Getting Organized to Improve Your Health and Fitness
By Ashlee Lawson and Na’Tasha Jones
Here we are at the place where it’s officially not the “New Year” anymore. Perhaps you set out to jump on the whole “new year, new me” plan but, a few weeks in, it’s not really working out. Whether you’re not having success or you’re finding your new lifestyle hard to sustain, it’s likely that you failed to get organized first.
Health and fitness are about more than just your body--it’s your life. And, as we know, life can be A LOT. Getting organized can give you the focus and purpose to really hone in on what’s important: feeling good. Getting organized in these basic areas will help you get focused and start to see real changes in both your daily life and long-term fitness goals.
Take Stock of What Hasn’t Worked
Start your journey by reflecting on what has NOT worked, so you can focus on what WILL.
“The only thing standing in my way is me.” That can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow. We never want to dwell on the negative, of course, but what is the importance of failure if not to be a lesson? It’s important to take ownership of those personal failures so that you can be better dedicated and better disciplined as I continue to move forward.
Also, it’s important to not force yourself initially on a course you know won’t work. Do you hate spin class? (ugh!) Then it’s probably best not to start your fitness journey by signing up for an expensive class package at a local spin studio. You already know you’ll be miserable! Choose another method and, as you progress in your fitness goals, perhaps you’ll feel more comfortable jumping back on the bike later.
Organize Your Space
It’s hard to focus through the clutter of past habits when you’re working to create new ones. Organizing your space will help you really feel your commitment as a lifestyle change overall.
Organize your fridge and pantry - Get rid of the junk girl! High-calorie, high-sodium and high-fat snacks, ingredients, drinks and other indulgences have to go. That’s not to say you can never “treat yo’self”, but make that the exception in your home and other spaces, not the rule. P.S. Don’t forget that junk drawer in your desk at work!
Organize your closet - Get your gear ready! Make sure you have the proper clothing and shoes that you need to sustain fitness as a consistent activity. If you have the space available, creating a “fitness drawer” or “fitness shelf” in your closet or dresser can be a great way to remind yourself about your commitment and make it easier to grab-and-go your gear when it’s time to get out there.
Organize your gym bag - Just like your closet, your gym bag should be ready to go at all times. Ensure you have all the little things ready ahead of time--water bottle, workout gear, wipes, a hair tie or scarf for your edges--and your running or workout experience will go much more smoothly. Check out Ashlee’s “Secure the [Gym] Bag” guide for more inspiration.
Organize Your Eating
Maybe you’re wondering about nutrition as well (“but...my diet?!”). Running and strength training are only half the battle. The other half is about how you decide to fuel your body. If you’re notorious for skipping breakfast, not hydrating appropriately and snacking on any and everything (like many of us are), then this is for you. Now that you’ve organized your pantry and fridge, start planning out your meals, packing lunch and snacks for work and planning ahead to have a healthy dinner instead of some last-minute junk you grabbed because you didn’t prepare ahead of time.
A healthy meal plan is the perfect complement to your new training plan and lifestyle and will be critical to how you feel during your training. Proper fueling is key! Also, if your goal is weight loss, planning ahead will help you have healthy solutions already available to address the inevitable increase in hunger that you’ll experience from more workouts.
Organize Your Schedule
Oh, so you’re BUSY busy. We get it. Missed workouts and missed milestones are indicators of a need for better planning and more accountability. Just as you schedule work meetings and dinners with friends, scheduling time for your health is so important. Use your Google or Outlook calendar, set reminders in your phone, or physically write it down in a journal or planner so you know it’s real.
This is more than just scheduling workouts, though. Yes, you’ll want to schedule running sessions and cross-training, but also schedule your recovery days (!), meditation, and check-ins with accountability partners. Having the support of loved ones (runners or not) will go a long way. You can ask family and running friends alike to help keep you honest along the way. No more skipping strength training, no more making excuses for long runs--it’s on the schedule!
Organize Your Mind
Sometimes goal setting requires having some really tough conversations with yourself, aka “getting your mind right”. What this does is help you to put a mirror up to all of the excuses you’ve made in the past, and help create a new plan of attack that will help you be successful.
It also means creating space for reflection, meditation and prayer (if that’s your thing). Whatever your preferred practice, carving our time alone and in peace will change both your day and your life. Try just 10 minutes first thing in the morning, as a lunchtime pause or as you wind down before bed.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, the clarity that this mental reflection brings will help you see the best path towards your health goals to make serious progress.
Are you ready to get organized to make your health and fitness a priority? Share your commitment with us in the comments below!