loss competition with some friends and watch how successful you can be. I once lost 20 pounds in 2 months because I didn’t want to eat a chili dog in public while not wearing a shirt.
If those kinds of competitions aren’t your style, you can always sign up for a race. Shelling out the entry fees is enough to motivate me to do my best. I’m betting it would work for you too.
GIVE YOURSELF A CARROT
I’m not talking about the kind of carrot that grows in the ground, either. If you’re still struggling to get over one of those obstacles, then it’s time to bring out the big guns. Set a goal, and give yourself a reward for completing that goal. Want to lose 10 pounds? Then promise yourself an awesome night out with your partner when you reach that goal. Maybe go to Hawaii if you lose 100 pounds? Think big here, because the bigger the reward, the more likely you are to work for it.
One of my favorite things about this strategy is that you can use it to break big goals down into smaller, more manageable goals. Break a 50 pound weight loss down into 5 chunks and give yourself small rewards for each successful step towards accomplishing the big goal. There are lots of ways to do it. Pick one that works for you and get it done.
It’s that time of year when everyone is setting goals for themselves. Sooner or later, we’ll all run into some obstacles. By thinking about what you’re going to do, and by having a plan in place for dealing with them, you’ll be better equipped and spend less time being derailed by those obstacles.
That peddler didn’t have much of a plan to deal with his obstacles. And he wasn’t very successful on that day. But he did have one thing going for himÂ—tenacity! He never gave up. He kept peddling his wares until the sun went down. If you take my advice and try one or more of the suggestions given above and if you refuse to ever give up, you’ll be selling your caps in no time.