Remember learning how to ride a bike? How many times did you fall off before you got the hang of it? And even after you learned, there were surely occasional mishaps, but, chances are that you got back on. Pursuing a healthy lifestyle is a lot like that. From time to time you'll fall off. The key to getting back on is to acquire the skills and self-knowledge that will enable you to recover after a relapse. Life is full of ups and downs and I understand that sometimes life gets in the way of what we are trying to achieve health and fitness wise, but I believe that that is never an excuse to give up!
Unhealthy lifestyles create a self-perpetuating and vicious cycle. It begins with feeling like you have an understandable justification or that you don't have enough time, or energy, or strength, or emotional wellness, to pursue a better living. When you neglect healthy living, though, you end up feeling even worse. And of course, feeling worse makes it harder to exercise, to take time to cook, and to make other good choices. Thus by abandoning healthy living, you can find yourself trapped in a cycle of plummeting health. The only way out of this is to find a way to incorporate healthy changes, however small, over time. We need to look at things as a challenge not as an obstacle. We should always embrace each step of our life to exploit the best out of it.
As with everything in life, for example; losing weight in a healthy, sustained way takes time. If expectations are too high (such as those given by certain fad diets) there are bound to be disappointments, which can be huge motivation crushers. The mind is such a strong tool. Use it to achieve what you want. Visualise yourself being fit and the satisfaction that comes with it and apply it every day to help you stay motivated.
When dealing with stressful or busy situations many often tend to slack off of the one thing that frees our mindset! If you think healthy living simply takes up too much time, you need a reality check. Sure, 30 minutes of exercise means you can't spend that time binging on TV shows, but a better lifestyle can also gain you some extra time by helping you live longer. The benefits don't just include the distant possibility of a longer life, though. Unhealthy living is taking up more time than you might realise. Doctor's appointments due to obesity-related conditions, being slowed down by the chronic pain of a sedentary life and getting sick more often all take up more time. Likewise, unhealthy habits—such as spending your time endlessly refreshing your inbox or your Facebook feed eat away a lot of time that could be spent doing something more useful.
Everyone wastes time, this is a simple fact of life. But time wasted is time that could be spent doing something more valuable, so better time management begins with discerning how you waste time. Try observing yourself for a week - keep track of all the time you spend bored on the Internet, using social media or reflexively picking up your phone. You may be surprised to see that a dozen or more hours of each week are wasted on tasks you don't enjoy and don't have to do. Once you have a grip on where you're wasting time, it's time to begin more effectively budgeting your time. Time is just like money. A valuable good that you can't get back once you've spent. So just as you budget your money, consider budgeting your time. Make a schedule each day, and set clear, actionable goals for each week. Tasks such as “lose weight” or “be nicer” have no place on your to-do list. By focusing on broken down and achievable goals and working them into your schedule, though, you greatly expand your capacity to actually bring these goals to fruition.
Our society is busier now than ever before, so no matter how committed you are to living a healthier life, the odds are that something is going to rob you of your time. One of the most important keys to long-term health is finding the time for healthy choices even in the midst of chaos. Rather than getting upset when you have to wait in line, start treating this waiting time as a “bonus” time. Some easy ways to incorporate healthy choices into a chaotic life include:
-Parking further away from the grocery store so you get a brief walking workout.
-Doing a 30min home workout instead of a gym session.
-Controlling your environment by filling your home with healthy, wholesome foods. Having healthy foods in the refrigerator means that you're less likely to stop and grab something greasy on the way home from work. Don’t rely on willpower. Some people think they can have cookies in their home and use willpower. Then they get mad at themselves when they eat them. Eliminate unhealthy food from your shopping list. If the family wants desserts, they can go to the ice cream shop for one serving.
-Taking time to plan your day when you have to wait in line.
-Scheduling appointments on your calendar for meal prepping and workouts.
-Doing related tasks at the same time. For instance, if you have to wait on hold with your bank, this is a great time to dash off some short emails.
-Taking a few moments each day to focus on your breathing. This helps centre your mind, and something as simple as counting your breaths may help you more effectively manage stress.
The demands our world places on us are bigger now more than ever before, but this doesn't mean you have to give up on healthy living. Never underestimate the power of feeling healthy and fit. Indeed, making healthy lifestyle choices may be the best thing you can do to manage the chaos of an increasingly challenging world, never give up on that!
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