I’d be willing to bet that the F-word people are most afraid of hearing is failure, more specifically to be referred to in such regards. But the thing is, and I cannot stress this enough, if you do anything in life, you are going to fail! This isn’t meant to be all nihilistic or depressing. My point is that it happens. It does not mean that you can’t succeed at whatever it is you were trying to do. It just means you didn’t succeed this time. Just because you failed at something, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. Instead, it means you can learn from this experience and you can try again using a different approach.
1 + 4 = 5 but so does 2 + 3
This is exactly what I am doing. For those of you who may not have seen my previous blog post I recently fell off the wagon in terms of taking care of my health. There were some definite holes in the foundation of my lifestyle that cracked under pressure. For a while I felt like a complete failure until it dawned on me that life is going to happen whether I try to achieve my goals and enjoy my time. And let’s be honest, I’d rather look back on my life and be glad I tried, rather than wish I had tried. So now, I’m building a strong foundation. This isn’t my first time climbing back on the wagon either, however it will be different.
Step 1: Change In Mindset
Have you heard the saying To Change Your Life, Change Your Mind ? Sure it’s a little cheesy and perhaps worn out, but it’s true. It’s also a little bit deeper than changing your mind about having pizza for dinner and opting for a baked chicken breast. Changing your mindset requires you to look for where you went wrong previously and changing that. In my case, I need to change my mindset towards food. For anyone who has been keeping up with my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I went on a crazy health kick for a while. Around this time last year I had given up refined sugar and processed foods and I was eating 8-10 servings of veggies a day (that is a shit tonne of veggies). Sure I was eating “healthy” as hell, but my body hated me. I had no energy because I wasn’t getting enough calories, but I also couldn’t bring myself to eat another goddamn vegetable or plain chicken breast. And you know what? The minute I started back at school, I couldn’t do it anymore. I ended up binging on pizza, ice-cream, cookie, brownies, chips… The list goes on. My point is: my lifestyle was not sustainable. My mindset at the time was that being healthy did not involve any of those foods. That ended up being a big problem. Last summer I was being a COMPLETE IDIOT. I couldn’t go out with friends because I couldn’t eat that or it would interfere with my workout. Well guess, what I sacrificed having a lot of fun and good times so I could see a lower number on the scale which ended up skyrocketing back up in a couple of months anyways.
Now that I know where I went wrong, I can change my mindset. Going forward and making changes in my lifestyle, I will have to ask myself if these changes are something I can sustain for the next 5 years. If my answer is no, then there’s no point in doing it!
Step 2: Baby Steps
Start small and leave room to grow. Another cheesy quote that is probably overused, but again, it is so true. You can’t expect to go from being a couch potato to a bikini model right away. Going from one extreme to the other is not healthy… it’s extreme. Kind of like how going from having sweets everyday to quitting sugar cold turkey is extreme. It’s extreme and it doesn’t work.
Yes, goals are good. But start small. If you have a tendency to blow off things like going for a walk after work in favour of eating chips and binge watching Grey’s, then don’t expect to be running an ultra marathon anytime soon. That is how you set yourself up for failure. You need to wade in the shallow end before you can jump into the deep end.
Starting over (again) means starting with small things. I know that if I turn on the TV in the morning I’ll be glued to it all day. So, that means that I won’t turn on the TV in the morning. Sure, I might have a shit day down the road where I don’t want to deal with whatever it is, and that’s fine. Sure, I should deal with my problems instead of watching TV, but I’m still human. I know it’s going to happen. It does not mean I fail, it just means I need a day.
Starting over also means it’s time to get moving. Weight lifting has always been my preferred workout, but before I can get back to pumping iron I need to regain some of the flexibility and range of motion I’ve lost while being a couch potato.
The final baby step to take, and what is probably going to be the most difficult one for me is going to be in the kitchen. I’ve never had a good relationship with food, so that is what I am going to work on. To do this means working on balance. Yes, there are going to be days where I eat a pint of ice-cream, but I will let myself do so because, again, I am human. I won’t make myself feel guilty about it. I won’t tell myself I’ll start “eating clean” tomorrow. I will focus on eating well, listening to my body, and getting enough nutrients.
Step 3: Commitment
After following the fitspo/fitblr community for 6 years you see a lot of people who commit to something only to break their commitment shortly after. I can’t even count the number of people I’ve come across who have done this or that diet for a couple of days or the people who are going to start their goal this Monday… EVERY GODDAMN MONDAY!! The point is, you kind of start to roll your eyes at these people because they don’t commit and you know they don’t commit. Now, turn the looking glass to yourself… As much as I hate to admit it, I have been that person in some way or another. In the 12th grade I signed up for the 1500m race in track only to bail after 400m because I could never commit to training for the race. For months I told myself I would get up in the morning and train before school. Obviously that never happened.
The point is, can you take yourself seriously? It’s fine to dream big, but if you do, you have to commit and follow through, otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure, again!!! Once you have changed your mindset and started to make baby steps you need to commit to them. If you tell yourself you are going to hit the gym three times a week then make sure to follow through. If, for some reason, you can’t make it those three times, have a good reason for it. “Not in the mood to do it” is not a good reason. Our brains recognize patterns, so teach it the pattern of showing up for your commitments. Don’t be a flake. That’s why it’s important to start with small commitments. I’m committing to eating a fruit or veggie with each meal and going for a walk and stretching before I start work. For some people this might seem daunting and to others this might seem like not enough. Again, not the same approach works for everyone.
Set Yourself Up to Succeed
Obviously we want to be succeed, otherwise no one would try anything. We all have goals. My goals have always been to live a happy and healthy life now I’m also choosing to add balance to the list. I’ve already failed a number of times at reaching my goals because I wasn’t striving to maintain balance. For me, going forward, it is important to focus on this mindset while taking baby steps and committing to my goals. In order to set myself up to succeed I needed to learn that being healthy meant having balance. Sure, I went a whole summer without added or refined sugar, but my mental state was a mess. and as soon as I stumbled, I fell hard. Balance lets you be flexible and find what works for you.
Here’s to starting over, again, with a new approach!