I have done several “fitness challenges” on my own and it is SO EASY to have a “challenge” mindset. A challenge mindset is when you think your fitness improvement has a start date (start of the challenge) and end date (end of the challenge).
It’s important to remember that you aren’t just doing it for the challenge. The challenge is there to motivate you, help you fall in love with health, hold you accountable, and just for fun! But when you start having a “challenge to challenge” mentality, it’s hard to see the big picture that health and fitness should fit into your daily life.
I’ve come up with 6 ways to go beyond a challenge:
1. Revisit your goals
Look back on goals you had set at the beginning of the challenge. Did you meet them? If not, make adjustments and add in or change some habits so you can get closer to achieving them.
2. Keep working out.
Personally, if I take more than 2 days in a row off, it’s so much harder to get motivated to work out that 4th day. When the challenge is over, rest for a day or two then get back to work. Maybe you just want to walk every day until you start the next challenge. Maybe you want to venture into some yoga or pilates. Keep working out!
3. Allow yourself treats.
I really hate when I hear people say they “can’t have” something because they’re doing a challenge. Challenges should be challenging, but this is life. There are treats everywhere. If you want them badly, and tell yourself you can’t have them, you’re going to want them worse. Have a treat, then move on! Don’t abuse this by having several treats every day – that won’t get you closer to your goals! But having 1 cookie on Monday and 1 on Thursday will not derail all of your progress. (Just like 1 workout a week will not grow your muscles.)
4. Try new, healthy foods
One of the biggest complaints I hear about “getting healthy” is that “salads are boring”. Well, don’t eat salads all the time. Or, don’t eat boring salads!! We don’t know what we don’t know. Try new foods! You might find something you didn’t know you’d like. For me, that was hummus, chicken apple sausages, and several kinds of baked vegetables.
5. Find something that excites you.
The thing about a challenge is that it’s exciting! You look forward to starting, other people are hyped about it, you are trying new moves, etc. It’s human nature to love to look forward to things, and we love new things. I know this isn’t fitness related, but this always helps me stay on track (I am a Type 7 enneagram though! 😛 ). Find a “project” or something new to start right away to keep your attention so you aren’t going back to old habits waiting for another exciting challenge to come.
6. Check in with an accountability buddy.
A huge part of a challenge is having the accountability of the other women doing the challenge. Maintain a relationship you made with someone from the challenge and keep checking in! If you live in the same town, meet up for a walk or workout. If you are online buddies, tag each other in photos, send a “wake up it’s time to workout!” message, or go back and repeat the challenge together!