Guest Post by Hayley Forster
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so says the old proverb. Granted, I’m certainly not an old dog – I’m only 26. But what if this 26 year old has spent most of her life exercising her brain and not her body?
How do you get this girl to then transform her hectic life into a life that is not only hectic, but also fit and healthy?
Well, you give her a terrifying challenge that’s what!
I was never a sporty girl. My sister Kelly was a tomboy when she was younger. My mum and dad would turn their backs and Kelly would be up a tree or teetering on some rocks looking for shells. My sister was very adventurous.
There is quite a big age gap between my sister and I. Kelly is 6.5 years older than me and I was the typical little sister – wanting to do everything like my big sis did.
I started my life (and continued it) as a bit of a nerd.
On my first day of school, I asked for homework – yes I was 5 – and I asked for homework.
Looking back I’m not sure if I was a stupid, clearly unstable child or I was just a healthy curious little girl who wanted to grow up quickly and be like her big sister who would write reports instead of playing with toys.
No matter how hard I tried, there was one thing I didn’t or couldn’t follow Kelly on – and that was her sense of adventure. I was never very good about coming out of my comfort zone.
My mum took me to a dance class when I was about 3. She didn’t even get out the door before I screamed my head off – I remember being absolutely mortified that she would take me to a room full of girls dressed as fairies and leave me there! How dare she!
Adventure was not my thing – I was a home girl.I started my life as a bit of a nerd. On my first day of school, I asked for homework – yes I… Click To Tweet
The biggest challenge I have is transforming myself from a girl who is used to getting her exercise from walking to the vending machine or dancing on a night out, to a girl who can run laps round people and have fun doing it. Tough.
I’ve become much more adventurous in the past few years, but my idea of adventure is visiting different cultures, countries and learning new things. I am not a physical adventure girl.
The reason I am not a physical girl is not because I cannot do it – it is because I’ve gotten into the habit of not being physical.
In order to complete Tough Guy, I need to turn the past 26 years around and get a new habit – a habit of wanting to get fit and being a cardio machine!
Forge a New Habit
Apparently it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Let’s hope this is true.
I understand that I have set myself a challenge and it will take time. My biggest issue is that I’m very impatient. If I don’t see results instantly, I’ll give up – why put in all the effort, if you don’t get any results?
This is the mindset I have to get out of, as it will not happen with a click of the fingers. If it were that easy I would have done it years ago!
The weekend before I started training, I over indulged a little….. Long lie ins and chocolate cheesecakes come to mind. Why not? If I was being good for the next 5 months, I was going to make the most of my ‘free weekend’!
Monday morning arrived and I was a new Hayley!
I woke up at 6.30am for a 5-mile bike ride, went to work with a spring in my step and then had a 2-mile run at lunchtime.
Now I say run, it was more of a walk 30 seconds, run 30 seconds. But this was a part of our plan. Yes, you heard right – we have a plan! We have even set ourselves goals! We are aiming to:
- Run 2 miles on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Bike ride 5 miles at least on a Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Circuit training on a Wednesday evening.
- Another form of exercise one day of the weekend.
Even after 2 weeks I have learnt some very vital things in this whole habit changing challenge:
- Set yourself goals. If you’re sure you want to do this – you need to do it properly. Add timelines to these goals.
- Decide why you want to do this. There must a reason for you to complete your challenge. I lost 50lbs in weight because I was getting married and wanted to look slim line and beautiful on the big day. I want to become fit because I would like to survive the Tough Guy challenge. Some reasons may be more serious than others – but you need a reason. It will help you stick to it. When you find it tough, just think of your reason and you will find extra strength.
- Keep yourself motivated. Whether this is by rewarding yourself when you hit one of your targets or telling your friends, family or blog readers about your progress.
- Stay clear of negative people. Whatever your challenge is, you’re doing it for a reason. The people around you should respect this. Even the slightest negative comment can knock you from your track. Surround yourself with people who celebrate your accomplishments and show an interest.
Starting off with a bang!
You can always start off with a bang, but maintaining the enthusiasm is the biggest challenge. I will not lie. I am in pain. I am tired. I am doubting myself. This would not be called Tough Guy Challenge if it were easy and I see some tough times ahead.
I am 14 days into my habit. I will be honest and say I am struggling. Both the physical and mental aspects are tough, but I’m showing improvements already.
Keeping to the four points I mentioned above and most importantly having fun with it, will keep me going.
This is more a mental challenge than a physical challenge for me and anyone that knows me and my physical abilities will find that hard to believe – but it’s true.
Just remember this:
Habits are an essential part of our life, without them we would fail in most things we try to accomplish. They help us to reach specific goals, stay focused along the way and keep on pushing when the going gets tough.
If I do complete this and I manage to create a new habit for myself – I would like to make it official and I will say it here first. I am changing the proverb. It is no longer ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. It will be ‘you can teach an old dog new tricks. It will be bloody exhausting, but you will get there eventually’
For more information about the Tough Guy Challenge, see Hayley’s Report for Week One and for Week Three: Tough Guy Challenge Week 3 Dr. Stoppage – Knee Problems
And while we’re on the subject, what about the rest of you?
What challenge will you take on over these next 5 months?
The American Heart Association is encouraging everyone to change our eating habits and get more exercise to support a healthy heart.