Are you overwhelmed with everything going on in your life? Can you make it through the day without multiple cups of coffee or a nap? (I am absolutely guilty of needing these things way more often than I'd like to admit). I mean, you've got work demands, family duties, social obligations, personal development, your own health, and if you're a busy woman like me, you've got a million other daily tasks to perform. How do we find the time to do it all without draining ourselves anymore? How do we avoid this overwhelm?
As many of you know, this past year, I've taken upon myself to start a morning routine, where I listen to something inspiring or educational before I begin my day. It began as a challenge in my 42 Days to Fit & Feeling Good course. Some days my morning routine includes listening to a podcast, sometimes it's a meditation or a webinar, or a youtube video. This week, my morning routine has consisted of listening to the Business Bootcamp Telesumit that my friend and fitness business colleague, the amazing Angela Hubbs developed.
In one session Angela interviews soulful business strategist, Lee Murphy Wolf, and they discuss this topic: Start with ONE. It reminded me that we need to SIMPLIFY. It reminded me of how real of a problem "overwhelm" is for many of us, and that the last thing I want to do is create more overwhelm in myself and in my world. I immediately thought about my Trainer In Your Back Pocket program (TBP). In the TBP program, we have A LOT of moving parts. We have the monthly fitness plans, the weekly workout videos, the monthly nutrition and wellness challenges, running clinics, and so much more. It's A LOT, and, for the newbie in the program, it can absolutely seem overwhelming, and that's the last thing I want a new TBPer to feel! Listening to Lee and Angela speak about simplifying, reminded me that I need to do a better job at explaining to my clients that we don't have to do it all. And, relating back to the TBP program, while I give you all the tools that you could possibly need to enhance your overall health, we all need to do a better job at simplifying. We all need to START WITH ONE.
So, what does "start with one" mean for improving your health? It means, let's narrow down our goals to the top one. If we start with just one thing, it can't be overwhelming, right? For those of you who are trying to increase your fitness, and at the same time completely change your diet, and maybe also read some personal development books to improve your mindset, you may quickly fall into the overwhelm category. When that happens (it's happened to me many times), you just want to throw in the towel and give up, right? And in many cases, we do just that. We give up and say that we've failed because we couldn't do it all. And rinse and repeat the cycle of trying to do it all, burning out, and getting even more frustrated with ourselves.
What if I told you to just conquer one thing at a time? Start with the ONE thing that you intuitively feel will help you the most. Maybe, choose that thing you've been struggling with the most. If it's meal prepping, start there. If it's exercising more, start there. If it's taking timeouts to read a personal development book, take time out to start there. Just pick one. Then build.
For me, when I'm not in the flow of life, when I'm tired and not inspired, or when I just don't have "it," I find that the fastest way to get my energy flowing, my brain working better, and my inspiration back, is to do a quick 20-30 minute workout. It doesn't have to be much, and I advise that it's not a super long workout, as that has potential to drain you even more. So, if you don't know where to start, I would say, start there! Add a 20-30 minute workout a few days a week, and actually, the science shows that it changes your brain chemistry for the better. According to the science, exercise seems to be the fastest, easiest action step to take to have the greatest impact, immediately, on your health and physiology.
Of course, if you're already a regular exerciser, it's time for you to start adding a different tool, based on the next challenge you'd like to conquer. Start with the next ONE. Exercise was my ONE for about 10 years. For 10+ years, I focused on exercise. I taught aerobics, studied exercise science, ran and coached marathon runners, was a personal trainer, and exercise was just a part of my daily routine, no matter what. It literally took me 10 years before adding in the next ONE, which was nutrition. Since exercise was just an automatic for me, adding in nutrition changes didn't cause any overwhelm. Then just 2 years ago, my main problem was meal prepping, so, what did I do? I added in prepping and planning my meals each week! Now, I wasn't overwhelmed about exercise, what foods to eat, AND I was beginning to add in more efficiency from meal prepping. See how this works, guys? There is no timeline. There is no rulebook that says you need to do everything every day. Let your health grow and improve organically, starting with ONE thing at a time. You don't have to do it all- today!
So, who's with me to exit the overwhelm cycle and simplify? Who's with me to "start with one?" What ONE thing can you start doing today, this week, or this month that is your greatest challenge? Leave me a note in the comments and let's have a conversation about your ONE!
For those of you who knew my dad, Dave Solomon, he was famous for his "I Was Thinking" newspaper columns in the New Haven Register's Sports Section. So, today, I was inspired to write my own "I was thinking" blog!
I went out on my SUP (stand up paddleboard) to get some fresh air this afternoon (which I crave if I don't get it often enough!) While I was out paddling, I realized that many of you are probably like me. You MUCH prefer exercising outdoors than indoors. You may be thinking "but she's a personal trainer and teaches people how to exercise INDOORS for a living," and you'd be correct. I do. And ironically, that's the basis of my Trainer In Your Back Pocket program. But let me share with you my thoughts on this topic, which all boil down to one thing.
You can't enjoy the outdoors if you aren't fit enough, strong enough, or healthy enough to do the things you enjoy. Exercising outdoors is made possible through the hard work, time and effort you put in by exercising indoors. I want to continue being able to do activities like hiking and paddling for the rest of my life. So, for me, it's a top priority to make sure I get my total body strength training workouts done either at home or at the gym (or by taking my strength workouts and dumbbells outdoors to the local park!) Doing my regular strength training workouts is my way of continuing to stay strong enough to enjoy my more preferred activities!
So, get outside (if that's what you love to do), but appreciate all of the indoor time that has helped you get there!
Love you all!
Abby Malmstrom M.S., a.k.a. The Trainer In Your Back Pocket, is an exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, wellness coach, and "real food" nutritionist. Her life as an active duty military spouse takes her all over the world, allowing her to influence, teach, and connect with folks in communities she never even dreamed of reaching. Life's an adventure, so join Abby for the ride! It's time to "Eat Well, Move Well, Think Well, Be Well."