By Bruce Burke
*Last month, we focused on exercise and getting “back to basics” by reintroducing what safe, effective exercise looks like. Over the next four weeks, we are again going back to basics by focusing on “why” we desire to exercise and eat right, as well as how to develop an action plan and overcome roadblocks. Here’s a quick preview of what you’ll be hearing about throughout the month:
Week 1 (2/3): “Healthy and Happy”- This is your “why”.
Week 2 (2/10): “Blueprint for Success” – This is how you develop your plan
Week 3 (2/17): “We Always Have Choices” – How you address habit change and overcome roadblocks.
Week 4 (2/24): “Gratitude vs. Deprivation/Acceptance” – How you address habit change and overcome roadblocks.
Knowing what you want to accomplish (Healthy and Happy) and how you intend to do it (Blueprint for Success) are important first steps, but the time has now come for the “rubber to hit the road”. Most of us have experience with creating fitness/nutrition goals for ourselves. Unfortunately, we also have experience coming up short. Why is that? Why do we so easily allow “life” to get in the way? Why do we allow other “priorities” to derail us?
The answer lies in our perspective and what we consider “normal”. For many of us, it is normal to work ourselves excessively and overcommit in a hundred different ways. In the end, we often feel trapped and unhappy, but continue the same behaviors because this is the only perspective we know. Instead, consider a few important concepts that can help you create a “new normal.”
We must care for ourselves before we can care for others.
We’ve all heard the old saying “put your oxygen mask on first”. How true it is! Yet many of us don’t make personal health a priority in our lives…everything and everybody else comes first. Putting ourselves first is not selfish; it’s about maintaining balance, setting a good example, and thriving. Without question, we should make the decision to prioritize our health now…before morbidity or serious health challenges force us to do so later. Ironically, if we put everyone else first and neglect our own health, we may ultimately end up burdening them with the responsibility of caring for us.
We always have choices
We make hundreds of choices every day. Some good, some not so good. Making poor choices comes with the territory of being human, but we must acknowledge that they were, in fact, choices.
People often create roadblocks (i.e. time, special events, environment) and place blame for their inability to improve their health. The truth is that a significant health scare would make all of those roadblocks disappear. What seemed nearly impossible before would not only become possible, but become a priority. And what really changed? Nothing more than our perspective about what truly matters.
Create a new paradigm
Long-term success with living a healthy and happy life means creating a new, more effective “normal”. To do this, we must develop a principle-centered paradigm. Just like principles such as integrity cannot be conditional on circumstance, neither should our commitment to putting ourselves first and acknowledging the fact that we always have choices. When we develop and practice this paradigm shift, the “in the moment” decisions we make all day long will be consistent with what is truly important to us…being healthy and happy. This accumulation of making the right “in the moment” decisions will, over time, become our new “normal” and lead to lasting success.