Procrastination is the lazy member of the group slowing everyone else down. Ever find yourself saying “I’ll do it later” “I’ll do it tomorrow” “I can’t be bothered at the moment” “It’s not that important right now” “I’ll do it one day”…Now ask yourself, how many times did you come back to those excuses and actually “do” the thing? My guess is never, or at least, not very often. Throw procrastination in the bin! Every time you catch yourself making an excuse, immediately tell yourself you’re making an excuse, rewire your neural pathways to recognise and acknowledge the ‘excuse’ in order to create new, healthy, habits! Our thoughts really do create our reality.
Start replacing lazy habits with active habits. I work with a very simple calculation I call the 1-24 approach. There are 24 hours in a day, that gives us 24 x 1 hour segments, or 48 x half hour segments. A 1 hour workout is 1/24th of your day! A 30 minute workout is 1/48th of your day! Now, I’m no stranger to full days, family duties, work and study commitments, chores, bills, and so on… and I am very aware how time poor our modern lifestyles have become, BUT, ‘not having enough time’ it is still NO EXCUSE for not getting motivated! We all make time for what we WANT to make time for. Remind yourself 1 hour or 30 minutes is only 1/24th or 1/48th of your day, this approach works not only for getting yourself motivated for movement and fitness, but for any time consuming task or activity. By rewiring your thinking habits ‘tasks’ become much easier and more manageable
Start journalling or noting your thoughts. Weren’t feeling great? Write it down, identify ‘what’ is not feeling great…Headache? Sore foot? Unhappy with a colleague? Upset with a family member? Money worries? It’s really important to start identifying the causes of what you holds you back, this way we can focus on specific areas requiring attention and stop generalising our feelings and emotions. We may need more water for hydration, we may need to discuss an issue with a colleague, we may need to work through family problems, if you have a sore knee, identify why, injury? illness? bad shoes? By noting down exactly why we feel a particular way and what may be the cause, we can then identify clearer ways to tackle problems more efficiently, and free up ‘me’ time.
Start journalling or noting your successes, however small they may be. Congratulate yourself for waking up 15 minutes earlier, recognise your own personal achievement of completing 5 sit ups, then 10 and so on, make notes on the healthier food choices you made that you enjoyed, be super proud of yourself just getting started. I honestly believe the most difficult part of any fitness training, strength development, weight management, or ANY new challenge is GETTING STARTED! Once you’ve started, keep going (just keep swimming, just keep swimming) then we start to build consistency. Reward yourself responsibly.
Seek out positvity. Spend time with people who encourage and celebrate you. Get out of bed and appreciate the sunrise. Go for a morning walk, or an afternoon walk. Find reasons to laugh. Encourage yourself by reminding yourself you are worthy. Understand any time spent on personal growth and tending to your physical, mental, and spiritual health is valid, rid yourself of feelings of guilt for spending time on you!
Clean out your kitchen! Start by eliminating ‘dead foods’ from the pantry and fridge. Foods such as chips, fries, chicken nuggets, packaged biscuits, white bread, white sugar, frozen microwave meals, two minute noodles, pies, processed meats… Replace them with fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh pasta, wholegrains, tofu…If you’re not vegetarian or vegan include eggs, tuna or salmon, fresh meat, fresh chicken. I know lots of people think the swap from dead foods to alive foods sounds ‘boring’. I cannot stress enough how misguided this is! Once you detoxify your system from all the dead foods you’re ingesting, and replace your dietary choices with alive foods, your system will not like returning to eating dead foods at all.
Get creative in the kitchen! Grab a few cookbooks – I was amazed at the quality of a few I grabbed from K-Mart, so affordale, and so good! or Google some healthy recipes and compile a recipe list. I had fun creating a ‘go-to’ recipe book for the kitchen with a combination of vegetarian, meat based, dinners, breakfasts, smoothies, desserts. Some were ‘quick’ recipes and others a little longer. The idea here is not to ‘diet’. Diets are not sustainable and you just end up feeling like you’re being punished. You want to be able to eat healthily from a full range of fresh, healthy foods.
Get cooking! I began with a wok and lots of green healthy veges, such as spinach, bok choy, beans, carrots, mushrooms, baby corn, tofu, brown rice, fresh chicken or meat, egg…I replaced my vegetable oil with rice bran oil, and experimented with herbs, lemongrass, lime, soy sauces, curry pastes. I used gluten free where possible. I replaced cream and sour cream with light coconut cream and coconut milk in cooking. I ditched the processed sauces, and started making my own. I replaced cow milk with rice milk or oat milk. I sometimes use honey but now prefer rice malt. Date syrup is a great alternative for use on deserts. Swap out ice cream for a plant based or dairy free ice cream. For lunch make fresh salads, lettuce or spinach leaves, tomato, onion, mushroom, carrot, mix through tuna or salmon, add hommus and egg. Avocados are versatile for breakfast and lunch (buy the rejected stock in bulk, much cheaper and they’re usually fine) Oats for breakfast, add fruit or prunes/dates/seeds, top with yoghurt and honey… Cut up a fruit salad – 3 fruits is all that’s needed, your choice, watermelon, rockmelon and banana as an example. Smoothies!! A ninja is a great start, a thermomix is heaven if it’s in your budget. Use fresh or frozen fruits and vegies, you can add yoghurt, light milk, supplements, you are only limited by your imagination! Make smoothie bowls! So yummy! Once you have started consistently replacing dead foods with healthy foods (and your body breathes a sigh of relief) you will start to understand just how ‘poisonous’ dead foods are. You will physically have more energy which leads to more motivation and better health and wellbeing generally. Once you’ve established a healthier meal and exercise schedule, you can still have the occasional burger, chips, dessert, gelato etc. Moderation (in addition to exercise) is key.
Drink lots of water. The 8-10 glasses a day is not an exaggeration. Drink at least 8-10 glasses a day, if you can drink more, then do so. Staying hydrated is critical to good bodily function and to shedding excess toxins and weight, it also improves hair, skin, and nail quality, among other benefits for your body. When we are dehydrated, we lose motivation and become lethargic, suffer headaches and fatigue…
Set realistic goals, write them down. Without goals, you risk blindly jumping in the deep end with no idea of where you want to be or how to get there. Short term goals…Want to start going to a fitness class? Find a nearby class, time, cost and commit to 1 class per week to start with. Already doing fitness classes, but want to do more? Commit to an extra class or 2 per week, ask a trainer for guidance on a specific goal so you choose the right type of exercise for your goals. Want to eat healthier? Start the pantry challenge above and replace one meal per day to start, then keep going. Long term goals. What do you want to achieve in 6 months? 12 months? 3 years? Is it weight loss? Is it overall fitness? Is it general health and wellbeing? Is it bouncing back after injury or setbacks? Is it strength development? This is critical to think about to set appropriate goals. Keep implementing more of the tips above to build consistency, make your new habits a way of life, NOT a fad, NOT a diet, NOT a one off attempt, consistency is the key to a sustainable, energetic, healthy lifestyle, and a healthier, stronger, fitter, you! Just GET STARTED. This further reading may help You Are a Badass Every Day: How to Keep Your Motivation Strong, Your Vibe High, and Your Quest for Transformation Unstoppable