Ready, set, go!
We all have different goals in life and these goals may change for the same person overtime.
Physical or mental goals are always present for human beings.
The real task is not thinking what we want. The hard part is getting it done.
I will speak from my knowledge area: health and fitness. But these points I will mention, can be applied to other areas as well.
We all think at some point of our journey, of getting stronger, healthier, leaner. Or maybe doing this new certification or course that will boost our career, reading that book that will bring you so much joy or even taking that needed break and rest.
What can we do to move towards change? To make our goals possible?
First things first: think what you want to achieve and why. There have been plenty of talks and papers on finding your why. From personal experience, mine and my clients’, I would say there is no real need to dig in so deep. But it is always better to understand why you are doing something. The reason behind it, will be what guides you, and your reminder to keep going when you don’t feel like it.
Let’s say you want to become healthier to keep your “bad” cholesterol levels down and prevent the risk of heart disease. Most likely, you will have to improve your eating habits and start exercising. Super easy on paper, but real life is not like that at all.
You will start feeling motivated and willing to make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle to eventually achieve this goal. You will be ready to take on these changes and get going.
You will go through your first week or two of the new practices and you’re nailing it, maybe even the first month.
But then, it’s your birthday, congratulations! Some friend or family members throws you a party, with amazing food and some alcohol in the mix. What do you do?
You think you have two options: avoid eating and drinking at any cost or eating and drinking everything you can because, why not? we only live once, right? Then wake up the next day, feeling guilt and remorse for what you did the night before. And now you may feel like giving up. This is where you’re why becomes so useful.
Introducing option 3!
You will learn this one with time, specially if a coach helps you during your journey, you will hopefully know this before that party.
This I learnt myself after years of restrictive diets and then bingeing in occasions like the party, feeling terrible the next day and not knowing what to do.
The 3rd options is great news! You can relax, enjoy the party, eat the food you want to eat and have that drink (mind you, I am not encouraging you to drink, but if you enjoy it from time to time, I won’t tell you not to do it). When you go to sleep, leave a diary, notepad, or even some sticky notes, next to your bed.
Waking up the next morning, before doing anything else, try and sit in your bed, take some deep breaths, and assess how your body and mind are feeling. Is there any pain anywhere? Do you feel heavy, bloated, or just right? How about those feelings? Do you notice any guilt, remorse, anxiety, or maybe you just feel happy you had such a blast on your birthday?
Write all of this down so you have it when you need it. And forget all about it the moment you get up from your bed.
Remember why you started this journey. Start your day as any other day. Go back to your regular movement and eating habits. Guess what? You are back on track!
The journal or diary practice is one habit you can potentially develop to help you stick to your goal.
Now, next time you know you will eat different or more than usual, refer to your diary. If you know last time it made you feel not too good, see if this time you can still enjoy the occasion but regulate your intake in some way so you don’t feel like that again. Maybe if you are going out for dinner, you can have a look at the restaurant’s menu in advance. Pick your food before getting there.
Maybe you choose to drink 2 glasses of wine instead of 5. You get the drill!
Now, defining a goal and sticking to it, brings up one key aspect for all of us: motivation.
We often hear ourselves saying things like: “I want to exercise in the morning, but can’t find the will to get up earlier” or “I wish I could eat healthier but can’t find it in me to get started”
Most times, we expect to wake up and suddenly feel motivated to move and make a change for good in our lives.
And most times, we find we are not capable of doing so without someone breathing on our necks and pushing us to do it.
Asking for help is an amazing first step! But you shouldn't need to have a friend, relative or coach putting constant additional pressure in your already stressful life.
Having a buddy or accountability partner, or a coach always helps. But how do we do it when we are on our own?
Here’s your life hack: ACTION!
Action leads to motivation, this in turn leads to results, which keep you motivated. So you keep doing more and more actions that feed your motivation and give you the results you want. It’s the new circle of life
Relying on feeling the motivation or only doing something when you feel motivated, will most likely lead to little to no action at all. What you can always rely on is your discipline.
Start with small action, something like the below:
Wish to start reading /listening to podcasts? How about using that commute time to and from work if you have it?
Would love to eat more fruits and veggies? Keep them in display, in a visible part of the kitchen.
We all got to start somewhere.
Want to start going for a walk/run in the park in the morning? Leave your sports clothes ready the night before, next to your bed even. Get up as soon as you wake up and the first thing you see should be those clothes. Put them on even before using the toilet.
But, these small actions once done consistently, will lead to other new small actions, and so on and so forth. And you will start to become who you want to become. You will start achieving those goals.
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