“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” ~ Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior
Last month I grew tired of listening to myself come up with excuses for cutting corners on my health practices. Yes, it’s been a rough year. But, shouldn’t hard times be a reason to increase these practices rather than cut corners? Don’t I need more sleep and exercise? Isn’t stress and grief a time for healthier food rather than the opposite?
I got honest with myself. I was engaged in a bit of insanity. It’s magical thinking if I eat more and exercise less and then act surprised to see my clothes are tighter and I am winded when I walk up a hill. It’s nuts if I think I can be the exception to the rules of science, nutrition, and medicine. Yet, my actions showed that I was willing to maintain this delusion.
I am motivated to live a consistent life, and if my words don’t match my actions, I need to put up or shut up. So, one day I just got sick and tired of pretending, and I set some modest goals. It began with being accountable. I started keeping a log of what I eat, how much water I drink, and how many minutes I am physically active. This simple act has helped me more than anything. I’m seeing results, especially in my energy level.
I think there is some truth in Dan Millman’s words, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” (This quote is often attributed to Socrates, but it comes from a character named Socrates in Millman’s book.) It helps me to make certain habits non-negotiable. When exercise is an elective, I will often elect to not do it. When it is a requirement, I don’t need to spend a moment discussing it.
In full confession, change is uncomfortable, even painful at times. But the rewards begin to outweigh the effort, which creates momentum. Feeling good feels good.
I also use tricks to help me stay on track. Here are some that work for me:
- Setting obtainable, measurable goals.
- Laying out my workout clothes the night before.
- Scheduling my exercise.
- Keeping track of what I did.
- Not overdoing physical activity.
- Always carrying shoes and workout clothes with me in the car.
- Planning and keeping log of my food.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Working out with others.
- Being an encouraging coach to myself, and never being hard on myself.
- Using long podcasts that I want to listen to in entirety to coincide with aerobic activities.
Keeping a log is good for me because it helps me see where I might be having a problem. For instance, I saw how little protein I was getting, and could experiment with ways to increase it. The log keeps me honest, and helps me to think twice before eating something high caloric.
The bottom line is that health tricks became health treats. What tricks help you stay on track to reach your health goals?