The start to just about everything is usually the hardest part of whatever it is you are trying to do. However, I don’t believe that it’s only, “the start” that is the hardest part, I feel the “build up” plays a big role on why things are so hard to start doing.
Think about most things that are hard for us to do, first days of school/work, first dates, new routines/hobbies, etc. These things are hard at first because we all have a fear of the unknown and because we fear the unknown we build up scenarios in our head of what might happen. These scenarios are usually negative, and they usually paint a bad picture of yourself completing failing at what you want to do. You start thinking that you’re going to trip and fall in the hallway in front of everyone on your first day of school and everyone will point and laugh at you and you will be known as the clutz for the rest of the year. Or you think that you will talk to much on a first date and completely annoy your date to death that they won’t want a second one. Or you think that you will be horrible at the hobby you are trying to start and won’t be able to enjoy doing it. My point being, the start of anything is so hard because of how much we negatively build it up in our own heads.
Two of the most common things that are hard for most people to start is a healthy eating lifestyle and incorporating physical fitness into daily life. We associate too many questions with them, that it seems almost impossible to start. Questions like:
Do I go on a diet?
If so, which one? Paleo, Keto, low fat, Weight Watchers, South Beach Diet . . .
Do I go vegetarian or vegan?
Do I have to buy organic?
What’s healthier, carrots or broccoli?
Can I afford to eat healthy?
How do I find time to cook?
These are only to name a few of the many questions that may come to mind when contemplating on eating healthy.
When it comes to working out, there are many questions that come to mind as well.
Should I go running?
If so, what kind of sneakers should I wear?
Can I afford a new pair of sneakers?
Should I go to a gym?
Which gym should I go to?
Should I just work out at home?
What clothes should I work out in?
Should I work out in the morning or in the evening?
How can I fit working out into my already busy schedule?
Should I go on . . .
You should start to see what I mean by how everything is built up in our mind into this big ordeal. We build it up so much greater than what it really is. And when we build it up, we start to feel stressed because there are so many more questions that we don’t have the answer to. When faced with too many questions we start to feel overwhelmed and then our positive decision to eat healthy and work out then becomes a negative stressor in our minds. This is why “the start” of eating healthy and working out may never happen, because we have built it up into this huge complicated decision that just seems out of reach.
I’m here to tell you, from a fellow person that has experienced anxiety with decisions, that IT IS NOT OUT OF REACH. You can reach it, only if you uncomplicate it.
So I will offer you a few suggestions on ways that I keep it simple, because keeping it simple is the only way I work out and eat healthy.
First you have to find your way.
When it comes to eating healthy and working out, figure out what you like. Make a list of all the foods that you really like, then from that list scratch out the foods that aren’t too healthy; high fat, sugary, high sodium, high calorie foods, etc. Then your left with only the foods that are healthy. If that list is small, don’t be afraid to explore other foods, there’s more out there than you think.
From there, come up with meals to incorporate your healthy foods.
Same goes for working out, figure out what you like. For some it’s weight lifting, running, circuit training, cross fit, biking, spin, zumba, MMA, yoga, etc. If you don’t know what you like then don’t be afraid to explore. Many gyms offer a trial class for free or at a low cost to see if you like it.
Make a plan.
The only way to actually make anything happen is to plan it.
Meal planning is the best way to stay on track with eating healthy. Plan your meals for the week, prep your meals as much as you can for the week so it will save you time day to day.
Make a plan to exercise. Find time in your busy schedule and trust me, we all have one and no one is too busy to exercise and if you are saying that you are then you have to evaluate how you’re spending your time to see where you can make time. Schedule your workouts, whether it’s going to the gym, going for a walk or working out in your living room, SCHEDULE IT! Write it on your calendar on your wall and save it in your phone, put a post it on your mirror so it is always in your face.
Make it convenient.
The best and easiest way to develop a habit is to make it convenient. Don’t decide on a healthy meal to cook for dinner and plan to cook it on Thursday night, only to find when Thursday night comes around you didn’t take into account that you usually get home from work at 7pm and don’t feel like cooking.
Don’t plan to go to the gym after dinner when you pass it on your way home. You know when after dinner comes around you aren’t going to want to leave the house and go drive 10-15 min to the gym. And if you do then more power to you, but for those of you who don’t, please just make it easier on yourself. Pack a change of clothes and get a quick workout in right after work. If you pass then gym anyway then stop on your way home to save you another trip.
To develop habits we have to keep everything simple and convenient. So pack your change of clothes the night before and put them in your car so you have them. If you want to work out in the morning then put your sneakers next to your bed or even sleep in your workout clothes so you can just wake up and work out. Meal prep the dinners you want to cook during the week so you don’t have to cook if you work late.
So figure out what you like and what your preferences are, make a plan to do it and lastly make sure you keep it simple and convenient in order to follow through.
The start of anything is hard, just like me starting to write this first blog post, but it was only hard until I sat down and started to type. After I got started it was no longer hard anymore. I’m not saying after you start that it’s never going to be hard, but I am saying it’s going to be a whole lot harder until you do.
So just go out there and get started!
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