We all set goals and expectations beyond what we can achieve. We don't get fat or overweight overnight, so why do we expect things to get better overnight? When we don't meet those goals and expectations, the easiest thing to do is quit! It took me 2 years to lose my 140 pounds, and it was not easy, there was no magic bullet that made everything easy and quick. It is still a daily struggle to pass up the peppermint chocolate bark, the mashed potatoes, or the fruit cakes (Well maybe not the fruit cakes). It takes hard work, and most of all a lifetime committment from you to yourself to make the changes. It’s also not just that one commitment you must make to change your life, it is the 1000 plus choices you make daily to support that commitment.
So what is it you tell yourself, what excuses do you make about why you don’t exercise regularly, eat healthy, drink too much or smoke in the face of overwhelming evidence that you are literally killing yourself? So what can you do to make and keep your commitment to a healthy lifestyle?
Here are a few things you need to know about commitments, especially commitment to a healthy lifestyle: it can be hard, no kidding.
- Commitment can be inconvenient.
- Circumstances change, people change.
- Commitment is a promise against an uncertain future: you may not feel like it next week, you may have extra work to do or it might be raining.
- Become aware of what has stopped you in the past.
- I will never be thin, everyone in my family is heavy.
- Diets just don’t work for me, I have tried everything.
- I hate exercise.
Do you suffer from lack of planning, thinking I will just squeeze it in? The truth is you do need to plan. So make a realistic plan about what you can do with the time and resources you have and just stick to it, one step at a time, one day at a time. Plan to get up 30 minutes earlier, walk to meetings or other activities that you might usually drive to, take the stairs, take a walk at lunch, etc. STOP looking for the closest parking space and get off that elevator!!! In just under 4 weeks I had my 63 year old mother, who never ran a day in her life, competing and completing her first 5K race!
Do you procrastinate? I will get started next week, after vacation, I don’t want to start unless I have the perfect opportunity, etc? Today is the perfect day to start regardless because as my father told me as a child, TOMORROW NEVER COMES! As Nike says,” Just do it!”
Maybe you are so busy serving others, you don’t find time for you and you think that is OK. Be accountable, own your own NO. Really it is OK to take care of you and to say NO. Stop being your own enabler!
You give up quickly; you think you will never be able to accomplish your fitness goals. Every journey starts with the first step and then the next and so on. The key is to keep going, even if you have a bad day or miss your goals for today or tomorrow or took a week off because you were sick, lazy, too busy, etc. Just start today. Set yourself up for success, small yet achievable goals!
Do you get tripped up because you don’t like being told what or how to do something? Are you resisting the structure required to sustain a healthy lifestyle? Be honest with yourself, take charge and make a conscious choice, make a different choice, a choice that will support your goals. Go to the gym and hire a personal trainer to start, give yourself someone to hold you accountable other than yourself. Learn the workouts and proper techniques, then if you choose go off on your own!
Are there people in your life that aren’t supportive of your goals for living a healthy life? For some people it is a threat if you get healthy. Don’t share your goals with people who will not support your effort. You unfortunately must step away from those people. Still today I have people trying to force me to drink alcohol or eat things I know I shouldn't, they are only hindering your success!
Do you fear failure or success? Quiet the Lion of terror with Action. You will never be as fit, thin, disciplined, dedicated, as fast, as someone else? Compete against yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others, strive to improve you daily. Keep a journal and track your personal success. I took a picture of myself before my journey in a doorframe, they never change, but you will!!
You may have a very large pile of excuses and thoughts that will justify your actions. Simply own your choices. You get to choose. So here are a few tips to build that commitment muscle:
- Be Present and make conscious choices about what you commit to and what is worth your commitment and the effort required to support that commitment.
- Be Intentional about your commitments. Only make commitments you truly intend to and are able to keep.
- Be Comfortable saying no; learn to establish healthy boundaries.
- Be Aware of what you are telling yourself about your ability and willingness to keep that commitment.
- Be Realistic about what is possible with the time, resources and energy you have and what might be required for you to keep that commitment.
- Be Willing to keep all of the commitments and agreements you make-no matter how difficult or how costly. This will build your “commitment muscle”, strengthen character and inner trust.
- Announce your goals so others can support, encourage and hold you accountable. But do avoid the naysayers