31 days of physical activity

Health and physical fitness are top priorities for me, especially as a three-time cancer survivor. I’m participating in a workshop that encourages different monthly goals throughout the year. March’s goal was creating a positive habit. So I decided to focus on 31 days of physical activity. My goal was a minimum of 15-minutes of physical activity every day in March. And I did it!

31 days of physical activity reminded me of my body’s strength

I love being active and enjoy a variety of activities. I gave myself some flexibility in what I did for physical activity. When I set the goal, I forgot that I was having my ovaries/tubes removal surgery as part of post-breast cancer treatment. But I decided to keep with it.

And I did! I was able to enjoy 31 days of physical activity. It felt great! Even on surgery day, I slowly walked around my house and up/down the driveway with my mom. Maybe it was only 15-18 minutes but I was active and it counted!

In the end, it admittedly wasn’t the easiest goal. With physical restrictions post-surgery and then physical therapy for an issue with my leg that has titanium in place of my femur/knee (from bone cancer treatment), some days were tough to get motivated. But I stayed focused on what I could accomplish rather than what I could not.

An unexpected positive outcome

I created a tracker that let me list the activity I did and also list a positive statement about my body. I decided that we so often focus on the negative or things we don’t like about our body, especially women. Don’t get me wrong, I love my body. After three cancers, I am grateful and in awe of how amazing these vessels can be in surviving and recovering from a lot of stuff. And too many people take their bodies for granted. I am definitely not one of those people.

However, I too get sucked into focusing sometimes on what I can’t do, or areas of my body that I want to change/don’t love. I wanted to use this goal to change my own mindset.

So an unexpected outcome of this activity – I developed a newfound admiration of my body. That may sound funny but as I listed all of my activities and a positive statement about my body each day, I recognized the strength and amazing resilience of my body. I’ve cleared three cancers! This body has undergone surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, medications and so much else. And here I am. So, yes, I get sad and frustrated with the injuries and aches that sometimes sideline me. Yes, I get frustrated with the struggle to lose a few more pounds. I sometimes am annoyed that I can’t do some activities that friends seem to easily participate in.

But, ohmygoodness, to overcome cancers and a surgery that made me learn to walk again on my leg, and so much more. To be able to bike across Iowa for charity, rock climb, hike Alaska and Montana, wander Ireland, dance in Zumba and so much more after all the physical, mental and emotional challenges I’ve faced? Yes, this goal reminded me to embrace the amazing.

Here are some tips to help you set and keep your goals

Make it enjoyable.

I like to be physically active as much as I can. I chose activities that I enjoy. Biking, hiking, walking and Zumba are some of my favorite activities so it was a no-brainer those would be included in the mix. Doing something that I like kept me motivated and looking forward to doing it.

Set a realistic goal.

For me, a minimum of 15-minutes a day was doable. And I gave myself flexibility on the physical activity. I just wanted to move. Knowing that being physically active can sometimes be tough on my body (especially after a surgery that restricted abdominal exercises), I chose a variety of activities, such as walking, biking, Zumba, yoga/stretching. Mixing up activities also kept me easily motivated because the flexibility let me choose what worked with my daily schedule.

Block time to work on your goal.

Whether you have a daily goal like I did, or spread to only a few times a week, setting aside dedicated time to work on your goal really helps. Knowing I needed at least 15 minutes to focus on a physical activity helped me add it into my day. And thankfully enjoyed the activity so much that most day I was active much longer than 15 minutes!

Don’t beat yourself up if you skip a day or need to start over.

Life can sometimes get in the way of our plans. Maybe you’re tired, distracted, needed somewhere else. That’s okay. Putting too much pressure on yourself can lead to quitting. If something prevents you from working on a goal for a day, that’s okay. Start again as soon as you can. Or maybe you decide the goal isn’t working for you. Change your focus or set an entirely new goal!

Track your progress.

I created a tracker as part of the workshop I’m participating in and decided I like the act of writing my success. It made me feel accomplished! I also tracked what activity I did and listed a positive statement about my body. It was nice to read through those statements and develop a better appreciation for my body image.

How do you stay motivated?

I really enjoyed my 31 days of physical activity. Now I’m thinking of another fun goal to set….and achieve!

How do you stay motivated with your goals? Have you recently accomplished a goal? If so, share in the comments!

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