WINTER IS UPON US
Winter is upon us! In the Midwest that means cold temperatures and lots of snow. I personally love the change of seasons in the Midwest, even winter. The air is clean and crisp, the snow covered trees are beautiful and there are so many fun things to do outside that you can’t do in any other season.
Winter can also seem like a season of hibernation. Lounging on the couch under cozy blankets, reading books or just being lazy. This downtime can be just as rejuvenating as the outdoor activities. The key is to find the balance.
For me, excuses seem to be more prevalent in February than in any other month. The excitement and fun of the holiday season is past. The new year motivation may have dwindled a bit (or a lot). Staying nestled under the covers for just 10 more minutes becomes more of a daily habit than an occasional Saturday thing. I struggle to find ways to break free of this February hibernation.
BACK TO BASICS & FOCUS ON THE “WHY”
I recently went back to basics, to the first program I purchased from Health Mastery Institute (HMI), the 66 Day Health Mastery Program. I continue to be amazed by how much information packed into this program. Not only does it give you a detailed program to follow for a healthy diet, it also gives you all of the reasons and science behind the program. The beautiful bonus is that the program also gives you exercises to help with motivation and helps you focus on “why” you are working towards changing your lifestyle. I think this is the key to implementing a program into a lifestyle.
SKIP THE “ALL OR NOTHING” MENTALITY
One of my biggest challenges with taking on a lifestyle change is an “All or Nothing” type of thinking. For example, “I ate a slice of pizza when I came home from work because I was starving, now all my hard work is ruined” or “I haven’t worked out all week and now I feel more tired and sluggish, I’m too lazy to make any real changes.” With this type of thinking and self talk you simply set yourself up for failure.
THINK IN “SHADES OF GRAY”
A simple and profound concept that I learned from the 66 Day Health Mastery Program is to think in “Shades of Gray”. I am not 100% perfect even on a great day and this is ok. Shades of Gray means that I accept that I am not perfect and that I can gauge my day, and all of the elements within my day, on a scale of 0% to 100%. For example: “I worked a 10 hour shift, I ate healthy balanced food that I planned ahead of time, I went on a 15 minute walk and I had popcorn when I got home from work because I was “craving” something salty and crunchy.” If I focus on my choice of eating popcorn so close to bed and only getting a short walk in for exercise, I feel like I sabotaged the entire day. If I look at my entire day on a scale of 0% – 100%, I can give myself a 100% for work, 60% for exercise, and 80% for diet.
WE LEARN MORE FROM OUR STRUGGLES THAN FROM OUR TRIUMPHS
In my opinion, we can learn more from our struggles than from our triumphs. I can learn from this day by looking more closely at how much I ate throughout the day and perhaps add something more to the food I bring to work or pre-plan to have something to eat when I get home from work. I can look at my 10 hour shift and my 15 minute walk and be happy that I got a little movement in. This can show me that I only have so many hours in the day and 15 minutes is not bad for that day. Even on a day where you have little motivation and you stress eat, but you pay bills and fold laundry and do dishes. This is still a productive day, just not one that feels great. So it is a 50% day and you get to have a different day tomorrow.
CHANGE “I SHOULD” TO “I GET TO”
This brings me to another pearl of wisdom from the 66 Day Health Mastery Program. Stop using “Should/Shouldn’t Statements.” I should exercise. I should do yoga. I should meditate. I shouldn’t eat donuts. Even though these statements are true, they make you feel rebellious, don’t they? Feeling rebellious makes you want to do the opposite. Simply rephrasing these statements can have an amazingly positive effect. I am able to exercise. I get to do yoga. I choose to meditate. I have the choice to eat that donut. You can still choose not to exercise on a particular day and that is ok, after all, it is your choice. Just because you choose not to exercise on a particular day does not negate the 10 other days that you were able to and choose to exercise.
DITCH THE DOUBLE STANDARD
Love yourself at least as much as you love your children, or your spouse or your parents or your best friend. Think about how you would respond to one of them if they choose not to exercise for a day or any other scenario you can think of. Then respond to yourself in the same manner.
LEARN FROM TODAY & MAKE DIFFERENT CHOICES TOMORROW
Winter is a season that can be challenging to find motivation. You can choose to do anything you want to do. Experiment with these little changes, how you approach your choices and how you evaluate them at the end of the day. Even a 15 minute walk, or completing household chores or eating popcorn and watching a movie after a long day gets you better than 0%. Learn from today and make different choices tomorrow.