Woman doing stretching exercises on an exercise mat in the garden

How To Use The Square Foot Gardening Method To Motivate Yourself To Get Fit

About the Author: Today's blog is from Shea Goulding, the founder of New Gardener, a gardening specialist retailer in the UK. Shea founded New Gardener with the mission of making gardening cool for the next generation and anyone new to the green thumb scene. Armed with his love for plants and knack for growing things, Shea is on a mission to educate and sprinkle some inspiration on all the budding gardeners out there.

We all want to get fit - have stamina, be flexible, be strong, lose fat, gain muscle, everything. While these thoughts of bettering ourselves sometimes come all at once (cough New Year's cough), how often have you found yourself becoming frustrated or disheartened when you put in so much effort only to realise how far off your aim you still are. Then we give up on our goals which only leaves us feeling worse. There must be a way to reach our final outcome, after all there are a lot of people who are already there. 

 Mel Bartholomew was an American author and television presenter who, after retiring from his job as a civil engineer, took up gardening. Coming from a work background that revolved around efficiency, he quickly noticed how unnecessarily arduous and time consuming traditional gardening was. As a result, he developed Square Foot Gardening - a method of growing plants in smaller 1ft x 1ft blocks, instead of growing in rows. This made gardening a lot simpler, more effective and, most importantly, more fun for Mel. He was able to grow a lot more in the same amount of space, without even needing any fertiliser! After publishing his first book in 1981, thousands of gardeners came to love this method for these very reasons - it was just better than the old way.

 So what does this have to do with fitness? Mel's Square Foot Gardening method is a great way to treat all of life's obstacles. Breaking each part down into smaller, more manageable areas of focus. If you want to be able to deadlift 200kg, run 10km, do the splits, whatever your goal is, we often have a tendency to feel that it is out of reach. Too much effort, too much commitment, too much time. Breaking down your overall objective into smaller, more achievable goals will not only help you stick with it to the end, but you will reach it quicker. Instead of thinking "I'll never be able to lose those 10lbs, I'm just too far off my target weight", try turning it into a more achievable 2lb loss, 5 times. Suddenly, 2lbs doesn't sound like such a distant target. Each time you hit a smaller goal, you will become more motivated to keep going and reach the finish line, and once you do, if you want to keep going you can just repeat. You'll be crushing goals left and right, and feeling great in the process!

Initially, many experts dismissed Mel's method - it was just too simple, surely it couldn't work. Over time, however, it has proven itself. I would certainly recommend trying it for yourself, experimenting with what works well for you, and creating your very own 'Square Foot Fitness' regime, if you will. Maybe your ambitions aren't as out of reach as you think.

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