Becoming aware of your nutritional habits and changing them can be quite the lifestyle makeover. Pat yourself on the back for picking up this guide and taking the first step forward towards living a much healthier life.
Before you get your sexy on it’s important to really make sure you’re ready. Below are a few questions I’d like for you to ask yourself and answer in the spaces provided. This is an important step towards reaching your goals. Many of us want to make progress but might not necessarily be willing to make the behavioral changes that it takes. This will help you dial it in and figure it out.
Heads up – some of these questions might be pretty personal and tough to answer. You got this!
- How ready do you feel to change your eating patterns and/or lifestyle behaviors?
- How is your current health affecting your life right now (Job, relationships, confidence, activities, mood, etc…)
- What kinds of things have you done in the past to change your eating? What worked and why? What did not work and why?
- Think back to the time when you were your fittest/healthiest. What were you doing? How did it make you feel?
- How exactly would you like your health to be different?
- What are some things in your life that are the most important to you? How does your health effect these things?
- What are some goods things about pursuing a healthier lifestyle (eating better, exercising, sleeping, etc…) What are some of the “not-so-good” things about making those changes?
- What stands in your way of achieving optimal health and wellness in your eyes (really think about your current situation and lifestyle demands)?
- Are there things that you have found more helpful in previous attempts to make personal changes? Things that have not been helpful?
It all starts with your beliefs
The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. – William James
For your own satisfaction and success over the course of the next few weeks I need you to move beyond fixing problems and instead to creating possibilities. There has never been a time in the world with more opportunity, resources, or education at your disposal to create a life for yourself with limitless possibilities. I don’t care who you are or where you came from, today marks the day of a brand new you.
The way that we think is our way of understanding the world around us. Reality is shaped by our perceptions and interpretations of the events in our lives. In a recent book I read, “The Science of Self Improvement,” the process of understanding works like this.
“… We take in information about our environment through our senses, then our brains process that information into thoughts and beliefs about how the world really works. These beliefs than tell us how to act, which will play a big role in the results we get out of life…”
Environment –> Senses –>Thoughts –> Beliefs –> Actions –> Results
As an infant our brains are like a blank slate and can easily take in new information, process it, and shape new beliefs. As we get older this process becomes much more difficult although not impossible, it just requires more time and effort because we have already had experiences (various success and failures) that have led to our current beliefs.
Think about this for a second for me if you don’t mind. Imagine that you want something really, really….. really bad but for some reason you don’t think you are deserving, capable, or have the ability to achieve it. How hard do you think you’ll work for it?
Probably not to hard huh?
The first step to getting your mind right is to actually believe you are capable of achieving the things that you desire. Do you actually think you are capable of achieving your health and wellness goals?
- Are you capable of staying compliant to the nutritional habits that are outlined?
- Are you capable of finding time in your schedule to commit to exercising consistently?
- Are you capable of making yourself a priority for once so that you can spend time working on you?
- Are you capable of moving beyond excuses?
- Are you capable of doing the work?
DAMN straight you are!
If for some reason you’re not sure about your capabilities or doubt that you can keep up those beliefs over the duration of this fitness guide this is exactly what the Mindset section is for, to provide you with the tools and resources to get your mind and body on the same page.
Take a look around the environment that you’re in right now. Maybe you notice a refrigerator, microwave, or maybe you’re reading this guide on a computer, cell phone, or iPad. Maybe you notice some simple pleasure around you like a toothbrush, water bottle, or chair (I literally just looked around my room right now).
All of these things started out as someone’s dream. The point is if you can think it – then it’s possible, don’t doubt yourself… EVER.
Talk to yourself: The power of positive affirmations.
When you think of affirmations you may initially think of the Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley and his famous affirmation, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone-it, people like me.”
If you’re not familiar with him go ahead and enjoy this short little clip. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to repeat that to yourself everyday but I do want to explain how powerful the way in which you talk to yourself can be. Self-affirmations have been a widely used tool in the fields of self-improvement, personal development, and positive psychology for years. Banana hands himself (Tony Robbins) is one of the more famous proponents of using affirmations on a daily basis to promote a greater sense of well-being.
The key to affirmations much like exercise, nutrition, and learning any new skill is consistent practice and repetition. Reciting canned phrases like “I’m smart enough,” I’m happy,” and “I can do anything” are all good and well but only if exercised consistently enough. Repeating things like this to yourself once or twice every other morning will only get you so far. What is needed is multiple repetitions day in and day out just like how you are working out your muscles.
Affirmations have been shown to help improve both willpower and self-control. Author Dan Ariely first introduced me to a concept know as ego-depletion which tells us that you have a limited supply of willpower each day, and through your choices, activities, events, work, etc… you burn through it.
Resisting a piece of cake at lunch, working through a difficult project, not flirting with the cute co-worker are all things that drain your willpower tank (more on willpower later). Self-affirmations can help you combat some of this by improving confidence and motivation to perform tasks like exercising when willpower is getting low.
The reason I am touching on affirmations is because most of us have been conditioned to talk down to ourselves fairly often. It’s a very common practice to compare ourselves with others, the status quo, or made up standards that usually have no relevance towards becoming a better human being.
As humans we are very good at talking down to ourselves but horrible at acknowledging our strengths and being confident in our capabilities. It’s very easy for us to flunk a math test and listen to that voice in our heads that says “I just suck at math, this is who I am”. Or to slip up on our nutrition plan and tell ourselves, “I have no willpower, I’ll never be able to do this so why even bother.”
Other examples of negative self-talk include:
- I never do anything right
- I’m a crummy parent
- I don’t know what to do
Watch for sneaky words as well. You know, those really passive and unconvincing words that suggest you don’t believe in yourself like these.
- I hope I can find time to fit in my workouts this week
- I wish there wasn’t junk food at this party
- Hopefully I’m successful this time
- Maybe if I try this things will be better
By talking down to yourself or with a passive tone like this all you are doing is strengthening a self-fulfilling prophecy. As touched on early your beliefs influence your actions, which in turn help to determine your outcomes. If you don’t think you are capable or deserving of something then your efforts will reflect that.
The right and wrong way to do affirmations
What often happens when people start practicing affirmations is they repeat phrases to themselves that are neither realistic or they actually believe.
For example one popular affirmation is “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” This is a wonderful affirmation on the surface but it, as most of us know is nearly impossible to actually get better and better everyday, life just doesn’t work like that. There are some days where progress will be stagnant or even dip a little. A more effective affirmation here might be this.
“I CAN STRIVE to get better and better everyday by making the best choices for myself.”
Another example is the affirmation, “I am considerate to others.” Again, a great affirmation but what if you are already aware that you are not considerate to others. It doesn’t make sense to lie to yourself here. A more beneficial affirmation may be this.
“I CAN LEARN to be more considerate to others.”
BIG TIP: For affirmations to work they need to be present tense, positive, personal, and specific.
How to create your own present, positive, personal, and specific affirmations
I know that technically this is called the Limitless365 Fitness Guide but fitness to me encompasses so much more. It provides a foundation for all sorts of wellness; mind, body, and spirit. Keep that in mind when creating your own affirmations here, maybe telling yourself you are capable of working out everyday is not what you need. What may be more beneficial to you is an affirmation that increases self-confidence.
Step 1 for affirmation domination: If you had to pick one area of your life that you would like to see improvement in what would it be?
- It may be your health, but it’s ok if it’s not. If you’d like to see improvement in your personal life, career, finances, confidence, a particular skill or trade, a hobby, or focus – all of those are ok. Just get specific and clearly define that area of your life.
Step 2 for affirmation domination: Come up with 5-10 affirmations that fit the criteria we listed above (present tense, positive, personal, and specific)
- You’ll start by coming up with 20-25 affirmations associated with your goal. Don’t over think this here and work yourself up into frenzy, just write what naturally pops up in your head.
- Watch for words or phrases that actually confuse what you want with what you don’t want. Focus on ideas or actions you are capable of taking.
- Re-read those 20-25 affirmations associated with you goal. You’ll now want to narrow it down to about 5-10 that have the most impact for you. While reading them again look for emotional triggers like goose bumps, tears, laughter, smiling, etc.. You’ll want to run with those bad boys.
- If you need help coming up with some ideas here are two fantastic resources and examples of positive affirmations. You can also read this below. (35 Affirmations that will change you life) & (Essential life skills)
Step 3 for affirmation domination: You actually have to use them… go figure.
- If you respond more to the spoken word then say your affirmations out loud to yourself everyday. Try looking at yourself in the mirror when you do it as well. It may be weird and uncomfortable at first but this is only because you are not fully comfortable with the self just yet. Give it time; before you know it you’ll have no problem.
- If you respond better to the written word jot them down on index cards or your phone and carry them around with you and periodically read them throughout the day. Set a reminder if you have to as to when to look at them.
- Repeat your affirmations a minimum of 5 times to yourself in a row.
- Increase the positive experience by combining them with physical activity (do pushups, jumping jacks, walk, run, etc.. while reciting them)..
Examples of affirmations to help you get started
- “I am an efficient, energetic, healthy, fit woman who can handle anything that arises today.”
- “I am capable of creating and maintaining a great life and I’m worthy of the effort.”
- “I am a loving and capable mother/father.”
- “I allow my body to receive enough rest and exercise.”
- “The more I take care of myself, the better I feel.”
- “I give myself permission to be healthy in body, mind, and spirit.”
- “I can neutralize bad habits with good food, exercise, and healthy living.”
LEAVE A COMMENT
- Do any of you practice daily affirmations or have you ever paid attention to how you talk to yourself daily?
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