One of my childhood neighborhoods was heavily shrouded in oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. It was a haven for squirrels. Lots and lots of squirrels. Those bushy-tailed rodents would dart to and fro in front of oncoming cars, often to their demise.
Having witnessed countless squirrel crossings, I recognized that these creatures were run over because their behavior was erratic and indecisive. Like the video game Frogger, squirrels would cross a street in the hopes that their timing was faster than that of a vehicle. And most of the time, it was. But here’s where they made fatal mistakes: after darting just in time to a safe curb, they impulsively turned back in the direction from which they came, and even changed directions more than once in the middle of the road, appearing unsure about which side of the street was preferable. In that ill-timed deliberation, the squirrels found themselves under the tires of a two-ton car.
Ok, so why am I writing about the behavior of squirrels? Because I see similar behavior in people who are unsuccessful at achieving their fitness goals. How often have you or a friend started a fitness or weight loss regimen, only to second guess yourself? Perhaps you’ve jumped into a clean eating program, but turned back to your old habits because you became distracted or failed to plan? Or maybe you attempted to cross over to a healthier lifestyle, but someone or something made you look back, causing fear and confusion about how to move ahead. Or you're one of those folks who shuffles from one weight loss trend to another, never gaining traction or momentum.
While fitness failures haven't resulted in you becoming roadkill like the squirrels, indecision, poor planning and a lack of commitment can be the death of your health goals.
The solution to this sabotaging indecision is to set small, incremental goals that develop daily habits. Rather than looking way ahead to the other side of the road representing your ultimate destination, pay attention to the next step in front of you. Each pace, taken with intention, will help establish consistency, strength and discipline that will keep you moving in the right direction. For example, rather than focusing on the number of pounds you want to lose, which may seem overwhelming, write down a plan for the healthy choices you’ll make today, tomorrow, the next day and the next.
Here’s a daily checklist you may use to get started:
Now, here's your challenge: Implement your own checklist this week. Don't get squirrely and delay progress that you can start experiencing tomorrow!
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Molly is a wife, mom,
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.