By Rose Szalai
As the sun rises, my alarm sounds with harmonious piano and violin and while it is a delightful awakening to lift me from my sleep, I am reminded that I am due at the gym in 30 minutes to meet a friend for our morning workout! Oh, how I would love to sleep in my warm bed while the sun shines in and hits my face so warmly. Alas, my friend is counting on me to be there. And so is my aging body.
This is one of those moments, despite the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, where it is important to keep the fitness routine in motion. When stress levels are elevated, endorphins that are produced by exercise are needed to fight off depression, fatigue, and illness.
We are all too familiar with the full swing of the holiday season where daily life is stretched thin with shopping, holiday parties, and gifting. Not to mention having to work to make all of this happen financially. The reoccurring predicament of making excuses to skip my workout or save the long run for another day is perpetual due to time constraints. As I have heard time and time again, "life happens" and schedules end up inundated with meetings, appointments, vacations, weekend getaways, friendly gatherings, and holiday parties. All of the social obligations end up taking precedence over my own health and fitness goals.
Is it only me or does this happen to everyone? When does the cycle stop and when do I start making fitness a priority in my life? How do I slow down, prioritize, and find balance in my life? Saying that "I do not have time" is like telling my teacher that "the dog ate my homework".
One solution: Accountability! I have found accountability to myself and to others to be one solution for a well balanced and healthy lifestyle. What does it really mean though? For me, accountability is following through with the commitments I make to others and to myself. Without accountability there is no outcome to be achieved and no means to an end.
5 ways to hold yourself accountable in 2016!
1. Set a goal. This seems obvious but even starting off with telling myself that I am going to run 10 miles this week, go to yoga twice, and get one long hike in a new trail is all goal setting. It doesn't have to be an extreme goal. All of the small goals add up in the end!
2. Plan your week ahead of time. I schedule my workouts as if they were lunch dates, meetings, or doctor appointments. This way the time is blocked off with a less likely chance of being interrupted.
3. Pick a partner. I find that if I am supposed to meet someone for a workout then I am less likely to cancel and make an excuse not to go.
4. Switch up your workouts. Sticking with the same mundane workout can be less motivating. If I switch up my activity from yoga to running, to spinning or even rock climbing, I am more likely to stimulate my motivation and also confuse my muscles to burn more calories.
5. Don't give up. I will set up notes around the house or put reminders in my calendar of what my goals are. This helps me stay on track and feel accomplished when I get to throw the note away because I completed the task or cross the reminder off a list. And who doesn't love a good cross out!
The momentum achieved when we make fitness a priority and build everlasting relationships with our peers is a result of holding each other accountable. Start the year of right and find an accountability partner!
About Rose Szalai
As a pediatric emergency room nurse, one moment Rose may be consoling a family who lost a child in a traumatic accident and the next moment blowing bubbles with a toddler to distract them from pain. The nursing career itself is taxing on the mind and the body, but the love of the population excites her and her passion motivates her to pursue other avenues to help those in need. Beyond the walls of the emergency room, Rose often gives back by volunteering in the local community as well as across the sea on remote islands providing medical care. To stay mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically strong, Rose turns to an all-encompassing fitness routine that includes running, yoga, cross training, biking, and hiking. Join her health and fitness FaceBook community here.