Friday, March 25, 2011

Rise Against the Wind

Yesterday in my Daily Dose; a morning health affirmation that I send via Twitter, email, and post on my Facebook fan page; I posted the following:

A kite rises against the wind that pushes it. When you use your wellness challenges as agents for change, you can soar too! Try it today!

It occurred to me later in the day that using a challenge as a change agent is one of those things that are easier said than done.  Nice idea, Healthy Heather, but let's get real!  Well, chillax people, I'm going to explain what I meant right now. 
When I use a challenge as a catalyst for change, I first dissect it into smaller pieces that are easier for me to handle.  Then, I take each piece and find a way to either make it work for me or eliminate it. 
For example, let's say you want to want to increase your cardio, but you don't think you have the time.  I might start by asking myself some honest questions about why I am not making time for it now, such as:
1. If I had an extra hour in my day, how would I spend it? 
2. If "cardio" was not my first response, why is that?  What would I rather be doing instead?
3. What is it about cardio that is preventing me from finding the time to do it?
Ideally, the answers to these questions are going to help me get to a place of reality about why I am not making time for cardio.  They may include, "I'd spend that time running errands," or "I'd rather spend time with my family," and "treadmills and ellipticals are boring, I am too busy for that."  All valid responses, and all helpful for figuring out how to use these challenges as change agents. 
People make time for what's important.  If getting extra cardio is important to you, then you'll find a way to take these challenges and make them positive.  Here's how:
Challenge: I have errands to run during the day that prevent me from doing extra cardio.
Positive Spin: Since I am already out and about, I can put on my exercise clothes before I leave and make a scheduled group fitness class one of my stops for the day. 
Reality: Most of the errands we run each day can be consolidated or eliminated with some smart thinking, leaving time for exercise. Half the times I go to Target, I don't really need to be there.
Challenge: I'd rather spend time with my family than exercise.
Positive Spin: I can be an example to my kids and spouse by making the time to take care of my health.  We can exercise together on some days, and other days just be more active.
Reality: You'd be suprised how many calories you can burn just kicking or catching a ball at the park.  Or, buy some inexpensive phys ed cones and challenge each other at feats of speed and agility.  After 20 or 30 minutes of yukking it up, you'll have the extra cardio done.
Challenge: I have better things to do with my time than walk on a treadmill.
Positive Spin: I can get extra cardio from a wide variety of sources including group classes, cycling, boot camp, kettlebells, or a walk in the park.
Reality: Sometimes cardio can be mundane, but you'd probably be suprised to find out how much variety there is in your town for mid-day cardio.  A spinning class is definitely going to keep you awake!
The point of this exercise is to see challenges in positive ways and to inject some reality (without pity) into our excuse-making habits.  The reality is that we make time for what we really want to do.  The excuses we make are just our lazy brain's attempt at self-preservation.  Don't take your challenges at face value! Find out what they're really all about, and massage them until they are nicer to you...and I think you'll find that you feel like a kite rising against the wind, soaring above what you thought was possible.
Try it today! 

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