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This week’s post was written by beloved burn instructor Maggie Ashley.  Congratulations, Maggie!!

How great it is to be back! As many of you know, my husband, Scott, and I just returned from our wedding in Florida. After a yearlong engagement, it felt immensely gratifying to see all of our hard work and planning finally come to fruition.

As any recently married or engaged person will tell you, planning a wedding in today’s media saturated culture involves a great deal of focus and concentrated decision making. Between Etsy, theknot.com , bridal magazines, and advice (solicited or otherwise) from family and friends, sensory overload sets in pretty quickly. Everyone you talk to seems to know exactly what you should do, and those effortlessly adorable craft photos on Pinterest (you know, the ones that definitely take more than the five simple steps the pinner provided), have such a sneaky way of drilling, “no wedding is complete without ME,” into your brain. Within the first few weeks of our engagement, I was feeling overwhelmed, and the whole elopement thing looked better by the minute.

At this point of near short-circuiting, I made the best decision of the entire planning process: removing myself from the bombardment of stimuli and asking what I truly wanted for our big day. Having that framework in place made it easier to block out all the unnecessary (albeit adorable) distractions, and actually get things done.

Look Within

Finding success here, I decided to apply this focused decision making to more than just the color of the orchids in my centerpieces. The first facet of my life in which I implemented this? Fitness, of course! Similar to weddings, when planning your exercise regimen, it’s easy to get bogged down in the plethora of things one CAN do, and then end up doing nothing at all out of defeated bewilderment. Anyone who has taken a stroll down the magazine aisle can attest that today’s easy access to varied, and often contradicting, fitness literature leaves one with plenty of ideas, but not necessarily with direction on how to proceed.

At this point, turn away from it all, and look within. Here’s where a good narrowing of focus works wonders. Take the time to perform an honest self assessment pertaining to your fitness practice. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and with them in mind, ask why it is that you exercise. Not why you have read you should, not why your highly fit friend said she does, but why YOU do. What is it that is important to you? What are you trying to accomplish? Whatever it is, figure it out, and don’t forget it. With that objective made clear, your mind can become like a sieve, ready to pick out courses of action that will help you reach your goal, and discard those that while valid in themselves, may not be right for you and what you’re trying to achieve.

It’s my day, it’s my body

While planning my wedding, people kept reminding me, “it’s your day!” My reminder to you is that it’s YOUR body. Not your friend’s, your favorite celebrity’s, or anyone else’s. Never lose sight of what it needs, and never ever lose sight of all that is wonderful about it. Keep those specific, personalized goals in mind, and you’re putting yourself on the right track. And if you need help putting those goals into practice, I know a few awesome Burn instructors who’d be delighted to help!

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