The 4 Biggest “Mistakes” I’ve Made

I believe there is no such thing as a mistake. Instead, I believe our experiences are either experiments or actions that we choose to repeat or not. “Mistakes,” or experiments, help bring us to our “beacon,” they are our compass. They help us decipher what portends to be a lasting strategy in our wellness practice and what we can “toss to the wind.”



There are so many ways to be fit, well, and feel good about yourself. Trust me; I have tried them all.

Come to my website and sign up for a free 5 Minute Flow and receive information about all of the exciting programs we are offering.

From 30-day protein shake-only diets to running five marathons for a specific event or number on the scale – to spending a silly amount of money on the latest fad supplements or meal programs, I tried it all. I’m guessing so have you. I often wonder why it is we as a society spend so much money on shakes, cleanses, supplements, and “quick fixes.”



I was trying to convince myself it was for my “health” or to see if it would help clients… yes, like an experiment. I was also attempting to have “that” body of someone in a magazine or a combination of attributes I admired in people I knew. I suffered from serious comparison syndrome.

I’ve made more gaffes along the way than we have ink to print this article. Yet, the best part of that up-down-and-all-around journey were the lessons I learned about what works to achieve a wellness lifestyle – for me.

I now combine my personal experience with the thousands of other women with whom I’ve had the honor to work. They, too, are prone to “trying this” or “experimenting” with that, for a “quick fix” like I tried countless times – unsuccessfully. Through all of this, we find what it takes to be truly well.

The coolest part of all of this is that I learned more from those strategies that didn’t work than from my successes.

I am now totally satisfied with my body and my life at the ripe age of 53. And, there’s no reason why you can’t feel the same.

As one of my four coaches says, “You can’t have a seven-figure income if you are living a five-figure lifestyle.” In other words, ladies… you get what you put into your wellness program. Fretting about it, sitting more than you move, and searching for the latest quick fix isn’t going to fix your wellness. A thoughtful program utilizing simple strategies you’ll keep forever will!


Here are the Top Four “Mistakes” I’ve Made

I used to…

1. Underestimate my social network – Scientists know the company with whom you keep has a huge effect on your wellness. Your size and shape have a lot to do with those you spend the most time with. Choose your cohorts in wellness. Ask for accountability.

The people you spend the most time with must be supportive. If they support your approach for holistic wellness and your attitude toward how you fuel yourself (the food you eat, the exercise you choose, the hobbies you choose), your chances of success are greatly maximized.



2. Overestimate chronic cardio and deprivation dieting – somehow, we all got it into our heads around our teens that we could “run off” our “mistakes” and starve ourselves to achieve that body.

Sadly, still today, social media is feeding that lie to our teenage girls (one of whom I am a mother to) and to you, to pound their bodies and “eat this, not that.” It is simply not true. We live in the height of comparison syndrome with social media controlling our perspectives on what is “fit.”



3. Under-planning my days, weeks, months, and years. I used to “wing it.” I’d be checking my schedule on my drive to work and not prepare myself for the clients I would be (in a few minutes) training.

Now, I spend time every Sunday preparing for my week. I prep for every client, every call, every workshop I teach. I even plan as best I can for the unforeseen. There are no surprises. I also plan my wellness first. As a family we plan our meals, I plan my training precisely down to what equipment I’ll need, I plan the days I can take a short or long walk, and when I go to bed and awaken.

I used to gather my “to do” list each morning. Now, I know it like the back of my hand. There are no surprises and no way other’s priorities will overtake mine. Planning, preparing, and ensuring you get in your time for wellness comes first, not last.



4. Believe the harder I worked, the more progress I would make. Sometimes working less will help you achieve your wellness goals. Doing less is often the advice I give my clients. Breathe more than you rush. Instead of cramming in too much activity, I often counsel clients to do less. Einstein is onto something even for your wellness, saying, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”


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Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!

Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314



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