Busy? Conditioning a strong mind to optimise the fitness-lifestyle balancing act.
As I write this it’s a Thursday evening and I haven’t done any exercise all week.
Nor shall I be doing any tonight!
It was tempting around about one hour earlier, to get pissed with myself for missing another day in a row.
It was tempting to get angry and annoyed, indulge in some negative self-talk and generally adopt a shitty and unhelpful mindset about the whole thing.
I mean, how is that a so-called ‘fit-pro’ can miss four days of planned workouts in a row?
Well, here’s the thing.
I’m a one-man business, working from home, one that I share with my girlfriend and life has other shit going on outside of work and exercise.
All of the people who come to me for coaching discuss these same obstacles with me and we construct strategies and toolsets that they can use to manage them where possible.
And on the weeks where those obstacles still prove too much to manage, I reassure them.
I tell them that every week priorities change.
Every week fitness Vs work Vs family time Vs social time Vs whatever else is going on in their lives is a brawl that fitness won’t always win.
And it doesn’t need to.
So given that this is what I tell my clients and that I totally believe it to be true, it’d be a bit strange if I told myself anything different, right?
Check out the High-Performance Mindset podcast I did with Sports Psychologist Dorien Van. Deynse!
Own worst enemy
I’ve learnt that being a total unforgiving dickhead to ourselves at the times that we’re already struggling a bit, is just about the worst form of therapy possible.
You do not need to stick rigidly to an exercise regime that is designed to COMPLIMENT your life.
No one reasonably expects you to manage every morsel of food that ends up on your plate, in the face of all the impractical situations that life can throw your way.
All that matters is that you have the mercy to be kind to yourself but the discipline to keep your head in the game, so that when those moments have passed where your plan didn’t survive, you can crack back on towards your goals and keep moving forward.
Don’t expect to crush every day or win every week, you won’t.
But as the weeks roll into months and the months roll into years, being a bit kinder to yourself about it all will probably be the thing that gets you there in the end!
Top tips for the times where you’re really struggling with the balancing act of life:
1) Scale back your fitness routine.
I know as well as anyone that I could have planned to do a very short 10-minute workout today and it would have been 100 times better than doing nothing. There is almost always 10 -minutes in a day that can be spared for picking tow or three bodyweight strength movements and cranking out a few sets of each. Although it’s minimal effort it can make such a huge difference to your mindset when you’re just too slammed to get a full workout in.
2) Practice some thankfulness every day.
This is not some hippy bullshit, this is tried and tested and I’ve heard countless high-performers swear by some kind of daily gratitude ritual. Just a couple of minutes reminding yourself how much awesome stuff you have going on to be grateful for, during trying moments of stress, will greatly increase your chances of keeping your mindset in check.
3) Revise a realistic strategy.
If it’s a week like the one I’m having and one day is rolling into another without ticking off some key components of each day, revise a realistic strategy to get the boxes ticked. Instead of convincing yourself you’ll make a hectic schedule fit around your other commitments, flip the scenario around and start thinking about how to fit those other commitments around whatever t is that’s monopolising your time or attention. There are often a surprising number of gaps to be found in even a busy schedule when we look hard and think outside the box. Is there a way you can combine physical activity with another task? Can you do some power-walking while on your calls? Is there some work you can take outdoors to at least get some air and your vitamin D fix?
4) Reflection and acceptance.
Sometimes the best you can do is just accept that things are the way they are and just focus on getting out the other side with your mindset still intact. Look back on what you’ve already achieved on your journey and remember that it all happens one step at a time. You can’t and shouldn’t ever rush a masterpiece!