by Aura Muccio
There you are chugging along, getting to the gym at a regular schedule, feeding your body yummy nutritious foods, getting plenty of sleep. You’re seeing positive changes in your physique, in your strength, in your general attitude – basically, you’re feeling great. Then one day, BAM!, something happens. You don’t get that promotion you were after, your in-laws are coming for an extended stay, you broke the laces of your favorite sneakers – whatever it is, it’s just enough to send your mind in a tizzy and you end up feeling … blah.
OK, OK, so, logically we all know that there are some things that are *worth* feeling blah over and other things that we should be able to handle better. But, sometimes, it’s the littlest things that happen that eventually get our mind in to a rut and it starts to sabotage our best intentions.
Our minds become our enemy.
What do we do when it’s our MINDS that are actually throwing us off our healthy-lifestyle journey?
Side note: I read somewhere that your mind will come up with any excuse to NOT exercise and to NOT eat healthy – because really, your mind wants you to store up energy (sit on the couch?) to prepare to fend off or attack that cheetah in the Serengeti. I get it, it’s doing its primeval job. But, really? I don’t know about you, but I don’t see that chase across the plain happening in my future.
Really, we need to arm ourselves with weapons for when our minds are our own roadblocks in achieving a healthier lifestyle. Here’s a few ideas that work for me – maybe it’ll help you. OR, better yet, if you have any to share with ME – then win-win for all of us!
1. Counter Intelligence
One of the most effective ways I’ve found is to literally trick my mind into thinking it’s a good idea to get to the gym, eat healthy, whatever. Just fake it! Make your mind believe what YOU want it to believe, don’t even give it a choice! Set that appointment with your trainer and now you HAVE to go regardless of what your mind thinks it wants to do. Buy only healthy groceries and now you HAVE to eat healthy because you feel bad wasting your money. Act like you feel like going to work out and lo-and-behold, eventually you really will!
2. Hand-to-Hand Combat
A little one-on-one with your mind might just do you some good. Sit down and make a list of all the reasons why you started on your healthy lifestyle path in the first place. Additionally, add a few things that weren’t originally on your “goal list” that are a surprising by-product such as being a role-model for the children in your life and being an inspiration to your family and friends. Making a list will level the field and remind your mind what it cared about in the first place, and what makes it so important for you to get back to it.
3. Boxing Maneuver
Enlist the help of your friends, family, trainers, and random people at the gym, the more the merrier! Get a bunch of people that will join in your healthy lifestyle journey and that will hold you accountable for your actions (inactions?) Surround yourself with people and situations that are inspiring to you. Attack from all sides and your mind won’t have a choice but to give in.
4. Flanking Maneuver
Try attacking your mind from a different angle. Try a new class, sign up for a nutritious cooking course. Get out of your comfort zone for a little and you’ll see how great it feels! Your mind won’t have any choice than to go along with this “new awesome feeling” which is really the original awesome feeling just in a different way (phew! Did that make sense?)
Cut yourself some slack already! Hey – sometimes – you just have to throw yourself a pity party. Sometimes you just need to back off and give your mind and body a recharge. Maybe you just cut back a little (lighter weights at the gym? Go twice a week instead of five? Have four Oreos instead of one?) Maybe you just need an all-out “woe-is-me” timeout. Give yourself a deadline – a week? Two days? I promise, by the end of it you’ll be so sick of being so pitiful for yourself that you’ll remember how awesome it feels to feel healthy and strong – and you’ll get back at it!!
So armed with these strategies, you should be able to thwart whatever your mind is plotting to throw at you. Someone really cool (ahem, Kerry) once said: “Your body can do it, don’t let your mind get in the way.” Truer words were never spoken.
However - NO MATTER WHAT … just remember that living a healthier lifestyle is a JOURNEY. This is not a non-stop, one-way flight. This is a round-the-world multi-stop adventure with turbulence and warm towels to wipe your fingers and crying babies and free upgrades to first class. ENJOY the journey – TREAT yourself awesome – and remember you’re never flying solo.