Sometimes knowing what to do is easy.
If you’re trying to lose fat, make most of your meals higher in protein and vegetables.
You should workout 3-5 days per week (the more the better) with a mix of cardio (2-3 days per week) and strength (2-3 days per week).
Make your higher intensity days be 1 to every 2 of your more moderate or “easier” days.
For most people, if you’re working out 5 days per week, 1 to 2 of those days should be hard. You should be doing something that pushes you and challenges you to improve. The other days, you’re doing work you should be doing, but is going to simply help you stay healthy and active, but isn’t going to necessarily move you forward.
If you’re trying to play President, you should condemn Neo-Nazis and the KKK.
Like I said, sometimes knowing what to do is easy.
Putting it into practice can be a different story though.
So today, we’re doing to discuss some strategies that can help you put some of those actions into practice more often.
5 Strategies to Do What “You Know” You Should Be Doing
1 – Embrace the Suck
Want to know those who are successful with making changes and sticking to them and those who aren’t?
Those who make changes and stick to them don’t sugar-coat how easy it will be. In fact, they believe that it will be a struggle for them. It won’t be an easy road. They may slip up. Changing their habits will be hard. They know they won’t lose 20 pounds in the next 20 days.
And you know what? They’re fine with that.
They’ve learned to embrace it and because of that, they stick to the changes longer and when the going gets tough, they’re mentally prepared for it.
Contrast this to someone who thinks the road to betterment will be all sunshine and rainbows. They think they’ll lose weight quickly and they’ll only have to change one habit (for some people, this is absolutely true – you probably aren’t one of those people). When the going gets tough for this person, they stop and they quit.
They tell themselves, “Why am I doing this? This sucks.”
They’re not mentally prepared for the road when they’re up against something they don’t enjoy and they’re not comfortable doing.
“Embrace the Suck” is the notion that the road ahead may not be enjoyable, but it will be worth it.
2 – Make One Better Choice
How Does Change Start? Does it start with grandiose plans and then following those plans with perfect execution? Almost never.
Change starts by making a better choice in the moment.
It could be a choice of not getting a dessert you really want.
It could be going out with friends and only drinking club soda with lime and no alcohol.
It could be ordering that dessert and then only having one bite, because that’s all you really wanted.
It could be ordering salmon with vegetables, instead of a loaded burger with fries.
It could be going to the gym that one time you’re really tired.
It can be any choice that gets you closer to your goals.
But here’s the thing…this choice, should not only be a conscious choice, but also a choice where you don’t feel like you’re “missing out.” Instead it should be a choice that is adding to your life. Which brings me to my next point.
3 – Love Yourself into Change
You can hate yourself into following rules – at least for a bit. But what ends up happening is you end up hating yourself, the rules, and even if you get the results you were looking for, you’re not happy with those either.
Or, you can love yourself into making changes for a better life. With this, you allow yourself to not be perfect, and know that if you slip up, life goes on. Just pick yourself back up and get back on the ball.
Love can be harder for some though because it’s not how we were all taught and disciplined. Beyond that, we fear that if we aren’t “hard on ourselves” for making a mistake, then you’ll be too lax and won’t make the changes necessary. The truth is, those who are less stringent with their rules are at a better position to make changes and keep them more easily.
4 – Know there are cycles to change
I’ve written about this before, but know that changing any habit doesn’t happen at a constant pace – not in the real world, anyway. There are times when you will and should be really pushing yourself to change (like that 1-2 days per week that you’re going harder in the gym).
And just as the micro-cycle of the week has variations of how hard you should be going, so does the larger macro-cycle of change.
There are times of the year that are more conducive to larger changes (after New Years, in the Spring, in September). Other times of the year, you’re making some progress, but you’re not going to be as stringent, (May/June, Oct/Nov) and there are times when you’re barely maintaining (July/August and “the Holidays”). Each has its time and place.
If you’re on a two-week vacation in France. Enjoy it. Let yourself enjoy different foods. If you don’t workout, you won’t fall apart. You’ll be fine. Just pick yourself back up afterwards. Which brings me to my last point.
5 – Don’t Dig a Deeper Ditch
Establishing healthy eating habits is funny to me because it’s the only place that I really see some absolutely ridiculous behavior.
For example, a person eats a doughnut. This was not on their “plan.”
They then justify the next 3 days of eating bad because of said doughnut.
That’s like if you were driving a car and sped up during a yellow light but before you got to the intersection the light turned red. And then for the next 4 hours you just didn’t obey any other traffic laws whatsoever. “Fuck it! I ran a red light, let me ignore everything else!” For the next 4 hours you just stopped obeying stop signs, traffic lights, merging, and started driving on the wrong side of the road.
What?!? That would make no sense. You and I know this and yet when it comes to eating, it’s fair game.
Nowhere else in a person’s life will people do this, but when it comes to eating, people do this all the time.
Here’s a suggestion: Don’t. Do. That.
Go back to making a better choice, right after that slip up.
And if you want to use the, “That’s just the way I am/the way my brain works,” excuse, that’s fine. Just know it’s BS. It’s only that way because you say it is. Remember, all you have to make is one better choice.
1 – Change isn’t necessarily easy…and that’s ok. Embrace that it won’t be easy and when it gets hard, you’ll be in the right mindset for it.
2 – Change starts with making one better choice. Here and now. Now and later. Just one better choice. And then another one later. Just one.
3 – Hating Yourself into changing is possible, but it usually leads to more misery and self-doubt. Instead, love yourself into creating a better life. You’re more apt to forgive yourself, and make choices out of a place of caring instead of feeling “obligated to change.”
4 – Know there are cycles to change. There will be times when you should put more time and effort into changing and times when you should spend more time enjoying other facets of life.
5 – Pick Yourself Back Up Quickly. Almost in no other place in your life, will you completely disregard the well-being of your life after a slip-up, yet when it comes to eating, drinking and working out, one slip-up can turn into a “Fuck it!” moment that lasts until the following Monday (or Tuesday if it was a holiday weekend). Don’t do that.
Instead, contain the “slip-up” to that one moment and pick yourself right back up. You’ll be fine and you’ll be better off for it.