This build-up period is proving to be quite useful, not least as a low risk way to prove and test a few of the basic ideas. While I am sure that things are going to get harder from here on in, so far it’s turning out to be relatively simple to make the switch in thinking and attitudes.
Some key elements of making a start on creating changes include:
approach it with enthusiasm and excitement
Whether it’s the idea of getting up at 5am and going for a walk, eating a plateful of salad, sitting down to write a blog, or anything else you’re putting off, the task can be easily achieved, or made impossible. Which of these occurs is entirely up to you and your thinking.
If you’ve got it fixed in your mind that getting fit, for example, is hard work that you don’t enjoy and you’re only going to do it because it’s the right thing to do… well I can pretty much guarantee that even if you get started, it won’t last. As a serial gym-joiner, seasoned excuse-finder and veteran procrastinator, I think I have the credentials to comment on that!
On the other hand if you take the fear out of the idea of exercise, start out with something simple, do something enjoyable like a pleasant 15 minute walk with the dog – suddenly that big bad wolf doesn’t seem so bad.
don’t stress about the bigger picture
Having an overall goal is great, in fact I would suggest that the more specific your goal is the more likely you will be to generate excitement. However, worrying and stressing about the final outcome, and how it will be achieved, is counter-productive.
For example, I have purposely set a goal that is so far from my comfort zone that the distance is measured in light years. I did this for a slightly different reason than you may choose your goals; I want to prove a point. On the flip side though, the goal is very specific, which gives tremendous drive and focus to things almost automatically.
When I wake up and drag myself out of bed to take the dog for a walk though I’m not thinking about marathons, or even running in any way, shape or form. If I did that I’d be sure to give up fairly quickly.
While it may seem trivial in these early days, it is a technique and approach that should work well further down the track.
enjoy the moment
This really ought to happen automatically if you get the first two pieces in place. If you approach something with genuine enthusiasm and excitement, if you aren’t stressing about the other pieces of the puzzle that you don’t even have yet… then you can simply focus on what you’re doing right now and ENJOY it for what it is.
Enjoy the sunrise as you take an early morning walk, enjoy the flavours of the asian salad you’ve bought or prepared for lunch, enjoy the feeling of being productive as you focus on a specific task.
Enjoy it for what it is, to the exclusion of everything else. The stress, panic and worry about the changes you’re making, or from other areas of life, will disappear temporarily at least. Who knows they might eventually disappear altogether!
it’s in your hands (or head)
Ultimately the aim needs to be to create permanent change – a temporary fix won’t address the underlying behaviours that led to being unfit and overweight in the first place. If old habits are going to be replaced by new, healthier ones then those new habits are going to have to be fun and appealing, otherwise they won’t stick.
Fortunately, whether something excites you or evokes fear is largely down to the way you manage your thinking. Take control of that and everything else will flow on from it.