Our health can be such a tricky aspect of our lives, especially wen trying to build true health sustainably. In an ideal world, we all want to be in our best state of health. Yet issues like bad habits, self-limiting beliefs, and societal influences can make us feel stuck and left spinning around in frustrating cycles.
To build true health and consistently work toward your health goals, you need a deep understanding of yourself (your needs, limitations, and strengths) and a plan. We are going to dive into how to create a plan that helps you navigate all the issues that life might bring, without feeling complete defeated every time there’s a detour.
A quick recap for staying consistent with your health goals
This month has been all about establishing and working toward health goals that will actually stick (aka turning them into healthy habits). Here is a review of some of the work that you need to do first that we’ve discussed in previous weeks for building true health:
- Choose a goal to work toward that helps you be your best self (aka self care goals). That way your health and quality of life can grow exponentially as you gain momentum.
- Do some deep reflection to figure out what your why truly is. Think about what is influencing your beliefs and reality, such as culture, societal expectations, upbringings, past experiences, and your own self-talk. Once you have an idea of what you actually want, the rest gets so much easier!
- Identify and problem solve bad habits before they become an issue. Having an awareness of your weak points and understanding what specifically triggers them will help you feel in better control as you work towards new goals.
- Get started with a 30 day challenge that will actually stick (after doing the top 3 things first). Check out the full article with 30 day challenge ideas. Make sure that what you will be focusing on is small enough to stay consistent with for a full 30 days.
What happens when life gets in the way of building true health?
Now that you’ve done the work to start a 30 day challenge (and beyond) on the right foot with the best possible mindset, you may be wondering what’s next. Since none of us live in a bubble or vacuum, the next step is having a plan in place when life gets messy.
Here are some ideas for keeping you on track:
- Rely on your time blocked schedule (paper or app)
- Focus on progress over perfection. A misstep does not mean that you have to “start over again.”
- Have the grace to learn and move on. There is no such thing as failure, only opportunities to get stronger and adjust.
- Set up your environment for success (aka positive triggers- more on this below).
- Simply control what you can and let the rest go. Do not get stuck focusing on road blocks that are not in your direct control (other people, events, time, etc.)
The best way to keep moving forward: GRACE
Here is what I see over and over again from women working on their health (or any goal for that matter). They do well for a while, then something causes them to fall of the wagon. Inevitably, this always seems to lead to a period of feeling guilty and shameful. Honestly, the level of pressure we put on ourselves (that leads to guilt) is the true problem that is negatively affecting our health. Feelings of anxiety and shame trigger a stress response in the body that makes it feel impossible to focus and get back on track.
The solution? Trade that guilt for grace. Somehow, we’ve been conditioned as a society that guilt is what will help us stay on track. When the reality is that this guilt is the very thing that is making our health goals unsustainable. Guilt tripping or forcing ourselves into a routine will only last for so long before it backfires. Again, this is why it’s so important to set goals that inspire and empower you.
Learn and move on.
When you realize that falling off track isn’t the end of the world, you can learn from your mistakes and get right back up when you’re ready. It’s all part of the health journey. It doesn’t mean you failed, it means that you need to take a moment to re-evaluate your goals and make sure they’re still fitting your needs. Life has a funny way of making us pay attention to what needs our focus if we stop to take note.
Just remember this: we are all human, we all make mistakes, where our true strengths show is in figuring out how to get back up and move on.
Setting yourself up for success
Just like negative triggers can leave you feeling out of control and reverting back to old bad habits, positive triggers can do wonders for keeping you on track. Here are some examples:
- Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people
- Setting up your literal environment for success (i.e. workout clothes on the floor for the morning, fruit bowl in the center of the kitchen, journal or meditation pillow sitting right by your bed, etc.)
- Avoiding or replacing negative triggers (aka certain people, places, things)
While there may be aspects of our lives that don’t seem modifiable, I encourage you to think outside the box. We may not be able to avoid certain people or situations (or want to), but there may be a way to change the way you approach it. For example, if you have a friend that tends to focus on negative events you can help re-direct the conversation.
It might become a “Beautiful Disaster”
When you get your priorities and health in line, a funny thing can start to happen. I heard it coined as a beautiful disaster this week and thought it fit perfectly (thanks, Vishen of MindValley). You see, when you start breaking free of the people, environments, and other situations holding you back it may lead to a bit a grieving period followed by true freedom to lead the life of your dreams.
All of a sudden, everything you knew and that you were comfortable with is changing. Even if you know it’s for the better, the body and mind can have a hard time adjusting. We are creatures of habit, so it will require transition period.
This is especially hard for many of us that feel we’re being “ungrateful” if we aren’t happy with our current circumstances. I remember feeling guilty about changes I was trying to make with my health in the past, because I felt I should just be happy for what I do have. While there is immense power in having gratitude, there is absolutely no reason that striving to be better should feel wrong (another societal condition we’ve put on ourselves).
My journey in living my best life with true health.
For example, when I decided to cut out some of the negativity from my life to help my stress levels and sleep better, it lead to spending less time watching TV. My husband had actually started working on this goal on his own at first (without me), and I was ironically 100% against it. In fact, I was a bit hurt that he no longer wanted to sit down for a Friday night movie with me.
Fast forward 2 years later and now I cringe at the negativity that I occasionally get a glimpse of when one of my family member’s is watching the news. We all have a choice regarding what we consume, and for me I’m so glad it doesn’t involve unnecessary doom and gloom anymore.
Be okay with being uncomfortable.
Below are some other examples of change from my own life that have been pretty drastic over the past 2 years. They all started with a mourning period (or complete denial and discomfort). Yet, now each of them has built something into my life that I can’t imagine living without:
- Never going to bed before midnight has changed to going to bed consistently at 10:30 pm (75% of the time).
- Loving the smell of perfume and dousing myself in it regularly; to becoming aware of the toxic chemicals in them and switching to natural products that don’t make me gag.
- Needing extra sweetener in my tea and smoothies for taste; to loving no sugar smoothies, tea, and other drinks/snacks.
- Losing certain friendships that hurt at the moment but were for the best since our lives were taking different directions.
- Taking my dearest friends and family (and future husband) for granted; to learning to have gratitude for my family, friends, and husband in a way I never had before.
- Thinking I had to exercise to exhaustion everyday (1-2 high intensity hours per day); to exercising 10-30 minutes per day and feeling great.
- Having entire weeks where I didn’t go outside except to walk to my car for work; to now getting outside almost every single day no matter what to gain the benefits of fresh air and disconnect from technology.
Have grace and carry on.
The moral of these stories is that when it comes to consistency, it’s all about learning to be flexible; rolling with the punches and giving yourself a break. Celebrating the wins and getting right back up when you fall down. There’s no such thing as perfection, only continual learning and growth in the direction that you see most fit for your life.
A big part of this health journey that I’d realized I was always missing for most of my life was feeling empowered. And that meant empowering those around me too! I have realized that I can’t get to the “top” sustainably if I’m pushing others down. Rather, we should all uplift each other and rise together to built a future that is full of purpose for everyone.
The idea that there can only be a few winners and there are limited resources is a myth… so get out there and be your best self and share it with the ones you love.
There is no such thing as a perfect program or goal that will make you “healthy.” Instead, learn to lean into life and be prepared for the ups and downs that will occur along the way. Give yourself grace while building true health and the rest will inevitably fall into place.
As you move forward, don’t forget to push yourself yet be gentle. How can you add a bit more grace into your day?
If you need help getting started with your health goals and building consistent healthy habits, check out my in depth guide and workbook offer!