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Why a Simple Pen Holds the Key to Your Fitness Success

  [ 58 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Sue Ingebretson • • June 4, 2013

Did you practice some sort of body movement today? Maybe you walked around your block, swam a few laps, or did some gentle stretches on your living room floor.

Moving your body with regularity can provide powerful
strengthening and flexibility benefits.

But what does “moving with regularity” mean to you? Does it mean aerobic activity every day? Perhaps walking three times a week sounds more like your style.

In any case, it’s up to you. You get to design your own fitness routine to suit your needs. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to create one right now. Jot down various fitness activities that you’ve done in the past or would like to try in the future. List as many as possible – even if they don’t sound like things you would do. Include interests that may not seem like “fitness activities” to you such as gardening, hiking, dancing, or golfing. Simply write down any activity that comes to mind as long as it includes moving your body in healthy ways.

The goal is to create a list that has a wide variety of activities. Keep an open mind about trying different moves. There are always new routines to investigate and try.

"But I Don't Like Fitness"

Here’s an important concept to keep in mind. I’ve had clients tell me “I don’t like fitness.” What they mean is, “I haven’t yet found a fitness routine that appeals and works for me.”

There’s a big difference between these two thoughts. Do you see how the first one is disempowering? It leads to the (erroneous) conclusion that there’s no hope, no chance, or no option for success. The second reframe of that same idea shows a powerful thought. It includes some wiggle room for growth and expanded ideas. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of ways to move the body and it stands to reason that there must be at least some that can serve as “doable” for your specific needs.

If at First You Don't Succeed...

Here’s another consideration to keep in mind. It’s easy to have a less-than great experience taint your perception. For example, when I first started looking for healthy body movement activities, I tried several different yoga classes. Even though I gave it a good try for several months, I never got past the initial phase of extreme muscle soreness and I felt defeated since I couldn’t do the required moves in the way I was shown to do them.

Years later, I was invited to try another yoga class and was quite surprised to learn that I loved it. (Note that I was at least willing to try it again!) I loved my new instructor and realized that my previous teachers were just not right for me. They clearly had no knowledge of fibromyalgia and they (not to mention I) didn’t respect my physical limitations. There are as many teachers as there are types of yoga. Have you ever tried gentle stretch yoga or yoga that can be done from a chair? My personal favorite is restorative yoga. Finding the right teacher and the right activity can provide a winning combination that sets you off on the road to fitness success.

While your personal physical limitations create a challenge to selecting a fitness routine, don’t think of them as a roadblock. Think of them as speed bumps instead. Find ways to move your body slowly, gently, and with proper body mechanics so that you can mitigate chances of injury or increased joint pain. Be kind to yourself at all times and practice patience as you learn new things.

Putting That Pen to Work

Once you’ve got a good head start on listing a wide variety of activities to try, it’s time to create your own routine. Write down the ones you plan to try first on your calendar or on a simple chart that you create. Be sure to include a variety of activities. You may choose to complete your fitness chart by the week or for a month at a time. The key is to get it in writing, and don’t make this too complicated! A simple calendar or sheet of notebook paper will do.

Now that you have a fitness routine in hand, would you like to boost your motivation and your desire to stick with it? This next step will demonstrate the true power of your pen. It’s time to TRACK YOUR PROGRESS!

It’s satisfying to check off a completed task on a to-do list, right? Everyone loves that feeling of putting a big check mark beside a completed task. Tracking your fitness progress is also satisfying but there’s much more to it than simple satisfaction of a job well done.

Each time you track your progress, by highlighting, marking, or somehow indicating that you’ve completed a task, you’re creating a visual reminder of your continued success. Remember that this is an ongoing process. Use colored pens or highlighters to write on your chart. Apply fun stickers or even gold stars. Mark your success with whatever makes you feel happy and energized.

Make Fitness a Family Affair

Getting your family involved is a great way to include them as your support system. Let your family members help to create your chart and include them in the tracking of your progress. Be sure to keep your chart where you and your family members will likely see it most.

If getting the support of your family isn’t an option for you, look to friends, co-workers, and various online accountability sources. Don’t miss out on the additional benefits that support and loving accountability can offer.

Here are just a few key benefits of tracking your progress:

  • Your chart serves as a visual reminder of your success.

  • Tracking provides personal accountability.

  • Tracking shows your fitness consistency and diligence.

  • Tracking reveals opportunities to change your routine or challenge yourself further.

  • Tracking allows you to measure your results.

  • The chart itself serves as an overall plan to your continued success.

  • Tracking provides you with the fuel needed to create, generate, and propel your motivation to continue.

Think you don’t have motivation? Review this THIS ARTICLE to learn more about motivation and how to develop ways to sustain your desire to continue with your fitness goals.


Sue Ingebretson ( is an author, speaker, certified holistic health care practitioner and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. She is also a Patient Advocate/Fibromyalgia Expert for the Alliance Health website and a Fibromyalgia editor for the ProHealth website community.

Her #1 Amazon best-selling chronic illness book, FibroWHYalgia, details her own journey from chronic illness to chronic wellness. She is also the creator of the FibroFrog™- a therapeutic stress-relieving tool which provides powerful healing benefits with fun and whimsy.

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