I am often asked by folks how often they should workout or how often they should do Pilates? Almost always, I answer, “It depends!” While ideally we would move everyday in some form and would work on strength multiple days a week, life is not always ideal.
The other day I was talking with a busy mom of two young children. She also works full-time. She said to me, “I know I should be working out for an hour 3-5 times a week but I just can’t seem to fit it into my schedule.” She went on to tell me that she was not doing anything to workout because she can’t commit to a regular several times a week schedule. While yes – three or more days a week of dedicated strength and conditioning would do her body and mind good – Just doing something would also be good. I encouraged her to start small. What if she added in one a day a week and stuck with that for a while? Maybe in time she’d find she could do 2 times a week. Wouldn’t one day of exercise be better than no days of exercise? Wouldn’t she benefit from the calming, recharging, de-stressing of one hour for herself each week? YES!
I believe we take the same all or nothing approach with our diet. We decide on a rigid plan and some times life does not easily accommodate that plan. Trying a rigid plan like the Whole Thirty is great – but it needs to be at a time when you can succeed. It needs to be at a time when you can dedicate energy, effort and time to finding alternatives, cooking, shopping, etc. That does not mean if you can’t do the Whole Thirty you should do nothing. What if you start small and eliminate that mid-day soda or the snacks you eat in front of the TV? What if you add in a vegetable with your meals. Cut out mid-week drinking or breads with your meals. All or Nothing more times than not leads to NOTHING.
Some phases of our lives we are treading water at best. While it is great to have goals and to be disciplined and dedicated, we also have to give ourselves a chance to be successful. Small changes can lead to more changes and big changes in the long run. Something is generally better than nothing. Small victories give us confidence to do more, try more and keep going. In some respects it is the same thing as investing. We all wish we could save lots of money each month, but saving a little bit will add up and will benefit us in the long run.
Over time the small changes we make can become routine and habit, and we can continue to add to these changes in time until we’ve changed our diet, or incorporated regular exercise little by little. What small step could you take today?