Instead of giving up when you get off track with your goals, here's how to maintain a positive attitude.
I try to start my week off with a Monday morning Zumba class, part of an ongoing effort to achieve my New Year’s Resolution goal of attending three exercise classes each week. Last Monday, I was ready to roll when a work call sidelined me. As I hung up, I felt the rest of the day’s schedule closing in. Maybe a workout just wasn’t in the cards for today, I thought.
I realized, though, that I could still get to the gym and do a quick 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. On my way into the locker room afterwards, I ran into my Zumba teacher. “I missed you in class today,” she said, “but I’m so glad to see you came to the gym anyway!” Her simple, encouraging comment reinforced something I’ve been realizing as I walk my positive path—when in doubt, do something; do anything.
The preacher Robert Schuller once said, “Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing perfectly.” I could have rattled off a dozen reasons to skip the gym that day, errands to get done, an in-box full of emails to return, and more. There was also this self-sabotaging thought—if I wasn’t going to accomplish my real fitness goal of a class, why bother going at all?
But an imperfect workout, it turned out, was just the energizing inertia-buster my day needed. When I checked in later with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Physical Activity Guidelines, I realized my imperfect gym visit was also a solidly healthy choice—it doesn’t take much to give adult bodies the physical activity we need.
The guidelines recommend 150 minutes each week of moderate physical activity for adults, which amounts to five 30-minute workouts. These could include brisk walking, bicycling, swimming, gardening, or tennis. The authors offer this motivation: “Some physical activity is better than none—and any amount has health benefits.” These health benefits are significant; they include prevention of a number of chronic diseases, from type 2 diabetes to depression to osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain cancers.
So the next time I feel myself being tugged away from a healthy, positive plan, I will ask myself, “what would this day look like if I did something—anything?” Because it turns out that the only wrong choice is to do nothing at all.