I can’t make it to the gym today because I need to pick up my kids from school. That pizza smells so good, let’s have it for dinner instead. It’s too cold [or insert any other unpleasant South Dakota weather here] to walk outside today.
These are just a few examples of common distractions I hear from people that keep them from reaching their health & fitness goals. I love listening to people talk about their goals but few people understand how to create new habits and routines to reach those goals. Changing your behavior is not an easy process and distractions are usually the roadblocks.
But first, let’s talk about the difference between breaks and distractions. Breaks are planned interruptions of tasks that help with your productivity and to maintain focus. A disruption is unplanned and can derail your best efforts to stay on task.
Whether you’re scrolling on your phone at the gym in the middle of your workout or buying fast food when you have ingredients to create a healthy meal in the fridge, use these five strategies to limit distractions from being a healthier you.
- Create a Distraction Free Environment
Productivity thrives in an environment with no distractions. One way to do this at the gym during a workout is to turn off your phone notifications or put your phone in airplane mode.
Similarly, put daily time limits on your most distracting apps on your phone to be aware of the time you’ve spent in your day. If you think of your time as currency, this is a great way to understand that you’ve spent 30 minutes on Instagram or $30 from your $1,440 balance in your daily bank account.
Additionally, you can put in headphones and listen to music to focus on your task. We all love our gym community but you can limit conversations with friends by explaining that you’re focusing and you’ll follow-up with them later. These are just a few ways to limit the distractions in your space.
- Plan and Get Organized
One of the best ways to manage your distractions is to make a plan and do your best to stick to it. Create a to-do list of all of the things you want to accomplish. I find success in creating lists or plans first thing in the morning or the night before. There is nothing more motivating to push through distractions than crossing off items from your to-do list.
Create new habits by consistently doing the same thing over and over again until it becomes a part of your daily routine. Establish a schedule and dedicate time in your day for this new habit, like blocking off time in your calendar. Making a plan and organize time for your goals helps limit unplanned distractions.
- Manage Distractions
Not all distractions are created equally and some are unavoidable. One strategy is to make a list of the distractions in your day and think about how to minimize their impact. If you need to attend an event at your kids’ school, then plan on rescheduling the workout that was already on your calendar at that time.
Another strategy is to plan your distractions so they become tasks. You can add these to your to-do list or your calendar. For example, if you like scrolling through Pinterest to find new healthy recipes, you should carve out time during the day to complete this so it doesn’t distract you during another task later.
- Set Priorities
If you’re a goalsetter like me, then you probably have too many things on your list and find it hard to focus on one goal. No one can do it all, so prioritize the things that are most important to you. One strategy is to set 3 main objectives everyday, like eating breakfast, drinking 64 ounces of water and using the stairs instead of the elevator.
Avoid all or nothing thinking and remember that small accomplishments build up over time to help reach your objectives.
- Find Accountability
Lastly, use accountability partners and methods to manage distractions. An accountability partner is someone who can keep you on task during your workout. This can be anyone with your best interest in mind like a friend or a personal trainer. People in our community often motivate us to focus and accomplish our goals.
Another strategy is to write your goals on a piece of paper and stick it to the fridge or your bathroom mirror. This is not only visible to your family but also to yourself everyday. When you or your family witness what you said you’re going to do, they can help keep you accountable to your goals.
If you’d like to learn more on managing distractions to reach your fitness goals, contact me or other Evolve Fitness trainers for a customized workout program.
Sophie Podhaisky, Certified Personal Trainer
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