Start with the end in mind So much about your health and wellness depends on your your long term actions like healthy habits, routines and disciplines. However, your success maintaining these long term actions largely depends on your intrinsic motivation. If you don’t have a clear and compelling vision for where you want to get to the chances are initial enthusiasm will fade, motivation will wane and your intended actions will stop! Start your journey to better health and wellness by imagining what your life will look like when you are living life optimally and experiencing a high level of wellness. Then see each step, even the mundane ones, as taking you a step closer to your goal.
Give yourself the right to be wherever you are right now. The great paradox in self development is that before you can become who you want to be you have to accept who you are right now. If you are overweight, under-fit or can’t touch your knees never mind your toes that is where you are right now and that is just fine. Judging, blaming and criticising yourself or pretending things aren’t as bad as they are is just going to waste valuable energy that could be put to better use. Have compassion for yourself because life sure ain’t easy! Assess where you are now then compare that to your vision and ‘coach yourself to the gap’ in between.
Small changes add up over time There is myth in modern culture that change is radical and success is achieved overnight. A great way to get disheartened in your wellness goals is to aim too high, too far and attempt to get there too soon! Instead, accept that your life is probably already too busy to make your wellness a full time job and take a long term constructive view. Focus on small changes that that will add up over time to big results. Simply cutting back on the equivalent of 2 biscuits per day adds up to 63,000 less calories consumed in one year or losing 18 pounds of fat!
Focus on the reverse gap When you set a goal or have a vision for who you want to be or what you want to have the tendency is usually be to focus on the gap between where you are now and where you want to get to. The reverse gap is the gap between where you are now and where you have come from. Before you focus on what still has to be achieved make sure you spend some time focusing on how far you have come already. Give yourself a pat on the back for the half stone you have already lost before you focus on the stone you still have to lose or congratulate yourself for that extra mile you did on the treadmill last week when you could have stopped early. Paying attention to the reverse gap helps you build confidence and stay motivated, priceless strengths in behavioural change.
Don’t try and control your thoughts! Yes, I know this probably seems absolutely against everything you have ever learned about mindset but what I only want to set you up for success. It is estimated that we have about 60-80 thousand thoughts per day so controlling all of them is simply impossible. Instead, realise that your thoughts, positive or negative, need your attention to have any power or to stay in existence. If you don’t pay attention to a thought it will shrivel up and die away like a plant that doesn’t receive water. Treat your mind like a garden and choose to only pay attention to the positive thoughts that will become flowers and when you have a negative thought shift your focus back to a positive thought you want to nourish and develop.