The 10-Step Plan that will Keep You Active for a Lifetime
What’s your reason for working out? To slim down for swimsuit season or an upcoming reunion? Get in shape for your next adventure vacation? Or get stronger to enjoy life more? Great! Armed with the support of Curves, grab onto whatever fitness goal gets you moving. Then, once you’ve accomplished that goal, think, what next?
You know that regular exercise is key to a lifetime of good health and happiness. For a long-term goal, you need a long-term solution. And that solution is to identify your internal motivation to move. Internal motivation is a powerful force that, when tapped, can keep you committed to an exercise routine and healthy diet for life. To help you find and use your intrinsic power, here’s an effective 10-step process:
1. Define your personal mission statement.
Ask yourself: What were you put on this earth to do? The answer might be to raise a family, be an innovator or writer, or perhaps more broadly, to live a loyal, compassionate, honest life. If you find it difficult to define your mission statement, consider how you want your friends and family to think of you, or look at your strengths and think about how you want to use them in this life. These explorations may lead you to your mission and help define your fitness goals.
2. With your mission in mind, make a list of your priorities.
What’s most important to you right now? Your relationships, your children, your health, your work, taking care of a loved one, perhaps serving a higher power? List your priorities and number them in order.
3. Examine how physical activity supports your priorities and mission.
Perhaps engaging in a regular exercise routine gives you energy and endurance to accomplish your priorities at work or at home. Maybe you feel more alive after your gym workout, and that enhances your relationship with your spouse or your children. Maybe you notice that after a full body workout you have great ideas. Like Albert Einstein who finally put together the Theory of Relativity when he was taking a bike ride, maybe you have flashes of brilliance during your walks, which helps you brainstorm solutions to problems. Recognizing all the health benefits of exercise. For example, regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, reduce the risk of mortality and the risk of recurrence from breast cancer, lower blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity in muscle cells, which helps control blood glucose, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
4. Bring in the fun factor.
Recall a time when your exercise routine was fun, when it engaged and excited you: school sports or walks by the lake with your grandmother, or perhaps hula-hooping or hopscotch when you were a girl. Think about a time when you were truly enjoying physical activity. Were you alone, with a good friend, with a group? If you cannot recall a time when movement was fun, then imagine how moving could be fun. Dancing to loud music in the middle of the afternoon? Skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding? Attending a ladies only gym with friends for a challenging whole body workout?
5. Identify what made it fun. What was engaging, invigorating, or exciting about that activity?
Think about the rewards you felt internally. Maybe the walk around the lake was calming. Perhaps you liked being on a team or felt pumped to have set the goal of doing a 5K for charity fundraising and accomplishing that fitness relationship goal. Perhaps you got a burst of energy when you were done, or maybe you simply liked the way you felt when you were moving.
6. Link the fun factor and the internal rewards to your priorities and mission.
For example, when you feel calm and relaxed after exercising, you are at your best and are more productive at work and a more patient person. Feeling refreshed and upbeat after a mid-morning full body workout can give you the energy you need to accomplish the rest of your goals (home or work) for the day. If your priority is to be a more patient person, then perhaps the internal reward of feeling connected with your friends and the natural stress relief you feel after finishing the Curves circuit or a MyCurves On Demand workout might allow you to tackle a difficult conversation that you need to have with a co-worker or wait in the lines at the grocery store with greater ease and grace. A regular workout plan is correlated with an increase in self-esteem and mood, and these internal rewards can translate to a more fulfilling day. Try to think about how your exercise routine can empower you to accomplish your priorities and fulfill your mission statement.
7. Now set some SMART goals.
You need to figure out how you are going to get those rewarding internal feelings from the exercise routine that you like, love, or enjoy. What makes sense for you now? Fitness goals with a purpose are ones that are likely to stick and to facilitate change. If the goal is to attend Curves because you want to feel stronger and improve your balance so you can keep up with your kids or grandkids, this goal is likely to be a compelling one that will help propel you into your car and to your local Curves or complete an at-home MyCurves On Demand workout. Once the goals are in place, it is important to set up opportunities for success and steps that will help you get there, because even the most motivated among us need a little nudge every now and then. Make your plan Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic, and Time-sensitive (aka SMART).
Let’s take your weekly Curves workout plan: Decide on the days and times you can realistically go. Then set yourself up for success with triggers such as getting dressed to exercise before you drop the kids off at school, or packing your workout attire and taking it with you each day so you can go straight to Curves before you go home. Prioritizing your gym workout and putting it into your calendar like an appointment helps you to follow through with your plan. If you have a phone that sets alerts, those alarm sounds can act as triggers to keep you focused on your fitness relationship goal. If you have an exercise buddy who goes to Curves with you, then a quick text letting each other know that you are on the way will also serve as added incentive. With MyCurves On Demand, fun, fast, and safe workouts are available anytime, anywhere – streamed on your favorite device.
8. Enlist a workout support system.
This could be your Curves buddies, a friend, sister, or partner. Get people you know on your team and talk with them about ways they can support you. Ask them to join you at Curves ladies only gym or after your full body workout. Or have them check in with you to see how you’re doing, how you’re feeling, what changes you’ve noticed since you started your workout plan. It’s not that you can’t do this alone, but we’re wired for connection, so you’re more likely to succeed with weight loss motivation from others. Your friends and family members can help you see how your Curves full body workouts are helping you to live out your mission statement and fulfill your fitness relationship goals.
One of the benefits of Curves is that it is set up to keep track of your gym workouts. When you check in to see you how did last month, ask yourself how you feel. Are you more energized? Are you sleeping better? Are you more focused during the day? Is your overall mood improved? How is your stress level? How are your clothes fitting? How is your body feeling when you move? Are you feeling stronger? Then take a moment to reflect on whether you are fulfilling your fitness relationship goals and your mission statement. It may help also to keep a log. For example, rank your stress level and energy level from 0 to 10 and see how those levels correspond to how active you are on a daily or weekly basis. What’s the fun level of your whole body workouts? If it’s waning, think about what you can do to raise it. Maybe you need to invite a friend or try one of the new Curves classes. Your Curves Coach can help you keep accountable to your SMART goals that you create together.
10. Go back and check on your mission statement and priorities.
Each month or each week, you can check back in with step 1 of this 10-step cycle. Is your workout plan helping you achieve your fitness relationship goals and to be the healthier, happier person you want to be? If the answer is yes, terrific. If the answer is no, then go back through the steps to remind yourself what makes physical activity fun for you and figure out how you can pump that fun back into your exercise plan.