“I’ll start eating better on Monday.” “I haven’t worked out in three months, but I’ll start this Monday.” Does this sound familiar? Why Monday? Why not now? I hear this type of BS all the time and I really don’t understand it.
Probably because I’m a trainer and I think differently, but in my mind, you either do it or you don’t. You either want it or you don’t. There’s no, I’ll start next week. Just do it now or don’t do it, but whatever you choose just stop lying to yourself. That’s what it is, a big fat lie that you tell yourself. Chances are if you are the type of person who says this on a regular basis then you are more than likely a yo-yo dieter, or someone who works out for a few weeks then quits for a few months then starts the cycle all over again on some random Monday.
I know this sounds like a lecture, but it’s more of a rant that comes from a good place in my heart. If you are this type of person, it’s ok; there are ways to change the “I’ll start Monday, but never get anywhere” cycle. If you want to change it. If you don’t then may I suggest you just accept where you are for now. When you are really ready to change nothing will stop you. Many times people know what to do, they just don’t do it for many reasons or excuses. Before you start over again on Monday, first identify if you really even want to “start over” on Monday. If so, why? Why do you want to start working out Monday? Why do you even want to workout? Why do you want to start eating “cleaner” on Monday, is it to lose weight? Improve your health? Get fit?
Ask yourself why. Then keep asking why until you get down to the heart of the matter. You can only change your habits if you really want them to change and you have a to want it bad enough. Otherwise many Monday’s will pass and you will keep the same old thought patterns and nothing will change.
Pretend you are a three year old who is having a conversation with yourself. (we all know 3 year olds love to ask why.) The conversation may go like this…
“I want to lose 30 pounds.” Why? “Because I don’t like the way I look.” Why? “Because my pants are too tight and I’ve gone up 3 pant sizes in the last 8 months.” Why? “Because I eat too much junk. ” Why? “Because I’m stressed out and unhappy, and food makes me feel better for a period of time.” Why? “Because I look at food as comfort and reward, and I’m lonely.” Why? “Because I’m by myself and don’t feel like anyone understands me.” Why? “Because I don’t think people care about my problems and they are too busy for me.” Why? “I don’t know.”
See, it’s more than about losing the weight. Losing weight isn’t going to make all your problems go away.
Another example is…
“I need to lose a few pounds?” Why? “Because the weight is slowly creeping back on and I’m afraid I will get fat?” Why? “Because I used to be heavy and I didn’t like the way I looked or felt and I think people will think I’m ugly and won’t take me seriously if I’m heavy?” Why? “Because I don’t look or feel strong and confident?’ Why? “Because I am out of shape and feel weak.” Why? “Because I don’t exercise and therefore I feel weak and out of shape and my confidence is suffering.”
As you can see from both of the above examples, by asking why over and over again you can get down to the heart of the matter. You will soon discover it’s so much more than simply losing weight. There is usually an emotional side to it. The first example was about loneliness and stress and using food as company or as a way to escape being sad, and stressed. The second example was more about a feeling of strength and confidence than just losing a few pounds.
Until we identify our “whys” we will never get to the heart of the matter and we will just keep staying stuck, while continuing to fool ourselves that we will start over on Monday.
11 ways to break bad habits and stop feeding yourself BS.
- Identify your why.
- Create a few simple yet realistic goals. With a date to achieve them.
- Create one small habit change and work on the one change.
- Once you have changed that habit, create another healthy habit.
- Don’t forget to write down your hows. How you will change? (I will stop drinking soda, and I will workout every Monday, Wednesday and Friday during my lunch hour)
- Don’t get to crazy. If you feel you are slipping into old habits take a moment to pause, ask yourself why you are slipping into old habits and then change it right then and there. Not Monday!
- Understand you will fail every now and then. It’s okay to fail, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get right back at it.
- Write everything down. Your workouts, your sleep patterns, your feelings. It doesn’t have to be a journal. Just something as easy as jotting down that you did 45 minutes of weight training, which included 145# back squats. 8 hours of sleep. Happy mood.
- Start out simple. For example, if you don’t exercise on a regular basis, instead of going at it 5 days a week, start with 3 days. Then you can add on the amount and intensity as you feel ready. If you eat like crap most days of the week, start by choosing better quality food one meal at a time, then slowly change each meal over time.
- Find out if you are an abstainer or a Moderator. Check out Gretchen Rubin’s blog post, found here to find if you are an abstainer or moderator. I found this really helpful for myself and it can certainly help you change bad habits.
- Set yourself up to succeed. You can do this by changing your environment. For example, make your kitchen user friendly.. Toss out the proceesed crap that you know isn’t good for you. Rearrange your fridge so that you see fruits and veggies when you open the door as a reminder to eat them first. Put large plates away is storage and replace with small plates. Get rid of clutter on counters and tables. Measure your food in the beginning. You might be surprised what one serving really looks like.
The truth is, we can all come up with excuses. We tell ourselves lies all the time. Like, “I don’t have time.” Really? How much time do you spend on social media or watching tv? What’s your morning or afternoon routine look like? You can usually tweak a few changes to your morning or afternoon routine to make time to workout.
Another BS excuse is, “No body in my family likes healthy food.” Get creative and make food yummy. Take over all cooking responsibility in your home and you will have plenty of ways to impress your family with healthy food that tastes really good.
“I don’t have any support.” Hire a personal trainer, join a gym or a group that supports a healthy lifestyle. There are so many groups out there. Running and hiking groups, walking groups, moms with strollers, dance, CrossFit. Just a quick google search of your area will give you a ton of choices to choose from.
“I don’t like exercise.” Find an activity that you do like. Biking, running, kayaking, hiking, dancing, any sport out there. There is a ton of stuff you can do to start getting active. You might even surprise yourself!
Give up your excuses. Nobody is buying that nonsense, and you’re only fooling yourself and wasting time. Start out small. Accept where you are now, but make every change in your power to be at a better place in the future. Celebrate the small things and be grateful for the opportunity to live life to your fullest potential!