Change...let's say it again....change. Still with me? I know, most people cringe at this word. You might be like me. I'm all for change when it is my idea but I have a hard time getting on board when someone else brings up the idea.
"If you want something you've never had then you're going to have to do something you've never done." .....Anonymous
Change can be hard but once you make the decision to make a change you are in control from that point foward. I made the decision a few years ago to give up sodas. At the time I was dealing with yeast overgrowth in my intestinal tract. After looking at what was in sodas: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup,caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors and caffeine. And that one can of coke has 39 grams of sugar I was ready to make the jump.
Here are my 4 steps to change:
#1 Decide what you want to change.
What are your goals? It will probably take you awhile to narrow this down. I'm going to step up on my soap box now. We live in a society where outer beauty seems to be the only thing that matters. So our goals tend to revolve around physical traits. "I want to lose 20lbs before my wedding." "I want to fit into that swimsuit by May" "I want thighs like Giselle Bundchen"....yeah right, that woman is a freak of nature. Okay off my soap box now.
My point is take a good long time to figure out your health goals. Maybe your mother has an autoimmune thyroid condition. One change might be to try an autoimmune diet. Or you decide that you want to be fit as a fiddle when you are 70. So you work on a long term workout plan with your favorite personal trainer that ensures you build muscle, burn fat all while doing exercise that is easy on your joints. You also include a sensible long term eating plan.
#2. Will this be a forever change or for a set period of time?
Take the previous goal of wanting to be fit as a fiddle when you are 70.. Deciding the time frame will help you wrap your mind around the change and what it will take. Your first step might be to ask around and find a good personal trainer. Or you have a neighbor who is in great shape at 70 so you ask them how they did it and that helps you when you interview personal trainers.
I'm sure you have heard it takes 21 days to make a change. I personally believe we each have our own time frame and it is up to you to find out what that is. It also depends on the complexity of the goal. Maybe you decide that you will finally learn to swim because you want to compete in a triathlon. And you haven't been on a bike in years. You would want to give yourself a longer time period to work on this goal.
#3. Plan your cheats
Really? Yes! No one is perfect so you need to know how you will cheat. When I gave up sodas, I told myself if I was going to cheat, I would do so with a real Coke from Mexico made with cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. What surprised me is how bad it tasted after I hadn't had a soda in a few weeks. It was too sweet! My tastes had changed. These days if I want to step outside of my beverage box, I'll have sweet tea and I can tell you my sweet tea is probably not near as sweet as a Sweet Leaf Tea Mint and Honey. Defining how you will "cheat" keeps the control in your hands. It also helps you from going over board because you have a plan and permission. Just be careful if your cheats become so regular they are part of the plan. Then it is time to go back to Step1 and remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place.
#4. Check in with yourself regularly
This is the final piece of success as it helps you track and evaluate your progress. It also helps you tune into how you are feeling. Before I talk about checking in I want to speak to the mushy part. Tuning into your feelings is an essential success factor for change.. How many times have you finished off a whole bag of chips in front of the TV after a bad day at work? Now you have had a bad day and you are going to feel guilty about that whole bag of chips. Many of use food as a negative coping mechanism. When I get frustrated or have a bad day, I sit down and put my feelings on paper instead of eating a whole candy bar. It helps me get my feelings out of my head and sort them out. Or I take a walk with my dog and tell her all about it. She is a great listener. Find what works for you or ask around to see what works for others.
Now back to checking in. Set aside time for you to look at your progress or at what may be tripping you up. This is also a good time to bring up another suggestion. Find a buddy that you can partner with. Then you can have regular check ins with someone who is going through the same thing. Go shoe shopping or take a walk on Town Lake with your buddy and talk through your successes, failures or coping mechanisms.
"All things are possible to him who believes" Mark 9:23
I hope this post was helpful. Please feel free to comment below and tell me when you have had success with change and what helped you.
I believe in you and what you can be!