My Rules for Becoming a Healthier Perfectionist
I Had to Change My Fitness Goals
At the beginning of this year, I attempted to complete yet another Blogilates Pilates fitness challenge. Up until this point, I had started too many challenges to remember, and completed none.
This go-around, I told myself, would be different.
I would not quit after three or seven days; I would finish. I would complete the 21-day Tone Challenge.
Before starting the challenge, I knew I needed to figure out why I had failed in the past.
After much self-reflection, I came to the following two conclusions.
Conclusion #1: the workouts were a lot harder than I was mentally prepared for.
A lot of these challenges are framed as being, "just seven minutes", "just 21 days", "just this", "just that".
Now, this is great for getting potential participants in the door. It's a whole lot easier to believe you can complete a 7-minute mat workout, than a 30-minute run. Every time I started one of these challenges, I conveniently forgot that Pilates minutes are not the same as normal minutes, Netflix minutes, or even Zoom minutes. Pilates minutes are long, and they hurt.
The Day One workouts had no problem reminding me of this fact.
I would struggle through the first workout while Cassey Ho, founder of Blogilates, smiled, talked about watermelons or ramen, and made the exercises look easy. I appreciated the distraction her peppiness offered, but also couldn't help but wonder, "Why isn't this easy for me?"
When my expectations didn't meet my reality, I would lose motivation and quit.
Conclusion #2: I didn't have enough motivation or the right motivation to get me through.
Even though I knew that these challenges would be difficult, I never let myself accept them as difficult. "Just" isn't supposed to be difficult.
I found myself either really frustrated with where I was physically, or I would overexert myself to live up to my expectations. My motivation was centered around what I felt I was lacking, not strengthening who I already was. A week in, I didn't have the physical, emotional, or mental energy to continue. So, I would quit.
Going into this challenge, I needed a different mindset, and so I made my own rules.
Rule #1: I wouldn't exercise for seven consecutive days.
The way the official calendar is set up, you have six days on and the seventh day is reserved for a stretching routine.
When I hit around Day 6, had a headache, and felt gross, I let myself take the day off. After my rest day, I went ahead and did the Day 6 workout. There were times when I was a week behind, but I was slowly working my through the calendar. I wasn't quitting.
The challenge officially ended on the 25th of January, but I still have about 3 days left to complete. And even though it's May, I'm okay with that. I needed a break from Blogilates, and I will eventually finish the challenge.
Rule #2: I would take longer than 15-second breaks in between moves.
Most of the videos in this challenge have three rounds of seven moves that are 45-seconds on and 15-seconds off. There were times I took a full minute break, or skipped certain moves that were too difficult for me. There was even one day I sat out for an entire round. Instead of doing three rounds of the workout, I only did two.
This helped reduce my chances of overexertion.
Rule #3: I would embrace the modified/beginner versions of the moves.
There is no shame in modification. Sometimes, I would do an even more modified version than the modified version. This gave me the grace I needed to get through the workouts without giving up.
Rule #4: I would give myself props for showing up.
If I attempted the workout for that day, it was a win, and I gave myself a little check mark on the calendar. Through this, I learned how to be happy and proud of myself, even when I wasn't perfect.
Rule #5: I would show up with the energy I had for that day, without comparing my performance to what it had been in days past.
Again, I wanted to make sure that I was developing a sustainable habit, and not burning myself out.
Overall, I'm really proud of what I was able to accomplish during the duration of the challenge. I didn't take before and after measurements or pictures, but I showed up.
I showed up, and therefore, completed the hardest part of any of these challenges.
Thank you so much reading. If you would like to hear more of my thoughts on Blogilates' 21-Day Tone Challenge, feel free to watch the video below.
- Carmel Kundai