“The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing” Walt Disney
I saw this quote today and thought it’s important to pick up because in this online age, as I have blogged about before, we are even more style over substance. We talk about our “goals” and advertisers continue to bombard us with “aspirational” images to sell us their products we didn’t think we needed until we felt inadequate because of the photoshopping… but amongst all of it, what are you actually doing? Is it too overwhelming to know where to start so you don’t? Of course we need some direction, whether you call it goal-setting or just planning but, most importantly, it needs to be realistic and we need to stop putting things off.
Of course we could dive deep into the psychological barriers to success in any areas of our lives but I’ll keep things relative to my professional experience for now! From a personal perspective, too often I have clients returning who haven’t implemented anything we discussed in the last session. It could be reducing carb intake or increasing protein. It could be going to bed earlier and practicing better sleep hygiene. It could be doing some simple mobility or strength exercises to finally get rid of those niggles… whatever it may have been there is often a block to implementing it.
The excuse is always “I didn’t have time” which we all know is rubbish, we can all make time for 10 minutes or self-care and order better in the weekly shop. I think there are many reasons why the implementation of lifestyle changes goes amiss, but one of the main things I see is people trying to to too much all together. If you think that you are suddenly going to be able to stick to a massive diet change AND a punishing exercise routine think again, these set people up for failure. Taking on unrealistic routines will just send you into a yoyo spiral and more often than not you just give up because you feel exhausted and miserable. Then you end up actually doing nothing.
Making any changes in your routine needs to be what I call a lifestyle change. Diets don’t work in any more than the short term. If you reduce calories drastically, yes you will lose weight. But to MAINTAIN the new weight you must know how much your new calorie intake should be and stick to that forever. And it must be sustainable if you want things to last. So it truly is a lifestyle change, there’s no going back unless you want your old way of living back too. This may sound daunting but if you take it one step at a time and actually DO that one step at a time you are much more likely to stick to it.
If we are continuing to speak in terms if diet and exercise then diet is always the top priority. For the average person, your heath will be dertimied 80/20 by what you eat vs how you exercise. You don’t need to starve, you just need to stop eating processed crap and drink more water, it really is that simple. If you feel really lost then speak to a nutritionist (or me!) for some straight-forward guidance. Once you feel comfortable you can look at your movement routine and with that, the important thing is do DO something you enjoy and will keep up. Again, exercise should not be a punishment, it should be fun or at the very least tolerable enough to stick to. There is no “right” type of exercise. It just need to be nothing that gets DONE, consistently.
So don’t put yourself under pressure to do it all, right now. Change one thing, then improve another so you can keep it up as your lifestyle and not just a temporary attempt at a quick fix. If you overehwhrealm yourself it will cause anxiety and then disappointment if you fail, so set yourself up for success by actually DOING, stop talking about it, there’s time for everything and it’s up to you how you spend it.