So, yesterday I started talking about rewriting unhelpful patterns that I recognized were keeping me from doing the things I know I want to do. And I started thinking more about specifically what are the themes that keep popping up for me, and what have I started to put in place to keep those situations from thwarting my good intentions? So to be extra helpful, I’ve collected the three big things that I find always throw me for a loop, and how I’m changing my mindset to see these challenges differently. I hope this is useful to you!
This August I set myself a goal for incorporating some sort of healthy movement every day for the month, and so far I’m hitting about 50%, which I consider a win since I think in July I worked out maybe four times. My life is kind of crazy so I give myself a lot of wiggle room when it comes to achievable goals, but I also know how easy it is for me to pull out Ye Olde Book o’ Excuses and thumb through until I find one that allows me to Netflix & Beer it. There are certain scenarios, when provided at a moment of peak weakness (i.e. stressed, hungry, possibly surrounded by children), that cause me to cast my growth-mindset priorities aside for the familiar and comfy.
And we’ve all been there. Possibly repeatedly. Maybe you set your alarm to hit that 5:30 am class, but now that it’s 5:00 am you’re like, “Meh, sleep is healthy, too.” Or you told yourself that you’d go for a run after work, but now that you’ve walked through the door the kids are crawling all over you and your spouse just handed you the baby and it looks like you are now putting on the Parenting hat instead, and isn’t family time important, anyway? Or perhaps your yoga buddy cancelled because their parents are in town, and the idea of packing up and going to class alone has lost its appeal. Despite our best efforts, it’s so easy for Life to derail our fitness plans. Not to mention bed is so cozy in the morning, and the couch is so comfy after work!
But if you’re like me and circumstances have made it easy to throw in the towel for the day, it’s always so much harder to pick things up again tomorrow. Not to mention the disappointment of “I would have felt so much better now if I had gotten my run in this morning” realization. So what can Current Me do to help Future Me keep my commitments? I have shared below a few strategies that I have been using successfully, so take a look, keep what you like, and leave the rest!
For When Bed is Too Cozy
On those days when I feel too lazy, or I just don’t want to get up out of my chair and change gears, I pull out Mel Robbins’s “5-second rule” for this one. The 5-Second Rule is pretty simple: based on the premise that it takes your brain 5 seconds to decide to do something, you simply tell yourself mentally, “5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … Go” and immediately get up to do the thing, no thinking about it. This is great for when I’m trying to get out of bed in the morning, when I walk in through the door at work and need to change into my gym clothes, or when I have a home workout scheduled and am procrastinating on starting. It’s so simple, it just works!
For When Expectation Doesn’t Meet Reality
I tend to get in my head the “perfect” scenario – the perfect yoga class, the perfect run, the perfect lift – and if my circumstances or energy level are anything less than my perfect idea of what I want to have happen, then I tend to make excuses on why it’s not meant to be right now. I drank a few too many beers last night, so I know I’ll feel lousy at Bodypump this morning. My legs are super sore from lunges yesterday, so if I go on a run I know I’ll feel sluggish. I accidentally fall back asleep after my alarm, and now I’ll be 10 minutes late for my early morning yoga class. I forgot my hair tie. Nothing disastrous (well, except for maybe forgetting a hair tie), just when my idea of what was supposed to happen doesn’t meet what actually happens. It’s easy to use minor setbacks as convenient excuses to say, “Oh, darn! Maybe not today, then.” But don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Accept that feeling bloated and sluggish at Bodypump is going to be a thing after last night’s happy hour, and that’s just fine. Go for a recovery hike instead of a run if you’re that sore. Show up to yoga late; it happens, and as long as you’re quiet and respectful in settling the worst you’ll get is a possibly a judgy side-eye from Judgy McJudgerson Pretzel Woman, and who cares what she thinks, anyway? Take the minor setbacks to demonstrate further proof of your commitment, and build up some self-efficacy in the process. We can do hard things!
For when plans change
You had plans to go for a walk on your lunch break and your boss just handed you an issue that’s on fire. Your Pilates-then-pinot buddy is stuck in traffic and said to go without them. You had a run planned but it’s now raining, or your bike has a flat. Similar to letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, a last-minute wrench in the plans can provide an enticing opportunity to allow fate to deal you another blow in your resolve. But we’re stronger than that, aren’t we? Take a deep breath, assess the new situation, and make a new plan. Maybe the stars have truly aligned out of your favor and a workout just isn’t going to happen today, and that’s okay. But if you can schedule your work walk at 3pm instead of lunchtime, bravely solo it to Pilates, or use the rainy day or flat tire as an opportunity to try out that new dance class you’ve been meaning to check out, then you’re proving to yourself your commitment, even when it would be easy to quit.
Do you have any other scenarios or tips you use to overcome obstacles in your habits building?
Go make it a great day, friends!