Goals, Excuses & Stickers

Confession time: trainers don’t always want to train. While I most of the time I legitimately love a good workout, sometimes I just don’t feel like it. Maybe I haven’t slept well or eaten enough or maybe I’m just feeling lazy, or the opposite – like I have a million other things I should do.


I had a few workouts like that last week … (sidebar: I’ve set a couple of goal events for this spring and summer and so while the days are still short the lakes frozen, the triathlon training plan has officially launched). The last thing I wanted to do was get in the pool. I hate swimming. (Weird, I know, given that I am the mother of 2 competitive swimmers and spend literally hundreds of hours a year on the pool deck.)  I’m not especially good at it (read: totally inefficient) and it is by far my least favourite of the triathlon disciplines. And when it’s as cold as it has been this winter it’s pretty much a guarantee that my hair is going to freeze when I’m done and I’ll probably be shivering for an entire 24 hours.


Let me share a little cold hard truth:


Feeling has nothing to do with it.

I don’t feel like it is not a good excuse.


So I swam. Why? Because I committed to do it. Committed to who? To me.


In order to get and stay committed I need a goal. Something on the calendar that I’m working towards. Seriously. Like physically written on an old-fashioned paper calendar. For me this works better than e-planning, because unlike an app that I can swipe up and ignore, a thing on the wall in the mudroom that I stare at every day is powerful.


But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m not suggesting that you should all rush to sign up for a try-a-tri (but if you want to, I think that’s awesome!? Let’s talk training plans J) Remember what we talked about last time in the blog? You do you. All the time. With the days getting longer (and marginally warmer), maybe your goal is to complete an organized event of some sort (cue shameless plug for Infinite’s Obstacle Training starting in April … you know you want to!). But maybe it’s to complete 3 workouts this week. Maybe it’s to make it to curb the afternoon sugar craving with a healthier, more nutrient-dense alternative. Whatever your goal for this week is, write it down, and stick it somewhere you can see it. I’m a bit of a data-dork, so I keep a training journal, but maybe all you need is a sticker on the wall for every step you take on the way to the goal. Do not underestimate the power of a sticker: what’s good for a five-year old is good for you too. Stickers (or whatever your tracking method of choice) show you that you can do it, you are doing it, and that you have done it. So the next time Doubt come knocking, you can shut the front door. Hard and fast.



A page out of the nerdy training journal.


Let’s talk about the rules of completion.


1. Don’t let the planned task overwhelm you. I’m wagering a guess that you’re familiar with SMART goals. R is for realistic. If you’ve never run a step in your life, setting a goal to run the Boston Marathon is not the place to start. But completing a 5km might be. If you work 12-hour days and struggle to get to the gym twice a week, don’t commit to 6 workouts/week right now. Try for three, but get them done. Because you promised yourself you would.


2. The hardest part is getting to the start. I cannot tell you the number of times I have almost talked myself out of a workout. The temptation is real and I have given in. But I haven’t ever felt great about it. I can absolutely guarantee that I have never ever EVER regretted making the effort to at least start. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes to convince myself and others I’m grumpy for the entire sweatfest, but I have always, 100% of the time been glad I did up those shoes (or, sigh, yes … even jumped in the pool). Don’t let excuses you tell yourself get in the way of accomplishing what you promised yourself you’d do.


3. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Consistency beats out perfection. Every. Single. Time. Again experience speaks here: I used to think that if I didn’t have a whole hour to work out, it wasn’t worth my time. But guess what? A 20-minute workout is better than nothing. Heck, it was an actual THING in the 80s.



(For real … I might have done one or two or a dozen of these in my living room as a teenager …)


Pop-culture trends with questionable fashion choices aside, real research says that exercise in blocks as short as 10 minutes is beneficial. And who can’t find 10 minutes? (Hint: What if you replaced Social Media time with Workout time for a week?)


Executive summary? Set a goal. Shut down the excuses. Get stickers.


Keep on being fierce, friends.


Shawna Hiley B.Sc., Ph.D., CSEP-CPT

Shawna is a Personal Trainer and fitilates Instructor at Infinite Fitness.

 Ready to book a complimentary consultation with a Infinite Fitness certified Personal Trainer? Call us at 780-435-7111 or drop us a line at info@infinitefit.ca to get started.

Resolutions 2.0

February. The shortest-looking, longest-feeling month of the year. The month after the New Year’s Resolutions. Chances are that you made a resolution way back in January. Chances are equally good that said resolution got discarded with the needle-dropping Christmas tree. The problem is that with all the “New Year New You” hype, we shoot for the stars, lost in a dreamy galaxy that in no way resembles Real Life, and we commit to change everything all at once. Then Life happens, and we get kicked in the backside by Reality.


Let’s say that in resolution 1.0 (January) we decided to work out 6 days a week, eliminate sugar, gluten and dairy from our diet. It was an all or nothing mentality. Day 1 may have been a little foggy as the body begged for sugar and we righteously refused, but we were determined. New Year, New Us. A few days later we were feeling like a million bucks. Week one complete, we’d hit all our workouts and emptied the fridge of the sugar-free rainbow of organic produce and lean proteins that we had stocked up on. Bring. It. On.


Fast forward a day/week/month … our boss asks for a few extra hours at work that interferes with the plan to get a lunchtime workout in, so we skip it. We’re also late to pick-up the kids so we hit the drive-thru in the rush to get Thing 1 to hockey and Thing 2 to dance. Finally the extracurriculars end, lunches are made and the Things are in bed. But we still have a deadline to meet, so we stay up late and give in to the call from late night Munchie Monster. We go to bed feeling crappy. The dog is sick and wakes us up to go out 4 times during the already very short night, so we wake up late, miss our morning workout and trade breakfast for an extra shot of espresso. We’ve already missed 2 workouts so we decide to take the rest of the week off, to recover from the Chaos. And since we’re not working out we might as well not bother with the healthy eating thing. And what afternoon isn’t made better by a pumpkin spice latte? And might as well add the whipped cream. And a cookie.


Okay, maybe my example here is a little extreme, but I’m willing to bet you have had your share of Real Life kicking you in the pants. You can pick any drama you like for this story … the bottom line is that the wheels can fall off with very little warning when we aim for perfection all of the time.


So what’s the alternative? We could forget it altogether, assuming that we’re doomed to fail. But that’s not going to help us feel fabulous or fierce, so it’s not really an option.


Enter Resolution 2.0. The February version. The one that has to pass the Reality test.


In order to be sustainable, changes have to be manageable. Remember that your manageable won’t necessarily look like anyone else’s.  Maybe you can commit to a full nutritional overhaul and you’re ready to track every morsel you put in your mouth. If so, great! (We love food logs!) But maybe you need to start with something a little less ambitious … veggies at every meal, no sweets during the week, less coffee and more water … you get the idea. To succeed, you need to do you, every step of the way.


As for activity, you need to move your body. That’s not negotiable. But just like with nutrition, your training plan is your training plan and not anyone else’s. It needs to challenge you but not break you.  You need an escape hatch built in; a chance for a re-do if you miss a workout, because let me assure you, Real Life will happen. Maybe you can commit to being in the gym 5 days a week. Maybe you’ll be lucky to get there once or twice, but you can take the stairs at work, have your FitBit remind you to get up from your desk more often and squeeze in 20 minutes of activity outside of the gym on another day or two each week. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s got to be doable, most of the time.




If you need a hand with Resolution 2.0, we’d love to see you in the studio. New clients can book a free consultation with a Personal Trainer during which you’ll work on goal setting that is both challenging and realistic – for you.


My advice in a nutshell?

Be ambitious but realistic. Fierce but smart. Tough but forgiving.

We’re here to help.


Shawna Hiley B.Sc., Ph.D., CSEP-CPT

Shawna is a Personal Trainer and fitilates Instructor at Infinite Fitness