Do you know what the last thing you ate was?
Do you know why you ate it?
Do you know how long it took you to scarf it down?
Do you know how many servings you actually ate of it?
Let’s face it, we all live pretty hectic lives and some times, just maybe, we don’t really think through what we’re going to eat or when. You may be saying; “That’s not true!” “I was thinking about a big juicy cheeseburger all day long, and as soon as I got out of work, I had one.” “In fact, I had two!”
So let me ask you this; Why a cheeseburger? You’re a smart person. You know there are better choices for your health. And, you probably have tried most of the diets out there at some point and the results, at best have been fleeting. So, why the cheeseburger? Okay, so maybe for you it wasn’t a cheeseburger. Maybe it was a pint of ice cream and maybe it wasn’t even anything that extreme. Maybe you’re the all day grazer. A piece of candy here, a cookie there, and another, and another, and…
How is it that a mature, well-read adult with access to pretty much all of the information they could possibly need at their finger tips continue to make poor food choices? Or make no food choices(which is equally bad)?
What is it that makes an otherwise intelligent human being turn into a kindergartner when it comes to health and lifestyle choices?
I mean, think about it. Today, we have access to everything we need to know about healthy living and powerful lifestyles, right at our finger tips. In fact now we don’t even have to type our questions. We can just ask Siri or Alexa or Google or whomever, and they’ll go fetch the info for us.
And maybe, just maybe… the answer is… knowing is not enough.
I know… genius right?
Some basic knowledge is key to get results but let’s face it; unless that book or smart phone or computer is actually feeding you or taking you to the gym and loading the rack(and they’re not), you and I have got to take some kind of action.
At some point we all have to begin. Where ever we are, at whatever level we’re at, we have to actually do something. If we want to be the best, we have to start where we are and work towards that end. It doesn’t happen over night.
Think about it… Does a chef become the executive chef at a 4-star restaurant on day one? Not likely. In fact even if they went to culinary school and graduated at the top of their class, they still had to start at the bottom and learn the ropes. Prove themselves to others (and more importantly to themselves) and then work their way up through the ranks. They have to learn their craft through experience not through books.
I guess what I’m saying is, the best chefs learn that there are certain habits or practices that get them the best results and they ingrain those habits into themselves over time through consistent repetition.
The same is true for your health and lifestyle. The problems start when we decide that we are going to make a change and then set out to make it completely over night. Life doesn’t work that way, you don’t work that way.
So let’s say you’ve decided to make a change. You’ve done the work and gotten yourself really committed to making this change happen. You’ve identified ten different things you need to do in order to make this work. You’ve got things all laid out and you’ve even got a schedule. You’re going to start first thing tomorrow morning with a walk. First thing you’re going to hop out of bed, into your gym clothes, and out the door you’ll go. After that, you’ll make your healthy lunch and take it to work with you. You’ve decided that no matter what kind of great snacks are at work today, you’re just going to eat your healthy lunch. After work, you’re going to go to the gym and lift some weights. After the gym you’re going to head to the grocery store and pick up some healthy items for your meal prep. After shopping you’re going to get home fix a healthy dinner and then do meal prep for the rest of the week. After that you’re going to watch one hour of your one favorite show on Netflix. After that one show, you’re going to get stuff laid out for tomorrow so you can walk out the door first thing for your walk again. After that, it’s bedtime!
Here’s how Day 1 actually goes:
Your alarm clock doesn’t go off early enough to walk.(Somewhere in all of your planning you forgot this one simple task.)
No worries… you’ll start the walking thing tomorrow. But now you’re too late to make that healthy lunch. I guess that starts tomorrow as well.
You get to work without your lunch but not to worry someone has brought tons of delicious treats. Good thing you’re starting tomorrow, right?
And you can pretty much fill in the blanks of the rest of the day until… three hours past your normal bedtime, you finish binge watching you’re new favorite show on Netflix… I mean, who knew that show was going to be so good?
Why does this happen all too often? Because life happens, we tie everything together and our old habits are way stronger than our new intended one.
How do we fix it?
The first step is to slow down. Wait… did I really say slow down on the new, beautiful, healthy habits? Yes, in fact slow way down. I’m going to assume that most of you reading this are in your 40s, 50s, or even 60s. You know all too well that where you are at did not just happen over night. And if you’re really honest, you know it’s not all going to change over night. Right? You do know this? You also know at this point in life that a year will fly by like it was only a couple of weeks, and if you don’t get things right, this time next year you’ll still be in the same place. You should also know how good it will feel a year from now if you’ve finally tackled this. You know what huge doors will be opened to you in your life and how much you will be able to change and conquer if you take it at the right pace.
What we’re trying to do here is set you up for the win. By slowing down and focusing on one habit at a time, you become better at noticing the small improvements and appreciating what you are really capable of. That then becomes a powerful skill you can use to incorporate new habits into your life. Little by little, one by one, you build new habits which force out the old dis-empowering habits and before you know it, what you used to refer to as the painful diet or exercise plan has transformed into a lifestyle of health and vitality. We’re setting you up to live a life without restrictions… only choices. A life where, if you want to binge watch your favorite Netflix show, you can and it doesn’t destroy every other area of your life in the process. How’s that sound?
So, where do you start?
I suggest one of two simple habits to begin with and then we’ll move on from there:
- Make time,
- Take one 5 minute action towards your goal.
It’s sooooo, easy to get wrapped up in our day to day lives that we miss things that are really important to us. If you want to start something new, you’ve got to schedule it. Put it on your calendar. I like Google Calendar. Whatever app you like or if you use a written calendar that’s ok too. Just figure out when and schedule it.
Tony Robbins says: “If you write it down it becomes a goal but when you schedule it, it becomes real!”
Treat it like an appointment. Tell others you’re busy during that time and protect it like it’s gold… because it is. It doesn’t have to be a giant block of time. It could be simply 5 minutes. Schedule it, protect it and then use to work on you.
Just a note: if you schedule yourself for 5 minutes, you’ll likely use more than that because you are after all working on something very powerful for you. (Just a heads up)
Be proud of yourself when you keep your appointment with yourself. It is a first step in telling yourself you’re worth it and you are!
Take one 5 minute action
Changing habits requires constant, consistent, repetitive action. No way around it. If you want to lose the old habits that don’t serve you there has got to be a point in time where you actually practice the new empowering habits. No secret formula here, just a solid truth.
Pick one thing, no matter how small, that moves you toward your goal. Something that says; “This is who I am!” Commit to it for just 5 minutes a day. Maybe it’s looking up a new recipe. Maybe it’s just practicing deep breathing. Whatever it is, do it.
Be proud of yourself for taking this action. It is empowering to know that you’re moving in the right direction and that you’re doing something you decided to do just for you!
I encourage you to work on either one of these two habits for the next two weeks. Sure, there’s much more to do, but taking these two things seriously, tells you that more than anything, you’re ready and you’re willing and you’re capable.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with… what?
Next time, we’ll explore more of the steps you can take and how to really set yourself up for the win this time. Until then, don’t beat yourself, be consistent, be healthy and be happy!