Looking to start feeling yourself again? If you feel like you’re stuck in a slump, you’re not alone. Most of us struggle to stay healthy and achieve the goals we set for ourselves. No quick fix will bypass what’s required to reach a higher level of lifestyle. That’s where the problem lies. We want to feel great now, but we don’t want to put the work in. The truth is, being healthy requires effort, but all that’s needed for us to stick to our plans is to change our perspective. A first step in the right direction. As the brilliant Albert Einstein once said; “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”.
The bottom line is you need to do what makes yourself feel good. When we don’t see the results in the short-term, we seek them out where we know they’ll be. Watching TV, eating junk food, or even taking drugs all activate the reward center of our brains. What all humans wish is to be rewarded. Society is so advanced that we can now be rewarded without earning what we crave. There’s nothing wrong with rewards, it’s our motivation.
The problem is our bodies doesn’t use the energy it has to chase after those rewards anymore. Why would it, if it no longer has to? In the short-term this feels fantastic. But in the long run, this creates a cycle in which there so much pent-up energy inside the body, there’s nowhere to put it. You have to carry that energy around with you every day. It’s energy no longer. Storage in the form of fat cells are packed away on the shelf waiting to be called upon. The bad news is until they are needed, they’re dead weight. Making every movement a chore.
If you don’t find a way to break the cycle, your internal fountain of youth will stop flowing. Make the decision and try to break this cycle or you will never feel yourself again. If you decide enough is enough and you want that youthful glow to return. If your aspirations for change exceed the opposing forces trying to prevent your growth. I have great news. It’s never too late to begin your exciting new journey. In fact, the later you start, the more you notice the positive change coming your way. That’s not to say you should put it off until it’s too late. Everyone has the potential to become better in countless ways. Once you decide changing is worth it, you’re ready for the second step. Knowing your why.
Why do you need to change? Whether it’s health trouble, wanting to do everything you love, being confident in your own skin or because you want to be at the top of your game, you need a reason. Having a reason why will push you through when the obstacles seem never ending. A reminder makes the pain worth it. It gives every struggle a purpose. Write down your why and make a promise to yourself. When you face a tough decision or when you lack motivation, stoke the fire by repeating to yourself why it will all be worth it. Small victories are what win the war.
Now that you have a solid foundation in your decisions to go for it and have every reason not to quit, it’s time for step 3. Habit upgrading. Figure out what your worst habits are. The excessive screen time, late night snacking, watching a never ending Netflix series, whatever it may be, find an alternative. You don’t have to give it all up. You can have vitality and still enjoy yourself. As long as you’re aware of bad habits and don’t let them run your life.
Find your worst habit, and think of a way you can replace part of it. If you’re an excessive pop drinker, try switching that second glass a day to a cup of herbal tea. Try your best to get a handle on your worst habits first, then focus on creating similar positive habits to take their place. Focusing your energy on developing these types of systems will exponentially help you reach your goals in the long run. In the short term they also use little willpower. Being accountable to a system is more effective than trying to take on challenges as they come at you. It pays to be ready. That brings us to the fourth step in the right direction. Accountability.
It’s invaluable to have someone hold you to your promises. The reason we go off track is there aren’t any consequences for giving up that are worse than those we receive if we do not change. We need to set boundaries and consequences for stepping outside of our imagined safe zones. For example; you set out to lose 15 lb in 2 weeks, without setting any consequences for failure. You’re down 14 pounds and tomorrow you weigh yourself to see if you’ve reached your goal. You sit down with a delightful plate of celery sticks (covered in peanut butter of course!) and are about to have your last snack of the night. The doorbell rings. You open the door to two adorable children. Brother and sister no less. Their eyes are wide with hope. They hold in their hands, your favorite treat. Mint chocolate cookies. They don’t have time to ask if you’d like to buy any. You’ve already snatched two boxes as quick as you could throw a $20 bill their way. The celery sticks are no match without consequences.
That brings us to our fifth and final step. Consistency. What will make or break your progress, is focus. You will set short and long-term goals, but once you achieve them you must continue following new ones. Having strength in consistency can be achieved by integrating positive new habits. Allow them to flow into your new lifestyle with ease. Set reminders to do new habits throughout the day to tunnel vision your focus. Being consistent will enable you to overcome your limits and control your setbacks. It’s much better to run a mile every day and have time to enjoy the view, then to run 5 miles a day and spend the following days too tired to take on life’s challenges. Integrate this new way of life to support equilibrium.
It all starts by making change a necessity. Continue by reminding yourself the importance of becoming your best self. Lighten your load by removing what holds you back. Energize your steps with positivity that propels you toward the finish line. Stay on the path by installing a fail-safe that will remind you, the consequences of failure far outweigh the hard work it takes to overcome obstacles. Reach the end of the road by never giving up on how far you’ve come. Never stop there. Forge a new path by crushing the limits that were never meant to be there. Explore your life with freedom. It’s how you’re meant to live.