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Monday January 7th, a week into January. Most people who started ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ would have ‘failed’ them already. Why is that? Lack of will power? Why do some people seem to be motivated and others don’t? Can you learn the tools?
YES you can learn the tools, and NO it’s not Will Power.
Where are we going wrong with the mixed messages in the media, the pressure to be doing something that you don’t enjoy, the ‘ALL OR NOTHING’ approach that January exudes.
When I am working with Wellbeing Coaching clients, we explore their fitness history, beliefs, we learn the tools to break the vicious cycle of ‘perceived failure’. We learn to understand our why, our motivation & build some resilience. We learn to prioritise our self-care, integrating one behaviour at a time, turning ‘it’s a chore to it’s a gift’, rewiring our minds, so we can build consistency. Ultimately, we learn to start enjoying life.
It all starts with how the majority think, and what they believe. So many people think of food and physical movement NOT as life essentials, that can give pleasure, but as ‘DIET’ and ‘EXERCISE’. These are felt as ‘SHOULD DO’ things, that eat into normal leisure time, they’re ‘CHORES’ and there is PAIN associated with it. We’ve separated our daily world away from movement. As a society in the modern world we’ve separated movement from our daily life so much so, that it’s a struggle to not see it as a chore. Modern living means people aren’t walking to work or the shops, they’re not walking back with bags of food it’s being delivered, they’re not even walking to school. Maybe they are going to the gym twice a week, but the rest of the week is sat down, weekends with box sets, weekdays of sitting. Which sadly means those 2 times a week must work really hard, to get you the results you’re after. But our bodies were meant to move. If we’re lucky enough to have limbs, then let’s learn to use them.
START LIVING LIFE.
When a client comes to me that is tired and exhausted of trying everything, thinking nothing works, going to the gym, trying all the plans and has had enough, I say stop. Stop TRYING. START LIVING LIFE. We live on this amazing planet, and so the first thing to do is to enjoy it. You’ll probably screaming thinking WTF! Stop going to the gym? My answer? Is it working? Are you enjoying it? No? You’re frazzled, you’re drained; we need to stop, re-calibrate, and reset.
What does EXERCISE mean to you?
Something I ask my clients right at the beginning is this very question, what are your beliefs on exercise? ‘For it to count, how many minutes do you have to exercise for?’ and ‘Do you have to sweat to make it count?’. When you explore these questions, you start to build up and understand the journey with exercise to this point, the emotions behind it, the pain, the story they’ve/ we’ve told ourselves, again about ‘what it should be’.
Doing what you enjoy is key to success. When it comes to exercise and movement, slogging it out in the gym or even attending a class you don’t like won’t cut it. Ask yourself, Am I exercising/moving in a way that I like? Is it relevant to my life?
To reap the extensive list of benefits from physical exercise, it’s not about the amount of sweat. Radical statement I know, but I work with clients where we are working to find joy. They may come to me with an initial goal of ‘weight loss’ or ‘fat loss’ but ultimately we are trying to find joy, joy in the daily activities, joy in getting out of bed and walking to the shops, joy in what we eat, joy in preparing food, joy in how we interact with people, how we use our body from moment we wake up until we go to bed. Once we’ve found joy, the commitment will come.
But where to start? The best question to ask is why? Why am I starting to move? To lose weight? To be slim? To prevent disease. All our answers, but are they enough? Is that enough to sustain lifetime commitment. Is that enough to stop seeing movement as an ‘add on’ in your life, and to see it instead as integral, an integrate part of your day, week, month, life? We’re all different and are all motivated by different things with different lives. The key is to find YOUR RIGHT WHY.
Once you’ve found your way, it’s key to then ensure your goals match with the level of commitment you can currently give? Without an action plan, the new year resolution, (or the pre-holiday promise, or whenever you make this sweeping statemen about health and fitness) is not different to the promise the previous year and will get stuck once again.
It’s a gift
Learning to turn the feeling that movement is a ‘CHORE’ into a ‘GIFT’ is key to your success. Learning to reset the mind and to understand and feel the benefits, the gift of more energy, less stress, productivity, mood, self-worth will allow you to sustain this commitment for life. Once you’ve replaced the chore with a gift, once you’ve replaced the wrong way with the right way, you’ll want to start immediately with another dose of ‘self care’. Once you’ve transformed physical exercise from that chore to a gift, your relationship with movement is changed forever.
I don’t have time? I have a family? I work!
Yes that is true. So do others. We all have 24 hours in the day.
It’s not supposed to be. When you make movement a gift, when you understand your why, when you’re moving that is relevant to you, fits in your daily life, and you have joy, you’ll be prioritising it too.
Ask yourself…Am I prioritising my own self care? Has caring for others taken over from caring for ourselves. Are we putting everyone else first? Are we using everyone else as an excuse to not look after ourselves? How do some people seem to have more time?
Remember when you were a child, and there’s that sense of curiosity, wonder, and learning.
Could you now as an adult approach life with a sense of that wonder, curiosity, and learning. With learning a mindset, you’ll have the strength and the tools to persevere, be resilient when faced with adversity and challenges. If you focus on learning how to sustain the behaviours that create our desired outcomes, long term success will be achieved.
Don’t think of change as a quick fix, it’s an ongoing pursuit, it’s a lifetime of movement and self- care. It’s a lifetime of living and a lifetime of joy.
Change your beliefs, Change your behaviours, Change your life.