You Can’t Race Yourself To Lasting Change
The more I read it and the more I hear it, the more I want to just forget it. DIET. DIETING. Little words that carry so much stress and power, and for what? To experience restrictive and unnatural eating behaviors? To be unhappy and miserable around food? To be hungry and cave into bad choices? And only to find that in the end we are still unsatisfied and disappointed.
This concept of being in competition with ourselves and always challenging our mind+body can crumble our ability to be self-compassionate and patient throughout the process that it takes to achieve personal goals. Getting healthy is not a race, and it most definitely is not a challenge. It is a lifelong commitment to self, and there is no end to getting there. Health is something we should stride for every day of our lives, it is not a short-term or fast fix. It is a 360-degree evolution of the mind, body, and soul.
First things first, let’s banish the terms “diet” and “dieting” from our vocabulary. Here’s why: The moment we label anything, we are giving it power. Using terms like “diet” and “dieting” can become daunting, and so does anything related to these concepts, such as weight loss, dropping pounds, rapid transformation, feeling sexy or confident, getting the body you want, having a better life, feeling happier, and so on and so forth. All experiences linked emotionally, mentally, or physically to these words will only create heightened feelings of stress and anxiety when we don’t achieve what we set out to do.
So, let’s start off on the best foot forward. At the beginning of the New Year, did you find yourself saying things like:
- No more excuses!
- Time to change!
- My diet starts now!
- This is my year!
- I have a brand-new 365 days!
- Clean slate!
You started off sprinting full speed ahead toward making healthy changes, only to slow down to a walk, then a crawl, and finally a complete stop. You developed no lasting momentum or healthy changes, just frustration and the feeling that you will never get where you want to be. Your mindset turned from motivated, positive, and eager into pessimistic, sullen, and absent from the hopeful attitude you had before. This is a vicious cycle.
In my experience as a coach, I find more often than not that clients have been through this experience countless times before. This cycle pushes us to always be on the move for the next big thing that waivers hard work and exercise but promises rapid results. Unfortunately, the moment we don’t see instant change, we re-enter the cycle and the hunt for a quick fix begins all over again.
So, how do we get away from this obsession with fad quick fixes? The answer is simple. WE HAVE TO STOP BEING LAZY + START BEING PATIENT. When it comes to health, visualize how complex the human body is. There are so many crazy and amazing things happening inside of us that are necessary to sustain life, and there is absolutely NO WAY to optimize any of them overnight. And guess what you guys…If there were a magical means to making this happen, it wouldn’t cost $14.99 and come off of a grocery store shelf.
Don’t you think it’s time to stop fighting yourself to the finish line? Here are my top 3 ways to learn better patience so you can start appreciating the process toward better health and get back to focusing on you.
1. Practice Making Yourself Wait
I know this one is bittersweet, but the best way to learn patience is to practice making yourself wait. We live in a world that drives us to always be moving on to the next thing before finishing what we were originally focusing on, and we often forget to go back to what we were initially doing. With technology giving us everything at our fingertips, it can make waiting—and I mean truly waiting, not Amazon Prime waiting—extremely easy to take for granted.
Begin by consciously waiting a few minutes before taking your first sip of morning coffee. Close your eyes and count for 120 seconds in your head. Breathe in and out, slowly and deeply, making an effort to really focus on the movement of your breaths while you count. At 120, sip your coffee and begin to shift your focus on to the next morning task. Create a routine like this and implement it into some part of your day. You will begin to notice that you have more patience the more you practice.
2. Define Your End Destination
When you act with impatience, or you experience feelings associated with impatience, it’s because you want and expect an outcome that may not be within easy reach. Instead of pushing yourself to limits that can’t coexist with your lifestyle, stop and define where you want to go. Not only will this help you slow down and develop better patience, it will also guide you by reminding you exactly where you want to be and giving you a better sense of the big picture. This will help you acknowledge why you have been feeling impatient from the get-go and create a better plan as you move forward.
Remember, there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter roadmap to reaching your end goals or finding personal success. Instead, take control and define exactly where you want to go. Let go of pre-set ideas and obligations, and craft your roadmap according to your life, your habits, and your long-term visions.
3. Redirect Your Focus: Stop Competing, Stop Comparing
This one irks me a bit—actually, it irks me a lot. Here enters Aubs In The Blog on a rant…Whenever I scroll through social media content, I find myself being more and more exposed to unrealistic influences on body image, attitude, and lifestyle. I am almost 30 years old, and I find myself falling victim to this crap all the time. Why?!
These picture-perfect relationships studded by flawless physical appearances, lavish lifestyles, and hundreds of thousands of followers have created such a poor foundation for personal growth and capabilities. They aren’t realistic, and that is the source of many issues we face when it comes to wanting to be our best possible self and reach our highest potential.
Imagine if you didn’t feel the need to compete with anyone, including yourself, and you took that power, time, energy, and focus and applied them to just getting yourself in a better place. What if you could step away from focusing so much on what others have and how they achieved it and put that energy into working on being your best self?
Over the past six months, I have been working very hard on this in my own life, and I strongly believe you could start experiencing higher levels of personal gratification and success too. The less we compete and compare, the less obligated we feel to reach standards that are out of our reach. We gauge “where we are” based off of “what we observe” others to be doing, which can make us become heavily judgemental of ourselves. And for what? A loss of confidence, lack of motivation, and feelings of “I am never going to be good enough.” It’s not worth it. What we need to do is redirect our comparisons to within. Make a shift in your mindset by asking yourself: How have I continued to improve myself and become a better version of me?