May 13, 2021

How to Get and Stay Motivated

Show Notes

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Ann Marie Wakula, certified personal trainer and host of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Fitness Over 40. Together, they discuss ways we can get motivated and stay the course to achieve our goals.

In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:

  • Ways to spark our motivation.
  • Habit building.
  • How to combat procrastination.
  • Steps to maintain motivation through goal setting.

You can learn more about Ann Marie at her website, or Instagram page.

Transcript

Chuck Gaidica:
This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast, episode 80. We’re already more than a quarter of the way through the year. Can you believe it? Have your New Year’s resolutions faded away? Maybe they really are in the rear view mirror. Well coming up, we’ll discuss how to find motivation and stick with it.

Chuck Gaidica:
Welcome to A Healthier Michigan Podcast, the podcast dedicated to navigating how we can improve your health and well-being through small, healthy habits we can start implementing right now. I’m your host, Chuck Gaidica. Every other week, we’ll sit down with a certified expert to discuss topics covering nutrition, fitness, a whole lot more. And on this episode, we’re going deep into ways we can become and remain motivated when we’re trying to accomplish our goals. With me today, a certified personal trainer and macro nutrition coach, Ann Marie Wakula. How are you?

Ann Marie Wakula:
I am great. I’m so excited to be here. How are you?

Chuck Gaidica:
Well I’m excited to have you with us because you’ve got such a deep, rich… It’s a recent history, but man, you’re deep in all kinds of stuff. Personal trainer, macro nutrition coach as I mentioned, certified nutrition coach, extend bar group fitness instructor. And then to keep you really busy and fit, three kids. You’re getting your kids out to help work with you and work out and do some fun stuff. And I love, love your motto, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be that hard. And I think for those of us over 40, which I know is one of your focuses, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, you’ve got an entire series called Fitness Over 40, that’s really an important thing to a lot of us. It doesn’t have to be hard, right?

Ann Marie Wakula:
It doesn’t. I feel as if a lot of people look at a healthy lifestyle and it just seems so overwhelming, and there’s so much information out there when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle and being active. So when you look at the bigger picture of everything, it’s like, “Oh wow, where do I even start?” So just simple things really.

Chuck Gaidica:
And beginning something is the start, right? You’ve got to begin it, but at times, and we’re talking and focusing on motivation today, at times, motivation feels like the ingredient required to get things done is there. It’s the fuel that drives us to get to the end of the destination. So we’re seeing where we want to be. We want to lose weight. We want to walk more, or whatever it is. But motivation isn’t a cookie cutter deal because we’re all different individuals and everyone has got a different reason for wanting to accomplish maybe the very same goal that we set for ourselves. So when we’re looking to find this motivation to get fit, to feel better, where do we begin so that we can actually get on some track to accomplish our goals?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Well first, I love what you said about motivation being fuel. It’s the fuel to reach your goal. It is all the steps to get you there. It’s feelings, it’s emotions, it’s determination and drive and power and grit. And it’s also measured by how badly you really want something. So looking at that overall definition of what motivation is, if you look at your overall goal and start with a small, very manageable step to get you there, that’s really where you begin.

Chuck Gaidica:
And so is the motivation for us, it’s got to come from multiple places, right? For some people, because we are so individual, it may come from the inside out. For others, they may be spurred by a spouse or their children or a friend, right? You get a buddy system and all of a sudden, you’re walking with three of your neighbors. It’s so individual.

Ann Marie Wakula:
It is individual. It’s a little bit of mind over matter and a lot of planning. So setting goals, having a clear vision of exactly what you want. Not knowing where to start is very overwhelming, so figuring out how to get there is basically where you backtrack to get to that goal. So yeah, like you said, finding a friend. If it’s walking, you find a friend, you find an accountability buddy to get you there. I think a lot of people, again, going back to you don’t know where to start. So you start with goals and I have a lot of my clients start with SMART setting goals. Have you heard of the SMART goals? I feel like that’s popular.

Chuck Gaidica:
I have, but go ahead and explain it. For most of us, we maybe have heard of it, but we don’t understand what the acronym means.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Sure. So it’s being very specific about what you want. It’s setting, measurable, meaningful and motivating tasks. And then something that’s achievable, and I’ll go back to that in a second, relevant to you. So I tell my clients, if you’re doing this for someone other than yourself, you’re not going to achieve the goal. It has to be something that you want. And then time-bound, time-sensitive. So if you’re a person that needs to lose a significant amount of weight, maybe it’s 40 pounds, 50 pounds, whatever, looking at that big picture may be extremely overwhelming. So get specific. This month, I’m going to aim to start moving. Maybe it’s not even a weight loss goal, just being more active. So that’s being specific. And then you measure it by saying, “I’m going to walk twice this week,” and then you start moving towards it, which would be achieving it. And then it’s relevant to you because that’s something that you really want. And it’s time-sensitive because you’re going to put a month timeline on it, or maybe even smaller than that, maybe even a week. So we start with goals.

Ann Marie Wakula:
I also do another visualization process that I love. Okay. So I’ll take you back to, oh gosh, maybe 2007 when the economy… Or no, maybe six. I’m not sure. When the economy wasn’t doing well, we’ll have to look at timing. My husband had lost his job and I had two young children at home. I wasn’t working either at the time because I decided I wanted to be home with my family, and we had no income. And it was New Year’s Eve and we sat around and had a glass of wine after we put our babies to bed, and we were like, “What do we want our future to look like?” So we got a bunch of magazines and started cutting out basically what we thought the next five years were going to look like. And it had no limits on it, you know what I mean? So it didn’t matter how much money we had or didn’t have. It didn’t matter what our resources were. We were just thinking big. We wanted to travel. We wanted to move. He put pictures of what he wanted his job to look like.

Ann Marie Wakula:
And basically, it was a vision board and it was amazing. We hung it in our house. Within six months, he had a brand new job in something that he wasn’t even working in before. It was a sales position. It took us outside of Michigan for a couple of years with our family. But it basically was the building block of where he is now and where our family is now. But it all came from visions. I’m a dreamer. The sky is not the limit, it’s beyond.

Chuck Gaidica:
That’s great.

Ann Marie Wakula:
So I mean nothing can hold you back if you really, really want that.

Chuck Gaidica:
And so many people, it’s really interesting because I bet some people are listening to this and they’re on fire for creating their own vision board. But some who are visual thinkers and learners have never even thought of that idea. So that’s so cool to inspire all of us to really think about how we can create something that’s concrete. We can actually see a picture of the skinnier me, or the I’m driving that car me, or whatever it is that’s your goal, right?

Ann Marie Wakula:
I’m telling you, it’s pretty incredible. I trained for bodybuilding shows. I’ve done four. And the last one I did was in October, and I have a family, I’m busy. Excuses. That’s another thing that gets in the way of motivation, right? You’ve got a million excuses. I’ve got a family. I’ve got a husband that travels. I’ve got a business. I have a million reasons why I could sit back and say, “You know what? I’m going to start tomorrow.”

Chuck Gaidica:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ann Marie Wakula:
But don’t wait to start tomorrow. For that show, at the end of the day, I would get in bed and I would see what I looked like at the end, how I felt. Go through the process of what achieving your goal gives you, that feeling. And then it will keep you motivated every night to get up. I get up at 5:30 and train in the morning the next day, who wants to get up and work out at 5:30 in the morning? Not a lot of people, right?

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

Ann Marie Wakula:
So that’s what gave me the spark. Just putting myself in that moment, what it felt like at the end, how proud I was, what it looked like for me. And that motivated me every single day to get up and keep working. And that can work for anyone with any process, with any goal to stay motivated.

Chuck Gaidica:
And you’re wrapping so much wisdom in this whole conversation, but back to that idea of a vision board, in the business world, and I know you’re in it, this notion of reverse engineering is talked about with everything from cars to the way we go about our lives. But really when you’re setting this vision, whether you’re just thinking about it in your mind or actually have a board, there is something to be said for reverse engineering back and saying, “Well I do want to lose the 40 pounds and I’ve got 52 weeks. And if I look at it that way, maybe it’s not such a hard goal.”

Ann Marie Wakula:
Absolutely right. It’s not. Again, you just start with those little tasks to get you there. You look at the big picture, which may seem so overwhelming, 52 weeks from now, but you just take it one step at a time.

Chuck Gaidica:
So this may seem more general and maybe more basic to some, but there has to be something in your experience with people you’ve worked with, that spark of motivation. We’ve already admitted we’re all so individual and it may be different for everybody, but have you noticed a thread that runs through something that literally can light the fire and get people going? I know you’ve probably mentioned a few already, but what comes to mind?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. So with the clients that I work with right now, I’m working with a lot of weight loss clients and clients that are just getting started with fitness. And I think for every single one of them and the most successful ones are the ones that say, “I’m done living my life the way that I was living it. I’m ready to start.” And you literally have to come to that point where you are just fed up. You’re done. Tomorrow’s the day I’m going to start. And then I’m the kind of person, I like to start on a Monday, right? So I say, “Okay, countdown. I’ve got five more days and Monday is going to be here.” And between now and Monday, I’ve got a notebook and we’re writing down our tasks. We’re writing down where we’re going to start. We’re actually getting a calendar.

Ann Marie Wakula:
And I’m a woman too, so I like to make sure I have all the equipment along with it. So I’ll go and I’ll get my new workout shoes. And I’ll go to Target and get my new notebook and all the things that I need to make everything look pretty before I started. But that motivates me too. We’re going to start golf this summer. I’m like, “Okay, well I’m going to need that new golf club and a little golf skirt, but that’s going to motivate my game.”

Chuck Gaidica:
You’ve got to have the clothes and that equipment for golf, right?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
Right. And then you said something else in SMART goals, so we covered each one of the letters, S-M-A-R-T. But the A is really interesting to me, that part about your goal being achievable, because sometimes we can set ourselves up for not being able to stay motivated because my goal is I’d like to go to the moon or I need to drive a Rolls-Royce. So neither one of those are that achievable. I mean just intellectually, I know it. So I’m a big dreamer. But you must see that too where keeping it real to some extent is actually helpful because then you’re able to achieve those steps along the way.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. It is definitely important to keep it real. I don’t know about the moon, but maybe you could get that Rolls-Royce. I don’t know.

Chuck Gaidica:
Okay, well thank you. Okay, I have a new goal. That’s awesome.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. Why not? Why not? What are the steps that are going to get you there? But yeah, keeping it realistic. That’s where I come in as a personal trainer, as a coach. So that is where a coach actually comes in. So no matter what the goal is, whether it’s starting your own business, or working for fitness or health goals, if you find someone that’s five steps ahead of you to help you through that, they’re going to help you keep it real, to help you keep the goal real and manage your expectations and then manage the steps. So even if it’s a friend too. I a couple of years ago trained and I did the Free Press half marathon in Detroit, and I just wanted a goal of running a half marathon. I actually didn’t enjoy running at all, but I did it anyways because I wanted to check the box, right? I found a coach and a plan to get me to that point. And then I also had a workout buddy.

Ann Marie Wakula:
I also wanted to touch on the fact that there are some times when you’re going through the whole process that you may not actually enjoy some of the tasks that are associated with the process, okay? So if we take early morning workouts, for example, getting up early, what’s going to keep you motivated? Well maybe you’re not looking forward to the workout, or maybe you want to lose weight and working out is a part of it, but it’s really not something for you. If you could find something enjoyable to do during the workout or during that task that makes you look forward to it in that moment, it’ll help. So for example, a lot of people are like, “Put together a great playlist and do your workout.” Well some people aren’t motivated by music.

Ann Marie Wakula:
I personally am motivated by podcasts and personal growth books and all of that. So I look forward to my week by planning out what I’m going to listen to during my workout. And I actually look forward to the podcast and I don’t even think about the workout while I’m doing it. If you think you want to cook more for your family and you don’t really enjoy cooking, but you love spending time with your little ones or your significant other, ask them to join in with you. So you may be cooking and you don’t really love cooking, but spending that time with your loved one is really valuable.

Chuck Gaidica:
And we talked about that spark or any kind of spark that can motivate. And maybe you’ve not been a person who listens to music or podcasts because you just haven’t had your small headset or earbuds or whatever it is, and that single purchase or the really cool frying pan you’ve always wanted. Whatever it is, could literally be the spark that gets you going. And then you’re just on fire. I’ve seen it happen. It’s happened to me.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Well tell me about it? What have you experienced?

Chuck Gaidica:
I always think I should be playing Eye of the Tiger when I’m working out?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
And it’s a great song and it does get you going. But I’m like you, I’ve started to defer really not recently, in recent time though, to podcasts. I enjoy, I’m a lifelong learner. It shows up in my tests that I’m a learner, so that’s the way I roll. But I enjoy it. And I’m telling you, just exactly what you said I so relate to, the time involved with working out or riding a bike, because I just can’t sit there for 40 minutes in my basement and do it and just not do anything, it just evaporates. It goes away.

Ann Marie Wakula:
It does. Before you know it, you’re done with the task and you’re like, “Wow, I can’t wait to hear what happens tomorrow or read what happens tomorrow.” It’s something to look forward to inside that moment.

Chuck Gaidica:
So we’re still focusing on starting something or the spark that comes along. What is it that you would suggest keeps us motivated? Is it literally looking for those sparks along the way? Are we just looking for lightning bugs on the path so we can get to the lake? Or what are we looking to do to stay motivated?

Ann Marie Wakula:
It’s definitely those sparks along the way, and then it’s visualizing that long-term transformed person at the end. So you’re overwhelmed and you don’t know where to start. Just finding that one small task to get you there and then creating a roadmap really, putting together a roadmap for success, planning it out in the calendar, taking it day by day, day by day. We’re not talking week by week, month to month. Those things add up. It’s one day at a time.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well and, you’ve said something else that I think is profound. And I know you’re a coach, so this isn’t just about your business. But that notion of having a spouse, a friend, a coach, someone who’s walking alongside you. There’s accountability for sure, right? You’re going to keep me in line with the SMART goals you helped me devise, but yet there’s a lot to be said for that encourager way before the pandemic. In the old days, when we could actually throw our arm around somebody and say, “Come on, let’s go. Let’s go for a run.” I think that’s really a big part of motivation, don’t you?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. And you know what? Things have gotten so interesting in the fitness world in itself. So yeah, finding that one person, but we also have so many online platforms now for accountability, different groups, Facebook groups, different group fitness places that have taken. And it doesn’t have to be just fitness. I mean you can find Facebook groups for anything that you’re looking to achieve. But it can be a virtual support group as well. It doesn’t have to be that side-by-side buddy. It could be a text message like, “Hey, I worked out today or I cooked for my family today. Did you cook for your family today?” Just finding that one person that has a common ground, and then we get creative because we’re in a pandemic and we use technology to create these groups and these communities to support you. I think support is huge.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, I agree.

Ann Marie Wakula:
If you’re trying to reach a goal and you feel overwhelmed, just finding that one person to push you along the way to fail with you, to succeed with you, someone for you to turn to on your bad days and on your good days to celebrate with you, it’s very important. And that keeps you motivated and working towards it because you have that person that you feel like you need to show up for.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. I’ve mentioned it before I think on the podcast, a couple of years ago, I started using the Lose It! app. So I’m tracking my food and all that. My wife who has no problem. I mean I’m not kidding. She eats half of the birthday cake and then says, “Oh, I lost two pounds.” It drives me bananas, right? So all of a sudden, she sees me tracking food in a restaurant and other places and she looks at me and says, “Well what are you doing with… Why are you tracking all of your food?” I said, “Well I’ve made a decision. This is my accountability partner.” Well all of a sudden, it rubbed off. And even for her who had not been tracking things, she now tracks and she’ll say, “Well based on my workout and other things, I’ve got so many calories left.” And I didn’t start out to want to be an influencer, I’m not bragging about it. I’m just saying, I actually saw it happen with somebody who really didn’t have the need, but yet it did rub off.

Ann Marie Wakula:
And how encouraging is that too?

Chuck Gaidica:
Right, yeah.

Ann Marie Wakula:
You see these other people in the accountability groups and you’re like, “Oh my gosh. Look how far that person has come. I can do this too.” One of the best ones that I’m in is the Peloton accountability group. I know so many people probably have a Peloton or a treadmill. But looking at these inspiring stories, I mean from people that are diabetic or have the cancer disease, and they’re like, “I am changing my life today,” and you see their before and after transformation and what they’re going through. It’s amazing. And that is a motivator in itself.

Chuck Gaidica:
And you know this so well from the industry that you’re concentrating on and from our podcast perspective, but here we are coming through and out of this pandemic and getting those underlying conditions, some of them so fixable. Not saying it may be easy, but when you talk about hypertension, diabetes, being overweight, for not necessarily the next challenge of a pandemic, let’s hope that’s not coming, but just your underlying immunity, right? I mean to get your health in line so you can go about your business and just be healthy. If we haven’t seen it proven to us with our own ears and eyes in the past year and a half or so that we need to have our underlying health in order, this is the time.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Absolutely. Absolutely it is. And with the Fitness Over 40 that I’m working on right now with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, I have seen so many incredible stories of people whose health has transformed because of fitness, people into their fifties and sixties that have taken up fitness and exercise over the last few years and are off medications. And I mean they reverse the signs of aging and some of their health conditions because they’ve taken charge of their lives.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well I can tell you, I mean I’m over 60, just barely, but I’m there. I’d like to say I’m 31 on each side.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
But you know what? One of my things is I heard it’s very famous and it’s gone viral, Simon Sinek, what’s your why? And I’ll tell you what one of my whys is I have a frame that my kids download pictures of my kids and now grandkids on, and I see them cycle through. It’s a high-tech thing. It’s delightful. They can upload recent photos. That’s my why. I look at that frame and those pictures go by all the time. And I ask myself, “Well why am I going out for a three mile bike ride, a five mile bike ride, whatever it is today?” Well that’s my why. I come in, I look at those pictures and I think that’s it. It’s simple, but that’s it. I want to be here.

Ann Marie Wakula:
I’m so glad you brought that up. I mean that was such a powerful message right there. It is, it’s what is your why? And it’s your family. I have a lot of clients that say, “I need to lose 30 pounds so I can be active with my children so I can see them graduate.” So I mean I love that. What’s your why?

Chuck Gaidica:
So we start on this track, right? And we’re motivated. You or we get our SMART goals listed, maybe we’ve even created a vision board. And you know like anything, you get somewhere down the path and you slide off. And sometimes that’s okay. There can be a fun factor. You can have birthday cake and still go back on your lifestyle diet. It’s okay. It’ll work out. But for some of us, what if motivation starts to fade? What if we’re now seeing every once in a while we’re slipping off of where we go? What is it that can re-motivate?

Ann Marie Wakula:
So I like to schedule SMART goals in the beginning of your whole journey, and then I like to schedule that visualization towards the middle. You know what I mean? Just when you’re starting to feel like you need some motivation, going back to even what you said, recognizing what your why is. So putting little steps along the way to refocus your goals, to look back at where you started and where you’ve come and where you want to be, and then keep going. You just keep going, reassessing your journey along the way.

Chuck Gaidica:
So you’ve already touched on this I think in so many different ways and we maybe haven’t set it up specifically, but the idea that building healthy habits. That may not just be exercise, that may be eating, that may be whatever it is for you. Maybe you want to stop smoking, whatever it is, building healthy habits.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck Gaidica:
This idea how we boost our motivation along the way by building healthy habits that we can continue to build on. You must see that all the time and work with people who that you’re seeing success with that idea, right?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Oh yeah, for sure. So starting small with, let’s say, one walk a week and then we bring it up to two workouts a week. And then just slowly over time, adding on, adding on the layer. Say it’s walking, I feel like walking is very underrated and it’s an amazing exercise. You don’t need to run a mile and run fast and do tons of cardio in order to reach your goal. So let’s say you want to walk 5,000 miles… Or 5,000 steps. Back it up.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, okay. That’ll be my goal next year with the Rolls-Royce, 5,000 miles.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah, right? Yeah. We got big goals. So 5,000 steps, and you’re currently walking 3,000 steps a day.

Chuck Gaidica:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ann Marie Wakula:
But up it to four, four steps a day for six days. But on that seventh day, you get to that 5,000, you know what I’m saying? And then add the next week, you’re going to walk 5,000 steps two days, but you’re going to walk for the rest. And then the next week, you’re going to walk 5,000 steps three days and then walk the rest at four. So just setting those small milestones along the way.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, that’s helpful. And I think that technology can help us, right? There’s so many people who would say, “Well I don’t even know how many steps I’m walking a day,” and the old-fashioned pedometer. Well we’re way past that. And it doesn’t have to be an expensive device anymore, it can just be something you’re wearing and it ties to your phone, and boom, you see your steps.

Ann Marie Wakula:
It can be just your phone.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Right, right.

Ann Marie Wakula:
I don’t have an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, or any of those things. My phone’s on me pretty much all day, right?

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

Ann Marie Wakula:
In my pocket like most people. And I’ll measure based on that. Or the other good one is to set a timer on your phone and let it go off every hour. And every hour, you get up and you do a lap around your house or a walk up the stairs. So you can set reminders for yourself as well throughout the day to get up and do little things to achieve your goals.

Chuck Gaidica:
And you just said something so powerful because here we are, we still have some skunky weather around, we’re going into spring and we know what that means. We’ve got to have water, so everything gets green. And there are going to be days where you can’t go out and do your bike ride or your walk, or whatever it is. But in the house, I know I used to poo poo that idea and think there’s no way. I mean what’s the point? And then I tracked it and I know it’s monotonous to do loops around your family room and living room and back through the kitchen, but the dog starts following me and it became fun. She thought we’re going for a walk. And all of a sudden, I looked down at the end of the day, I put on 5,000 steps just in my house.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Did you really?

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

Ann Marie Wakula:
That’s amazing. Yeah. I believe our first episode for Fitness Over 40 was how to work out inside your home. I mean there’s stairs, you’ve got hand weights and you’ve got flour for weights. You don’t need a whole bunch of things. You can accomplish so much in your own home with body weight and getting up and walking around. You don’t need all those extra things.

Chuck Gaidica:
And I’ve seen a couple of your videos, you’re even using a five pound bag or whatever it is of sugar.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
I happen to know because I’m a pilot that water or fuel, a gallon of liquid weighs about six pounds. Well there you go. Just fill up the old milk jug that you were ready to throw out and recycle, and you’ve got a six pound weight and it’s free. Free 99. Yeah.

Ann Marie Wakula:
There you go.

Chuck Gaidica:
So here’s another thing. I’ve lived it, I’m sure you have. So it’s not like it’s some big admission. But there are times where we set our goals, we’re motivated and then I’m going to do it tomorrow. And then it stormed and then I’m going to start my diet on Monday. And then it’s the next Monday. How do we break the cycle of procrastination? How do we do that? Because that seems like the opposite of motivation. I’m not sure it is completely, but how do we break it?

Ann Marie Wakula:
Procrastination’s hard. I can say that for myself. I will have a big task for the day and I will do a million little tasks, right, and leave that big task for the end. And then something always keeps coming up and I’m like, “Okay, big task tomorrow.”

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Right? So what I’ve learned to do is take the big task and chunk it up into smaller, more manageable tasks. I think that seems to be a key message today in our talk, small manageable tasks, and just keep working towards that. Don’t put it off. Actually schedule time for your tasks and then you’re more likely to achieve them. And then quitting the excuses, right? No more work excuses. It’s easy to tackle, start to set your mindset. It’s easier to tackle these things if I break them up into small chunks. So I’m going to dedicate this amount of time, put in your schedule, put a reminder, okay, I scheduled this. I’m doing nothing else during this time, but this.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, that’s good advice. And I think that I’ve noticed in my life and for goodness sakes with all that you’ve got going on, and let’s just start with family life, husband, three kids, mom at home, you’re trying to work. We have to give ourselves some grace too. It’s not like we’re losers if we miss the run today because we can run tomorrow, right? I mean just give yourself some grace because life happens and you’ve got responsibilities with kids or whatever’s going on in life. It’s okay. You can go get your shoes on tomorrow and still do it as long as you get to it.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. I have a lot of clients that reach out and they feel bad that they can’t get their workout in. And I say, “You know what? Just reschedule. Reschedule it for another day this week. It’s fine.” You’re still moving forward as long as you’re doing something. And then celebrating those victories, celebrating your milestone victories and giving yourself a pat on the back. Sometimes you’re so laser focused on the end game that you’re not looking at the journey that you were just on and celebrating all the moments in between. So setting up those little victory celebration parties for yourself, that’s important too.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well that’s so powerful. And I think it’s keeping in sight the notion that your goals can be achievable, but don’t get overwhelmed. Here’s a for instance, and I’ll make the numbers up just to make the point, but I’ve got someone in my family and my life. All of a sudden, they start losing two pounds a week. And I don’t just mean it was an initial thing, they’re starting a pound and a half, two pounds. And they’re like, “Oh, it’s only two pounds.” And I said, “Only? 52 weeks, you’ll vaporize. You’ll be gone if you kept this pace up.” So it’s a great pace to be on. And we know it may not be realistic forever, but somehow we lose track of the fact that it doesn’t have to be all dramatic stuff at the beginning. The power is looking down the road sometimes and then realizing these baby steps are still getting me there, man. I’m doing okay.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Absolutely. And with my clients and health and fitness, I have them take pictures. So you can see the journey because sometimes the scale doesn’t always… This is important for everyone listening to know, sometimes the scale does not reflect the journey that you’re on, but your pictures and measurements are huge. And some people don’t want to step on the scale. The scale’s defeating. It can be. Or your mind is thinking, “Oh wow. I think I did great this week.” You get on the scale and you probably did amazing, but it’s not moving. That could be a downer when you’re feeling that. So if you take a picture of the whole journey and the whole process and you start saying, “Wow, look where I started. Even though it says, I only lost a few pounds, I can actually see that I have muscles, or I can start to see my waist come in.” So maybe different ways to measure your overall goal, start to think about that.

Chuck Gaidica:
That’s great advice because, and you’re the expert, but muscle weighs more than fat, right? So if you’re doing some of the stuff that I know you would want to encourage me to do to build some muscle, there’s got to be a point at which those arcs haven’t crossed yet. And I’m building muscle, but I haven’t lost the flab, so maybe I have gained two pounds this week. And it’s not a great feeling and not a great thing to see.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. You can start to lose inches and not see a reflection on the scale. So it’s important to look at it that way, start taking pictures, start taking measurements. Maybe don’t even get on the scale. Seriously. If that’s something that puts you in a mood, throw it away. Just changing your life, making healthier habits.

Chuck Gaidica:
Ann Marie, that is so counter-culture. I mean I do hate my scale. I mean since I was born, because I was born at 135 pounds. I don’t like the scale, but I’ve never thought that, well because my wife uses it, but I’ve never thought, “Well I should just deep six it.” That’s not even a thought.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Think about it. You don’t need to step on the scale. If you’re changing your healthy habits, if you’re tracking in some way and the scale puts you in a mood, get rid of it.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well listening to you for the past half hour plus has gotten me motivated, I can tell you that. But as we start to wrap things up, I want you to give us some of the bullet points and takeaways so that we can start to go to work on this because we’re heading right into May now and we’ve got lots to work on if we’re trying to get into that bikini for summer.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Okay. So I would say if you are looking for somewhere to get started, or looking for a way to get started, you want to start with goals. You want to get really specific on what your overall goal is and then create those SMART goals. And then find someone to hold you accountable. Find that accountability partner, find someone a few steps ahead of you to coach you through the process. Don’t put it off, no more procrastinating. A lot of times we look at our goal, we’ll say, “Summer’s coming. The kids are going to be home. I don’t have time for that.” No, you have to start making time for you. So stop procrastinating. No more excuses. May mean getting up earlier, may mean staying up an hour later, maybe refocusing your schedule a little bit to achieve the goal. But if it’s important to you and it has to be something that you want, you’ll learn how to create time for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And if you’re feeling alone, find others to support you. Little steps along the way make big changes.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well one of my personal takeaways, and you’ll get a kick out of this because you set it up so well, is my wife will tell me all the time, you don’t have to jog. In my mind, I think it’s a guy thing maybe, but in my mind, I think I have to hurt. What you just said, you don’t have to jog and do a half marathon, you can walk. And I still don’t equate that to I’m going to burn the same amount of calories. I know it takes more time and my wife said exactly what you said. See, it’s just brilliance coming out of you. I don’t have to hurt when I go out, I could actually do it and it can be fun. It just may take a few more minutes to get to that goal.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Yeah. And as we age too, the more stress you put on your body, the harder it is to achieve your actual goals. So if you’re doing something enjoyable at your own pace and you’re making better food choices, and things like that, you’re going to see better long-term results because you’re not going to burn yourself out.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Yeah. Such good advice too. Well Ann Marie, it’s been a pleasure talking to you and so much wisdom from you today. And I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in your house. Is everybody just like, “Come on, mom, let’s go.” I mean you’ve got to be the super motivator, because you’re just on it.

Ann Marie Wakula:
Oh, thank you. We’re a pretty healthy house, an active house over here. But I like to be an example for my children and for my family. And we do a lot of activities together, physical activities, cooking together, creating meal plans and whatnot. And it’s just become a part of our culture in our house.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Well my best to your family, and I hope everybody stays well. And thanks for your time. It’s great talking to you.

Ann Marie Wakula:
It was great talking to you too.

Chuck Gaidica:
Thanks. Ann Marie Wakula. She is a macro nutrition coach, a certified personal trainer, so much more. And she’s really connected to this program of Fitness Over 40 brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. And you can find it at ahealthiermichigan.org. We’re glad you’ve been with us today. We want to thank you for listening to A Healthier Michigan Podcast as well coming to you from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like the show, you want to know more and you can even check out what Ann Marie’s involved in, here’s where you go online, ahealthiermichigan.org/podcast for the podcast, but then just stop .org and you’ll see a tremendous amount of rich content for you to help you start to set your goals, to be on a track to fitness and wellness. You can leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher, and you can get new episodes on your smartphone or tablet, old episodes as well. So you can have us with you on your workout. Be sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. I’m Chuck Gaidica, stay well.