You know what you need to do---things like exercise and eating right. You know you should do it. Sometimes you do it and sometimes you don't. Why is it that it's so hard to keep going on a healthy lifestyle? What interrupts the process?
I asked the MM groups that question this week, and we had lots of responses. There are aches, pains and injuries (like I'm going through now---can't walk or run right now!) There are food pushers and holidays when many of us over indulge. Celebrations that always come with lots of great food. Getting older. Low metabolic rates. Too little time. Stress, kids, emotions, weather, fast food, huge portion sizes, fatigue, spouses that don't want healthy food, spouses themselves... We even stop our own progress sometimes with attitudes like, "I'm tired of this," "I just want to eat," and "it's just too hard and I don't care."
I like to think of these challenges as if they are things that crop up and slow you down on a road trip. You may encounter potholes, deer, road construction, an accident, flat tires, detours, or even ladders falling off of trucks in front of you causing you to swerve to avoid a crash. These things just happen, but if our destination is important enough to us, we fix the flat tire and continue on our trip. We take the detour and adjust our estimated time of arrival. When you are working on a health goal such as losing weight, you are hit with all sorts of challenges. Holidays are huge potholes, celebration parties and food pushers may cause a flat tire. But, to get to destination of living in that healthier, svelte, buff body, we figure out solutions and keep on trying. We persevere.
The question is, if we really truly, deep-in-our-hearts want to achieve our health goals, when these interruptions occur, just how do we keep on going?
When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going! (Billy Crystal):
- Focus on why you want to be healthier. Make a list of what you are reaching for.
- Imagine what you will feel like when you achieve your goal. Create an entire mini-movie in your mind of how you might look, feel and act when you are healthier. Pretend that active person riding a bike along the road is you. See yourself smiling as you walk along the beach feeling good about yourself. Practice visualizing this movie frequently. Visualization is a very powerful tool to motivate positive behavior change.
- Develop an action plan:
- Decide on 1 -3 mini-goals you will work toward achieving this week or today? Write them down and plan to look at them often.
- Write down specific actions you will take to achieve these goals.
- Be mindful of your mini-goal and Just Do It!
- Even if you hit a pothole along the road toward success, shake it off and keep on going. It's not what happened that really matters, it's what happens next!