How many times have you been in a room or a car with someone feels hot and who then insists on putting the air conditioning full blast on freezing cold. 10 minutes later they are freezing cold and so then insist on putting it full blast on full heat. 10 mins later they probably go back to freezing cold again!! Sound familiar??? If only they had tweaked the dial and waited for the temperature to cool down….
How often do you do this in your life? I know I have been guilty of this many times in the past….
“You feel tired and sluggish one weekend and your jeans are getting harder to do up so you say enough!! You immediately devise a plan (which always starts on a Monday!) to eat perfectly and exercise every day. Monday comes, you eat next to nothing all day – lots of lettuce – and then you come home lace up your trainers and go for a 5km run (because 6 months ago you finished couch to 5k). What happens? You are starving hungry, you aren’t used to running so your knees hurt, you had to walk half the way, you get home and eat rubbish food because you are a failure so what is the point!”
How many times have we done this cycle over and over again. It doesn’t just relate to weight management, it relates to fitness, studying, career goals, DIY tasks – just about anything. We set ourselves a goal to be perfect, we frustrate ourselves that we aren’t perfect, we beat ourselves up, and then write ourselves off as a failure and go back to what we were doing before. All of this reinforces our view that we just aren’t good enough, will never be successful (insert here whatever it is that you believe about yourself..)
The reality is that if we are more realistic and patient we will reach our goals quicker. If we start to make small sustainable tweaks to our habits and slowly build up new routines then we are far more likely to achieve our goals than by following a boom or bust approach. The idea of a fast change can be seductive but it rarely lasts. If this keeps happening to you over and over again then it is time to try something new.
So, in the example above if you haven’t exercised for ages try going back to week 2 or 3 of the couch to 5k and build up your running from there. Accept that it is going to take you time to get back to running 5k rather than expecting able to get straight back to your previous best and feeling a failure for not being able to. Make it a routine on fixed days of the week and feel good every time to achieve your goal. If you don’t do your run one day then be curious as to why you didn’t, learn from that and then go again.
If you are struggling with losing weight and have been following a boom and bust approach previously then the best first “tweak” to make is to start maintaining your weight rather than gaining. Change eating habits one step at a time until you are no longer gaining weight. Once you are there keep “tweaking” one habit at a time until you start losing. If a “tweak” feels too hard, then adjust your approach and try something else. Examples of tweaks might be; stopping eating leftovers from the kids plates, stopping snacking in front of the TV, stopping eating bread and butter when you get home from work. Replace each bad habit with one that serves you instead and celebrate your achievements. Feel good about every change you make for yourself.
Change takes effort – but if it gets you where you want to go it is totally worth it. Accept that tweaking your current habits will be more sustainable even if it feels slower. Start tweaking your dial today – your future self will thank you. You are worth it.
If you want help identifying and achieving your goals then coaching can help. Please contact me here for a free initial session.