Louder Than Words

There are many things I want to do in life. Become a great ceramicist, be able to do 10 regular pullups, save enough money to fly to Bora Bora. But for as much as I want them and think about them, if I don't take the steps necessary to achieve them, they won't just magically happen! It's strange. I mean, what happened with that book The Secret? I thought that my thoughts would just create my imaginary life! I see this same thing happen with my clients all the time. The ones who have set the appointment with me, but aren't ready to commit on their own. And let's face it. One hour with me a week leaves 167 hours of the week by themselves. Odds aren't in their favor. So while they may want to lose weight or get stronger or gain more energy, their actions speak against them. Action always beats inaction. It's so easy to say "I want to lose 20lbs!" Yet it's so much harder to set down your seventh chocolate chip cookie and pick up a jump rope instead. My mom is a classic example. She's a fit lady, especially for being 57 years old, yet she struggles with the last 10, as many women do. She'll complain to me on the phone that she's just not losing the weight, that she's put on 10 pounds since my wedding, she's committed to work out when her husband goes to work, etc. Yet when I go to Michigan to visit, she'll be plopped on her comfy couch watching Lifetime movies and shoveling in chocolate-covered Goji berries out of a gargantuan bag from Costco. ("They're full of antioxidants!") A fine example of inaction beating action.

I'm not saying every second of your life has to be committed to whatever goal you are setting, but a certain amount of persistence and awareness must exist for action and results to take effect. There are times when I'm knowingly going way past my calorie limit for the day, and I will think to myself "This does not line up with what I want to achieve," and sometimes in that moment I will stop and take a step back. Other times my willpower goes flying out the window and sets sail for the other side of the world. I've been hearing a lot recently about habits and how we should go about creating them. One idea is to set a reward for yourself every time you do what you say you want to do. One of my clients knows that coming to the gym means she gets to relax in the steam room while her daughter is in Kid's Club. But she can only head into that room after she's worked out and accomplished what she needed to for the day. If it's a weight loss goal, perhaps you could get a massage for every five pounds lost. Or if you are looking to save money, you could reward yourself with a bubble bath or your favorite magazine or a visit to a free museum every time you stash away a particular amount. For me, I have been trying to devote half an hour a day to a particular yoga pose I'm trying to master. Yet I just can't seem to commit. January was supposed to be my month to balance in handstand more times than not. Yet of the 31 days in the month, I probably committed to about 3 days total. Yikes. I obviously don't want it badly enough or feel there are other things I need to accomplish instead. But when I really think about it, I really want to balance in handstand! So my game plan is this: Every time I workout, typically 5-6 days per week, I will account for 15 minutes of handstand work at the end. I always have my protein shake after my workout, so that will be my mini-reward. No shake until handstands are done! And I lowered my expectation from a half hour to 15 minutes so that I will be more inclined to practice. February, this is our month.

So what will it be for you? Are you working toward a particular habit? Mastering an exercise, getting into the gym, limiting your sugar intake, pinching your pennies...? Whatever it is, I encourage you to write it down. Figure out the date in which you want to achieve this, and then work backwards. Set mini goals along the way, find a simple reward to grant yourself with when you've reached certain points. And then before you know it, you will be moving on to your next goal in mind. But regardless of how big or small, just remember these four words: Action always beats inaction. Now go do it!

Jenna ReddingtonJenna Reddington

NASM-CPT, Certified Yoga Instructor, Pre- and Post-Natal, KBC Kettlebells
Elite Personal Trainer
West Loop Athletic Club