I have always done really well with a challenge. It’s why I lose weight every time I count points or calories. It becomes something I need to do to prove something to myself. My problem usually comes when the challenge ends. It’s way too easy to slip back to “normal” once you’ve reached your goal.
That’s why I’m approaching these monthly Wellness Challenges as both challenges and habits. Yes, I plan to focus on something specific each month. But once that month ends, I’m not going to drop it. Instead, I’m going to build on it. I’m going to take the challenge I’ve worked at and add something on top of it.
Last month I did really well drinking more water, thanks in part to the deliciousness of iced green and herbal teas (this one has been my favorite). I used my Fitbit app to track my intake, mostly because it’s really simple and just requires me to put the amount of ounces I drank into my phone (for me, that’s much easier than logging it on paper). I have ended up getting to a place where I drink just about a gallon every day. That is a huge improvement for someone who used to go through most of the day without finishing my glass of water.
Now I want to take that momentum and add another layer to the challenge.
This month I want to move more.
A few months ago, I was in a really great place and exercising almost daily. But schedules change and workloads change and exercise always ends up at the bottom of my priority list. And let me tell you: I’m feeling it. I’ve put on weight. I have zero energy. I’m unfocused and an all around hot mess.
Exercise was my me time. It was the hour each day that I could score a little bit of quiet and carve out time for myself. Without it, I’m all thrown off. I’m also much more likely to eat crap, which only feeds the downward spiral.
Enough is enough. This month, I plan to move more and I plan to take you with me. Here are five ways we can start:
Make small changes
I say this all the time because it’s true: the smallest little changes can turn into major transformations. So let’s start small. Park your car further from the entrance instead of circling the parking lot for five minutes to get a better spot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk someplace you would normally drive to. Instead of meeting a friend for lunch, grab some coffee and go for a walk.
These things seem tiny, but at least you’re doing something. In my experience, doing something tends to push you to try a little harder—which brings me to my next tip…
Create a routine
Once you’ve started, try to create a routine centered around movement. Again, it doesn’t have to be huge. You can start as simply as taking a walk around the block with the kids after dinner, getting on the treadmill for 20 minutes before work, or going for a walk on your lunch break. What matters is that you choose something that fits with your life, ideally something that you can do almost every day.
And hold yourself to it! Don’t make excuses.
As with just about everything, tracking your movement is the best way to see how you’re doing. Whether you obsess about your steps like I’ve been known to or you keep a log of how much you exercised during the week or how far you ran, logging your movement is key. Seeing what you’ve done in black and white brings it home much harder than just thinking about it.
Add some entertainment
This sounds weird. I get that. But some days, you’re just not going to feel like moving. These are the best days to add some entertainment to your routine. Whether you find an awesome podcast to get you through your run or you start a new Netflix binge session that you reserve for while you’re working out, this can make the whole moving thing feel less like a chore and more like a treat.
Get a buddy to move more with you
Lastly, drag a friend into it. Whether you take a class with your BFF or have your kids tugging on your arm to take that nightly walk, having someone to hold you accountable really helps. Will it be annoying sometimes? Hell yes. But I guarantee you’ll be happier in the long run.