Started and failed more times than you can remember?
Yep, me too! And starting to write this blog I'm thinking I'm going to fail at this (well I might but if I don't at least try, I've definitely failed!).
The biggest problem with most things that we view as failures (I personally don't class them as failures but more about that later), is that we actually set ourselves up for failure. We do! When was the last time you started a new fitness routine or 'diet' and decided you were going to go to the gym 4 times that week for an hour each time. Or that you were going to have salad everyday for the next couple of weeks. Let's be honest, if you currently don't do much exercise or you've been eating unhealthily for a while, are those goals really setting yourself up for success?? Let me answer that for you.....No!
The next biggest problem is we're all so impatient. We want results fast, like yesterday. In our modern world now we barely have to wait long for anything, and we've forgotten how to be patient. And yes you could go on a meal replacement diet for 2 weeks and lose loads of kg's, but will you keep that weight off and has that taught you any new healthy habits? Or has it just taught you how to deprive yourself? As soon as you start eating 'normally' again, you'll put all that weight back on and quite possibly more. What percentage of people would you say start a diet and within 6 months have put that weight back on again?? Well I'm sure you're guessing fairly highly, but it's actually a whopping 98%! So what are the 2% that don't put it back on doing, as that's surely where we want to be.
If you keep getting the same results, then you have to do something different to get a different result. That's common sense right? So whether you want to create a new fitness routine, eat more healthily, become more mindful, lose weight or whatever your goal, you need to start to create new habits that support your goals so that you don't have to constantly make yourself do something, it simply becomes your natural behaviour without even thinking about it. But how do we do that?
Start Small (like laughably small) - instead of setting yourself a goal of going to exercise four times a week for an hour, break it down to something that it's impossible to fail at. A good example for creating a exercise habit, would be to to do 1 sit up a day (I wasn't joking when I said laughably small!). Now you're probably scoffing and laughing to yourself at how is that ever going to get you results, bear with me here. Imagine yourself having got in from work and trying to muster up the enthusiasm to go for a run. You give yourself all sorts of excuses....it's been a very stressful day at work and you deserve to just chill out, or you've been sneezing quite a bit today and so you're probably coming down with something and so best not over exert yourself. So you end up sitting on the sofa binge watching a new Netflix series (possibly with a glass of wine in hand). So how did that go with setting a new habit? Hmmmm, not the greatest start. However, imagine your goal is to do 1 sit up. There is simply no excuse that could possibly get you out of doing something so ridiculously small and so you sit on the floor and do a sit up. Well, that was easy you think and seeing as I'm down here I might do some more. You may even then decide, actually this feels good I'm going to do some squats of press ups now, or possibly go for a run. Because you started you're more likely to do more, but if you don't and you just do your 1 sit up, you've still hit your goal (you have to properly buy into this concept for it to work). The fact that you're hitting your goal (regardless of how small they are), that in itself with make you feel more positive and we all know that we make better decisions for ourselves when we feel positive than when we feel negative. Still not convinced? I challenge you to give it a go and see what happens. I use the 'Done' app to keep track of my habit building. Search 'Done' in the App Store or Google Play Store.
Consistency is Key - the current general thinking is that it takes roughly 66 days to create a new habit and so being consistent is key. The more regularly and consistently we're doing an action, the easier it is to form the habit. And once you've formed the habit, you will naturally be more likely to carry on with that habit as it will simply be your natural behaviour. This just confirms why starting small is so important, as it's much easier to be consistent!
Set achievable goals - ok so you've started to create new healthy habits which will help you on your way to hitting your goals, but make sure you set goals that feel achievable. If for example weight loss is one of your goals and you want to lose say 12kg, that may feel like a lot and you may get discouraged and fall off track. So break it down. Set your first goal as losing 2 or 3 kg and then once you've hit that, aim for the next 2-3kg. Again, this means you're hitting goals and feeling positive which is huge and will encourage you to keep going.
Get Support - everything is easier when you have people supporting and cheering you on. Do you have a friend or friends with similar goals? Then go on this journey together. Working with others is great, as one of you will generally be feeling more motivated than the other and so you take it in turns being the one that makes you keep going. Enrol your family and friends to provide support and encouragement. Just watch the look of fear come over your husband's/wife's/partner's face when you ask for their support. This happens all the time with my husband when I ask him to support me. If he encourages me to not eat that chocolate bar, then he thinks I’m fat and if he lets me eat the chocolate bar, he’s not supportive! They can’t win but that’s then up to you to ask and accept support and to remember why they are saying what they are saying - it’s not criticism, it’s love and support (like you asked for).
Set up Accountability - this is huge! I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to have someone to hold you accountable to your goals. It's what keeps us focused on our journey. Knowing that we will fall off track (which is inevitable), and when that happens we will get a loving kick up the arse to help us get back on track. That's why having a coach has helped so many people achieve their goals, as the coach holds you accountable but also will help you manoeuvre your way through challenges that stick their head up along the way (and as I'm sure you all know, there will be plenty of challenges). Without setting up accountability, it's easy to fall back into bad old habits and lose focus of why we started in the first place.
As I mentioned at the beginning failure is inevitable, but I don't see it is as failure, it's simply us learning that one way didn't work and so we try another. You only fail if you give up. Remember this......
There's so many other things that can help, but I've probably bored you enough already for one blog post. If you're interested to find out more, please do get in touch.
I wanted to finish with a little success story of my own, to hopefully inspire you to start your journey. I have always wanted to be able to do an unaided pull up, so with no band (for those of you that have ever tried, it's frigging hard!). Just 1 would be enough for me (set an achievable goal - although at times it didn't feel it). Well, I told my PT and we started to do banded pull ups in my work outs (consistency) and from time to time I'd try to do an unaided one. For so long, I couldn't do it. I'd dangle there holding onto the bar but I just couldn't pull myself up without the band. My PT supported me and kept encouraging me to try (support and accountability) and I clearly remember the day I finally did it. I think I was in shock that I'd actually did it, just 1 but that was all I'd wanted. I was beyond ecstatic and couldn't wait to call my husband on the way home. His reaction was "just 1?!". As you can imagine it wasn't exactly the response I was hoping for (it frustrates the shit out of me that most men can do pull ups without even really trying). He soon realised it was a big deal and was chuffed for me and my mates were seriously impressed. I can't stress to you enough how convinced I was that I'd never be able to do 1 pull up. But my mindset was correct and I followed the steps above and eventually I did it! We're off to LA after Christmas and my goal now is to do 10 pull ups at Muscle Beach (why not?! - although whether I'll have the balls to go in there with all the muscle men and women is another question). So I've now installed a pull up bar on our deck and am trying to create a habit of 5 daily pull ups to build strength and to increase to my 10 in a row.
Whatever your goal, you can totally do it, just set up the conditions for inevitable success as above and go! If you need some extra help or have any questions, please just give me a shout: firstname.lastname@example.org