Last week marked the much-anticipated (by me at least ) launch of my new book, Ultimate Booty Workouts. (Confession, for days I’ve been stalking the online sites where it’s selling, waiting for ‘available for pre-order’ to switch to ‘purchase now’, ‘in stock’ and ‘add to cart’)
Funnily enough, the most common question people have been asking me, (after “what’s the best exercise for building a better butt?” (there IS NO SINGLE exercise that’ll do it for you; variety is key) and “is that you on the cover?” (nope; but I did model for the photos inside)) is “how did you find time to write a book?”
How indeed? I have three, busy children. I teach group fitness classes and train clients. I blog, write freelance pieces, shoot and edit YouTube videos and keep up (sort of ) on social media. I knit, read, watch television and spend time with my husband. I even manage to fit in exercise four or five days a week.
I know this sounds familiar because your plate is just as full (if not more so) as mine
The more I pondered this question, the more I realized that my approach to book writing is essentially the same as my approach to fitness. Make time, break it down, schedule it in and get it done.
Ultimate Booty Workouts: how my approach to fitness helped me write a book
- choose a time frame with a fixed end date. Last spring, I signed a contract with my publisher promising to produce a 35 000 word text by August 1st. Just knowing that their was a ‘due date’ was an incredibly strong motivator. If weight loss is your goal, determine how long it will realistically take you to lose the weight (aim for 1 to 1.5 pounds per week) and circle the end date on your calendar. For those of you following the program in my book, your end date will be 12 weeks from the day you start.
- break it down into manageable chunks. Instead of focusing on the end product (which scared the heck out of me), I broke the assignment down into smaller chunks and set mini-deadlines for each. I focused on tackling one small task at a time, knowing that as long as I stuck to my production schedule I’d meet my goal. The same approach works with diet and exercise. Focus on one day’s meals and workouts at a time. Repeat tomorrow and the day after and the day after… Little by little, you’ll creep towards your goal.
- eliminate distractions. Ironically, the biggest distraction I faced while writing was social media. E-mails, text messages, Tweets and Facebook notifications were constantly drawing my attention away from the task at hand. I quickly learned that in order to meet my writing goals for the day I needed to work offline and with the ringer on my phone set to silent. Determine what (and perhaps, who) distracts you from eating healthily and sticking to your workout schedule. This might mean cleaning out your pantry and eliminating your trigger foods. Or moving your workout to earlier in the day before others’ needs distract you from your own.
- enlist support. If you’ve read the Acknowledgments, you’ll know that I depended on the support of many friends and colleagues during the writing process. Some were cheerleaders (thanks Carla and Jody), some were sounding boards (thanks Suzanne, Kymberly and Alexandra) and others stepped up to assume my home (thanks honey) and work responsibilities when I feared I was falling behind. Studies have shown that having a solid support system in place is an important predictor of weight loss success and exercise adherence. Join a weight loss group (either virtually on in real life), find a workout buddy, register for a group fitness program or hire a personal trainer to increase your chances of successfully reaching your goal.
- prepare for roadblocks and setbacks. Despite having created a detailed writing schedule, I didn’t always meet my mini-deadlines. Children got sick. My husband had to travel for work. Other projects, with more immediate deadlines cropped up. On more than one occasion, I succumbed to Facebook. Rather than stress about what I didn’t accomplish, I focused on what I did manage to get done and recommitted the very next morning to getting back on track. Diet slip ups will happen. You’ll miss a workout now or then. Don’t let feelings of guilt and remorse sabotage you. Tomorrow is another day.
- celebrate small victories. There were many a day when the promise of “knitting once you have a thousand words written” was a powerful motivator. Celebrate reaching your mini-deadlines with meaningful experiences or gifts. Met your weight loss goal for the month? Enjoy an evening at the theatre with friends. Finished the first phase of Ultimate Booty Workouts? Treat yourself to a new pair of workout shorts.
- enjoy the process. As wonderful as it is to hold a copy of the finished book in my hand, that feeling of accomplishment and pride lasts only a few moments when compared to the amount of time spent in the process of creating it. Enjoying the process is key to reaching any goal, be it weight loss, improved fitness or your first book.
I’d love to know what strategies YOU use to help you reach a big, long term goal (be it health and fitness or otherwise)
Ultimate Booty Workouts can be purchased online through Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Chapters/Indigo and Barnes & Noble.