I had a client message me last week, asking for advice on the mental aspect of the changes she’s undertaking to improve herself and her life. She’s eating well, she’s exercising more, and she feels fantastic for it. But, work is mega-stressful with 60-hour weeks and looks to be that way until the end of April. Plus she has two children. So now, she’s getting to that point where things have been going well, but the thoughts that usually creep in about giving herself a break or even giving up have started to come.
Any of this sound familiar? If it does, please read on.
This client, let’s call her Jenny, has hit that crucial point that everybody stuck in the Slimming Cycle hits over and over again. That inevitable fork in the road. Things are going well, but all of these new daily and weekly actions are starting to create strain, and something’s got to give. Usually, that ends up being the productive new habits, and we slip back into our old, more familiar, less productive ones. And then feel shit for it.
So me and Jenny talked through another option, a third fork down the road if you will. Another way to move forward.
We started to break it down. So how about you and I do the same?
If I were to say:
Your thoughts determine your actions.
Would you agree?
Hopefully you would, but if not I’ll write something else to convince you of that in another blog soon.
So, if you’re thinking the usual thoughts that lead to the usual actions, we need to change the way you think.
Just like how we change how you exercise, and how you eat.
You make time to plan and work on those two, so why wouldn’t you make time for the third aspect that determines what you do and whether you actually do the work on the first two?
Mind blowing. I know.
We all know the productive actions to take to change our current exercise routine. Walk more. Go to the gym, maybe do some classes. Turn the Wii on and play Just Dance for 3 hours. That last one just me? Cool no worries.
And we all know the productive actions to take to change our current nutrition routine. Write a weekly meal plan. Write a shopping list. Drink more water. Reduce processed foods. Increase wholesome foods. Maybe smaller portion sizes (maybe larger depending on your goals and current situation).
But not many of us know the productive actions to take to use to change our current thinking routines. So we assume they don’t exist. And don’t know where to start. Or even where to start looking to find out where to start.
Here is where you look to find out.
The Best Way To Start Any Lifestyle Change
Start small. Ever heard of the K.I.S.S. principle?
No it’s not about painting your face, sticking your tongue out, and wearing a lot of leather. It’s this:
Keep It Simple, Stupid
One thing that contributes to staying stuck in the Slimming Cycle is the way we start the changes. We take on ten (usually more) changes at once, using all the tools above and more.
And this almost never works. Don’t get me wrong, occasionally it does, for a handful of people. But if you’re stuck in the Slimming Cycle, you’ve tried this tons of times already, and you’re not one of those people. Please, for your own happiness, accept that and start a new way.
Start by taking just 1 productive action. 3 productive actions tops. And make it as easy as possible for yourself to stick to that tool. Then, when it doesn’t require thinking about anymore – step it up. Now repeat until you’re performing those productive actions as HABITS.
The Mind Tool me and Jenny talked about followed the KISS principle. And has the potential to be a springboard into a whole new life for you if you commit to it. Don’t overwhelm yourself, keep it simple, and feel the difference in your life.
Give this a try:
- Find 5-10 minutes you can commit to yourself.
- Then find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Allow yourself to slow down, close your eyes, and just focus on your breath.
- Set a timer with a gentle alarm to let you know when the time has passed. (You can use apps like Calm, Headspace, or Pzizz for this. I like Pzizz at the minute. But my preferences changes through the year for some reason.)
- As you breathe in, say the word “Just” in your head. As you breathe out, say the word “Breathe” in your head.
- It’s okay if you get distracted, that’s normal. Just notice your thoughts have tailed off, and gently come back to “Just. Breathe.”
This is meditation. And it’s the first step to changing your thoughts from the frantic mess they probably are now, to thoughts of clarity, calm, and productivity.
Let me know how it goes.
Title image via.