Thursday, May 17, 2012

Challenge Yourself

I think it is important to keep challenging yourself, no matter where you are in your fitness journey. Sometimes you commit to making changes for the long run, like you might for New Year’s Resolutions.  I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, per say.  Not to say that you shouldn’t make resolutions at the start of the new year, you can check out my own 2012 resolutions here.   I just think you shouldn’t wait for a new year to better yourself.  Start now.  Yes, right now.  Drop and give me 20.  (I’m serious.  GO!) See, now don’t you feel healthier already?

I like the idea of a 30 day challenge, perhaps to try-out a new lifestyle or healthy habit.  30 days of eating only natural whole foods, 30 days of no sugar, 30 days without Diet soda, 30 days of Yoga, 30 days of walking, 30 days of no alcohol, 30 days of not cursing, 30 days not beating your kids (just kidding).  Just a few ideas.  Do something new every day for 30 days and see how you feel.  After 30 days of staying committed to something, maybe you will have developed a new healthy habit.  The worst that could happen is that you will decide this particular thing wasn’t for you and will you move on to something else, now a better, more experienced person for have given it a shot.  Either way, it gives you a sense of accomplishment when you do exactly what you said you were going to do. Please don't feel like you have to wait for a new month to get started.  30 days starting N.O.W.

Here are a couple of examples of personal challenges that I am doing right now.

Most of mine are long term, but could easily be adapted to 30 day trials.  You will see some of  these are very small changes that take up very little time each day.  It is about creating new positive lifestyle changes, one small step at a time.
  • I run one race each month in 2012.  So far I am on track!  I love running races (and blogging the recaps).  You don't have to be so aggressive.  Sign up for a 5K that is three months from now and Google a "Couch to 5K plan".   Get started today.

  • I run at least one mile a day, every day in 2012.  I run more than one mile most days.  On weight training days I am sure to squeeze in at least one mile on the treadmill, and on rest days I walk a mile.  When I had a pulled muscle in my leg this month, I walked one mile every day since I couldn’t run.  It feels good to strap on those shoes every day, no matter what.  I can’t believe Hubby and I have been doing this for almost 5 months.   We made a commitment and stuck to it.  Now it is second nature and it only takes between 8 and 15 minutes a day, depending if I run or walk. 
  • I do a daily plank.  I started this on March 26.  I started with a one minute plank every day, but as I have gotten stronger, I have built up to 2:30-3 minutes a day.  Sometimes now I do planks twice a day.  Once in the morning with my weight training and then again in the evening at home.  Do I notice a difference in my ab definition and strength? You betcha!  A simple minute or two a day can make a big difference! Now who doesn’t have two minutes a day?

Candy looking on as I do my daily plank
  • I drink 2 tablespoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar diluted in water three times a day before a meal.  I started this one on April 29.  I got the idea when I read Tosca Reno's blog on the subject.  Yes, it tasted gross at first.  Is this what they mean when they say No pain, No gain?  By the start of the second week I was used to the taste, although hubby refers to it as Nasty-Juice.  There are many documented health benefits of drinking raw organic apple cider.   Call me crazy, but I swear I notice a difference in muscle definition in my abs since I started.  I'm going to continue to drink it along with eating clean and working out 6 days a week and see if it continues to make a difference for me like it did for Tosca.  You didn't think I was suggesting that ACV would have any effect on your abs without eating right and working out did you? Of course not.
  • Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (bought at Kroger and Central Market)
  • I keep a journal and read my goals everyday.  I write everyday.  It doesn't have to be a novel or a blog post.  I just try to keep writing private entries to myself.  I always write about my day, my morning weight, a general description of my workout for the day (I keep detailed weight lifting logs separately), about anything exciting or unusual that day, my mood, my lunch, oil changes, periods, sometimes a bowel movement if it seems important at the time. :) How did I know I started my daily planks on March 26 and ACV on April 29?  I looked it up in my journal.  I filled up the front and back cover by writing out  my long and short term goals and aspirations, including goal pictures, so I can read them every day, sometimes twice a day.  Write down your goals and read them every single day!  It really helps me to stay motivated! 
My Journal

Pick something, any small step into a healthier lifestyle, and commit to finishing 30 days of something new. Start today! So tell me, how are you going to challenge yourself?

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