Let’s face it the last 12 months has been difficult to say the least. The Covid 19 Pandemic has swept across the globe changing life as we know it. The physical and mental health challenges that lay ahead as a result have the potential to be devasting on a global scale. The reduced opportunity for physical activity and social interaction has left many of us carrying extra weight and struggling with confidence.
This can make starting a new health regime extremely difficult. This is why it’s so important to acknowledge these challenges, bring them out into the open and talk about how we can start or get back on track after the difficulties of the previous year.
Stand Up and Start Right Now!
Taking the first steps is often the hardest part, you’re stuck in a rut, you can’t see a clear path forward, and we find excuses to put off the inevitable. The pain of your current circumstance is less than the pain you’ll put yourself through to get what you desire, so we end up staying in that “less painful” comfort zone. Here are some useful tips to help you get started and smash through the barriers that might be holding you back.
There is No Magic Moment
If you are waiting for the planets to align and that magical moment to present itself, then you could be waiting a long time. Many of us feel we are too busy to start changing old bad habits and start replacing them with new, healthier ones. We tend to hold off taking real care of ourselves until we have more time, fewer commitments, and less stress.
That Magic Moment is a figment of our imagination. Deep down we know it will never come and it’s a way of subconsciously giving ourselves a free pass and putting off what we know is going to be hard. The truth is you can start taking better care of yourself and making healthy choices Right Now!
Start by making one or two really small changes to your daily routine, see the impact it has on your health, and then gradually build momentum. It doesn’t matter how slow you go, just make sure you go.
Celebrate the Wins (No matter how small)
The road to optimal health is rarely a linear one. There are ups and downs, twists and turns, and it can be easy to become demotivated and feel like you’ve failed if you don’t get the results you want immediately.
We have the tendency to fall back on old beliefs “I’ve tried this before and failed, why will it be any different this time”.
The first thing we need to remember is we either win, or we learn. We never fail.
Writing a journal or practicing gratitude is a great way of putting things into perspective. It offers you an outlet where you can gain a better understanding of what you’re feeling and why. It also highlights the things that have gone well, so no matter how small, make sure you acknowledge and give yourself a pat on the back for implementing these changes that will ultimately lead to improved health and well being.
Make A Plan
Once you make the decision to get started, creating a plan of action is all important. It’s a good idea to make one small change at a time, this will help the changes you are making more sustainable. If you try and make too many changes all at once and you don’t have a plan the likelihood is, you’ll end up back at square one. Fail to plan, plan to fail!
Clearly Define Your Goals
A big part of the planning process is giving yourself something to work towards. After all, if we have no idea what we are aiming for, how do we measure our progress? A great way to do this is to set SMART Goals.
The SMART model is an acronym and incorporates the following criteria:
Specific – Make sure your goal is clearly defined. What’s the outcome? Being specific helps you identify and focus on what you want to achieve.
Measurable – Clarity on what success looks like to you. This often comes down to how much or how many and will be the means by which will know you have succeeded.
Attainable – Your goal should be challenging, but still within your grasp. Reflecting on this component can highlight any potential bumps in the road you might have to overcome to reach your goal. Have a crystal-clear outline of how you will attain your goal.
Relevant – This is about being honest with yourself and really thinking about what you want to achieve. What does this mean to you? Is this worthwhile? How valuable would achieving your goal be to you and is it a priority? This should be your WHY I’m doing this.
Timebound – Humans are target driven, we love having something to aim for. Every goal should have an end date. It gives you motivation, focus, and extra discipline when needed.
This is fairly straight forward. If we consistently do things that are bad for our health, we will find ourselves in a state of bad health. If we start to apply positive lifestyle changes, no matter how small, we should start to see incredible results.
So, by consistently doing things like drinking more water, eating less processed food, getting more sleep, walking more, and swapping Facebook and Instagram for a good book, we give ourselves a better chance of success.
Be Prepared for Bumps in the Road
Life is a roller coaster. It can be up and down, left and right. We can have great days, and we can have dreadful days. Being prepared for the hurdles of everyday life can help you cope when things don’t go to plan.
Look ahead at your schedule each week and highlight any areas or days that might throw up any potential banana skins. If there’s a day you always end up overeating or drinking, then think about what you can do to limit the damage. Have a plan and stick to it.
One of the most effective ways of staying motivated is making yourself accountable for your actions. The thought of being seen as a failure in the eyes of your friends, family, work colleagues, or coach is a powerful incentive to keep striving forward. So, by shouting your intentions of improved health and fitness from the roof tops, you’re more likely to stick with it when the going gets tough.