Updated: Oct 4, 2018
Please don't start on Monday. Or on January 1st. Or on the second Thursday of next month. Don't set your sights on 7 days or 10 days or 30 days of healthy eating and exercising without fail. Don't go buy all of the healthy food you'll need in order to finally get it right this time. Don't seek out a Face Book group full of supporting actors who will commiserate with you over all the happy hours you're going to miss. And for the love of all that is good and holy in this world, do not jump on a scale to record your weight the night before your diet begins.
But aren't all of those things the exact same things we're supposed to do when we want to start getting healthy? Well, I'll say this ~ those are all of the things we've been TOLD we SHOULD be doing in preparation for the epic climb towards "getting healthy." But just as your mom always managed to remind you growing up, "Just because all your friends are jumping off that cliff, does that mean you should too?"
"No mom." You say with an eye-roll. "I'm smarter than that. I wouldn't jump just because they did." And she smiles proudly at you for your answer, conversation closed. Yet deep down you are left wondering what you would really do if the situation presented itself.
And so here we find ourselves all these years later. Still wondering. And here I am saying, "Hey, let's not do what everyone else is doing. Let's not jump off the cliff. Let's cross a line that most people don't ever cross, so that we can experience results that most people never get to experience."
And you say, "Yes please." Awesome. Let's be different.
So, if we aren't doing what everyone else does when we start a new diet or a new exercise routine, what are we going to do? Nothing. Well, almost nothing. Let me explain.
Our culture is always so full of the doing. And the planning. And the calendarizing. No that's not a real word, but we all know what it means. In order to be successful, we tend to put mental brackets around our days, weeks, months, holidays, vacations..... you name it, theirs a blank place on the calendar for that. Do and plan and do and plan some more.
Hectic I say. And noisy as anything. We spend so much time thinking about taking the reins of our futures and worrying about the carelessness of our pasts that we completely miss out on the present. And guess what the present is? The most healthiest of all the places to live of course.
So I'm going to suggest that we all sit down for a moment. Just sit down. Close your eyes. Feel your heart beating the blood through your veins. Notice the sounds coming through your ears that your brain recognizes instantaneously. Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Fill your belly with air and imagine the oxygen passing through your lungs and into your cells, giving you energy from your shoulder blades down into your big toes. Breath in through your nose and let the smells connect you with your memories.
Now say hello. This is your body. It is a miracle. A combination of infinite miracles, actually. This is the body you get to take care of. Not starting on Monday, or after vacation, or next New Year's. This is the body that's on your side right now. Go ahead, smile. You can use this body to your advantage. You've been blessed with a miracle of a body and it's OK to feel thankful.
You can connect with your body every day, just like this. And build up an awareness that will propel you into wanting to be healthier, rather than just thinking that you should one day.
So that's not all. There's one more thing. We all have these darn thoughts that race through our heads a million miles a second all day long. And sometimes these thoughts tell us that we need to "get healthy" or else. Sometimes they tell us that we aren't eating right and we aren't exercising enough and we don't have time and we're going to get fat and we just don't care but actually we do so we should also feel guilty for our pleasures and angry at ourselves for not doing what we should have been doing all along.
These thoughts suck. But most of us let them run rampant nonetheless, leaving dirty laundry and dust bunnies in every last corner they can find, until cleaning them up is just too overwhelming a task. And so we leave them unattended, procrastination and doubt laying loud in their wake.
I'm here to propose that rather than layering those cumbersome thoughts over with yet another meal plan, another workout routine, another 30 day challenge, you might instead take pause. Don't do those things..... just yet.
Let's instead begin sweeping up those dust bunnies and doing our laundry first I say. Let's make space. Get clear. Cast our headings anew. Let's set this season aside for finding our voices and finally listening to what they have to say. Revel in each footprint we leave in the sand as we meander up the beach. And don't worry, it is in these quiet moments that we will find the momentum we've been searching for all along.
Need an example? For starters, please participate in the following questions for yourself. Honestly and without judgement, no right or wrong. Just be yourself.
When you think of "getting healthy," what thoughts and feelings come to mind? Where do these thoughts and feelings come from? Do they help or hinder your progress? What purpose do they serve?
What parts of your well being are most important to you? Why? What circumstances and perspectives can you start to shift in order to prioritize these parts?
Describe how you would like to feel in your body and what you would like your body to do for you. What things could you let go of, and start incorporating, in order to make this your reality?
And in the spaces, when you normally let your mind wander to your to-do list or your kid's grades or your partner's attitude, hear yourself saying these things instead:
I am excited to grow into the vision I have for my health!
I am fully worthy of feeling confident inside of my body and my mind!
I am ready to live as the healthy person I want to be!
And therein lies the work. Mind over matter. And then, and only then, action to follow. You don't need to wait until some ambiguous starting block, sprinting fast out of the gate. You can begin right now, no sprint required. Just close your eyes, breathe, and be present with this miracle that is yours for the loving.
Intrigued even a little by what this article has to say? There's a book for that!
Here's to putting our healthiest selves first more and more often, as we connect more deeply and honestly with our inner power and passion!
Feed your Body Well, and It Will Reward you with LIFE!
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