Follow these tips to keep working towards your fitness goals despite what life throws at you. Let’s be real, some weeks the schedule is clear, healthy meals sound delicious, and you’ve already carved out time for workouts. Easy-peasy, moving full-steam ahead towards those badass babe goals you have.
But other weeks?
Not so much.
You have to work late, your kid has soccer games after school, you’re behind on errands, you have visitors coming to town, your big project is due– there’s something (or 100 things) that’s interfering with your beautifully organized plan and derailing that motivation you found.
What do you do then?
Instead of beating yourself up over being on the struggle bus due to outside circumstances, or blowing off all your habits because you can’t do them as you’d like, it’s best to adopt a do-what-I-can attitude.
Some weeks are for dominating, others for damage control.
Let’s talk this through. Here are the steps you need to adjust your fitness goals when life gets busy:
First, Set Overall Goals and Weekly Habits
You need both. Trust me on this.
Set Overall Health and Fitness Goals
My guess is my Type A sisters have this one down. If your goals have gotten away from you or they aren’t specific, take a few minutes to make them precise and actionable. If you want to lose 10 pounds, explain by when and how you plan on doing that.
Overall goals give you a destination, but your daily habits and weekly schedules are the roadmap to getting there.
Set Specific How-to Goals for Each Week
This is where you get real with the “how” of your overall goals. Yes, you want to lose 15 pounds by your vacation this Spring. And you decided you’d achieve that by eating healthier and exercising 3x/week. But you’ll need a little more direction to get you there…
This is where we get into the nitty-gritty of making that happen.
Questions to Ask Yourself as You Set Specific Habits for Your Goals
Every Sunday or Monday I sit down (with myself and my clients) and plan out the week. Here are some things we decide:
- Which days and times will I workout?
- What types of workouts and how long will they be?
- What meals will I eat?
- Do I need to buy or make snacks?
- What foods should I prep?
- When should I have my groceries in hand to make sure I’m successful?
- Any extras depending on goals/struggles, like:
- Will I log my calories?
- Do I need to count my macros or keep track of grams or protein?
- Do I need to limit desserts, late night eating, number of alcoholic drinks, etc?
- [Fill in the blank] with what you may struggle with or need to reign in
Focus on Building Habits and Keeping things Doable!
Decide what’s needed, what’s doable, and what’s too much and go from there.
If you see something on this list that you should have a plan for but seems overwhelming, understand that you’ll have to deal with it either now in planning or later, when the situation arises.
For my own goals, I hate planning for and buying snacks. But I like (and need) to eat them. If I don’t take the extra time and money to plan out healthy snacks, I will go out to eat or grab something unhealthy. However, planning for my macros is too time consuming and hurts my brain. Decide what’s necessary for your goals and what’s not worth the stress right now.
Doable is good, so you can stick with them consistently and not set yourself up for failure. Start small and build on a solid foundation.
Know Yourself, and Plan for the Side of You that Wants to Sabotage All Your Goals
She’s there. Tame her.
Even if you’re a perfectionist, there’s probably a side of you that craves fried chicken more than success. Set up boundaries for your splurges, accountability for your laziness, and plan for those things that are getting in the way of your victory.
Next, Adjust Each Week’s Goals to What Life is Throwing at You
Is this a dominating week or a damage control week- or- somewhere in between?
Decide What You Can Do This Week
Look at your schedule. Decide what’s doable, push yourself, and make a PLAN.
Write it out, tell someone, get an accountability partner, set alarms in your phone- whatever you need to make it happen.
If it’s a dominating week, then crush your goals, for we all know a damage control week always looms on the horizon.
Tips for a Dominating Week
- meal plan and/or meal prep
- workout hard, often
- lift heavy 2-x/week
- skip dessert, or set limits
- control your carbs according to your activity level
- no late night eating
- focus on macros, depending on your level of nutrition experience
- log calories or use another method for portion control
- 2-3 cardio sessions
- What’s your favorite tool to ensure a dominating week?
Tips for a Damage Control Week
You want to push yourself, but still be realistic! Even if you’re inching closer to your goals, that’s still progress. And sometimes we celebrate that we didn’t go backwards!
- Choose shorter, more intense workouts
- Plan easy meals with 3-5 ingredients, crockpot or instant pot meals, order a meal delivery service, or even plan out some healthy grab-and-go or fast food/restaurant options
- prep what you can in advance- this sounds like a good job for the hubs or the kiddos!
- order your groceries online or for delivery
- Freeze some protein shakes for breakfast or post-workout
- Eat slowly and stop before full
- Focus on portion control and controlled carbs if not working out as much
- Set your workout clothes out (or sleep in them!) and pack your bag if needed
- Contact your accountability partner!
- Write workouts, meals, whatever in your calendar and create alarms
Lastly, it’s not a bad idea to keep track of what you want to do and how often you do it. I write all my goals and days of the week on a chart because I love a good checkmark system. Set a goal percentage, like 85-90% success rate and if you hit your goals, treat yo self after your busy week!
When Damage Control Fails
Don’t be hard on yourself when things get out of your control. If you find yourself in the drive-through after a long week, high five yourself that you survived or maybe that you skipped that milkshake. And if you indulged? Enjoy every damn calorie. One bad meal or crazy week won’t derail your goals.
Life’s too short to bring in all that negative energy from a missed workout or too many carbs at dinner.
Sometimes it’s two steps forward one step back. But isn’t that better than never trying? Your body benefits from every non-fried veggie you put in it, every weight lifted, and every step taken.
All you can do is your best with the week you’ve been given.
Accept that life isn’t perfect and your performance won’t always be up to your standards.
Understand that looking and feeling your best takes work- and you are 100% worth every drop of sweat and every veggie sliced. Keep your eye on the prize- that new, healthy, confident you.
Throw aside your all-or-nothing mindset and start celebrating every single victory. Breathe in life and grace. Exhale perfectionism and negativity. And speaking of grace:
Give yourself ALL the grace. Be proud of yourself that you’re
- kind to yourself
- taking care of yourself the best you can
Even if you had half the cake at your friend’s bday party on Saturday (happens to the best of us).
Even when you shut your alarm off and missed your workout for the 2nd time this week.
And when you had to work late and ended up with a glass of wine and your feet up when you got home instead of your BCAA’s and a workout. Oops.
We rely so much on motivation when it’s fleeting and hard to predict. I encourage you to plan for your success and adjust to what life throws at you. Develop rhythms and routines that promote health and energy and confidence. Run with motivation when it’s near, but cultivate a lifestyle of health and grace to help you through all the ups and downs of life.
You’re Not Alone
If you need a coach to help you be realistic and kind to yourself when life is crazy, I’ve got your back. If you need someone to help get your butt off the couch and to cook a vegetable every now and again, I’m here for you, too. Shoot me a message and let’s chat! I’ve got nutrition and workouts ready for you. Consistency doesn’t have to be a luxury.
Grace and failure are always a part of the journey. Embrace them, be kind to yourself, and do better your next meal, the next 5 minutes, or even just tomorrow.