The problem isn’t lack of desire, nor is it an issue of laziness, at least not always. The truth is that in the valley of decision-making, I can dig up a myriad of reasons that derail the most sincere of promises to myself that I will work out, especially if I’m navigating that valley in the wee hours of pre-dawn. The same goes for eating right: It’s probably not ideal to hold a bag of chips in one hand and an apple in the other and then try to fight the good fight of healthy eating!
So I eliminated the middle man, or, woman: The Negotiator – that person that considers the evidence of the moment and passes judgement, sentencing me back under soothing, soft covers, or looking for one of those “valid” reasons why now is not the right time. I’ve cut her out of my life, making the choice to exercise and to eat healthy one that sticks when it counts.
Make It Non-negotiable.
Making it non-negotiable is deciding that not carrying out your plan is not going to be an option. Trust me, at 5 a.m., running is not the most appealing daydream for me, but I make the decision ahead of time that despite sleepiness, warm blankets, or comforting darkness, I’m waking up to run. Negotiations are closed so there is no time to “figure out” whether or not I’m going to do it. It’s going to happen, plain and simple, and once my mind has accepted that as fact and not as an option to be considered as my mind tries to clear itself of sleepy fog, my body follows.
But how do you reinforce your stance? Mind over matter holds some merit, but you will need to put things in place to stick to your goals and eliminate negotiations when it truly matters. Here are some realistic tips I use to ensure I stick to my plan of action:
State your goals out loud. I read my goals out loud to myself at night before bed and in the morning. This reminds me of what they are and makes them more important than my need to retire under the covers when my alarm goes off or to give in to food cravings during the day.
Put your alarm clock out of reach. This is as practical as it gets. With my alarm clock on the other side of the room, I have to get out of bed to shut it off on mornings. Yep, no more reaching over and slapping it angrily like I wasn’t the one who set it for that ungodly hour! Then I just keep right on walking till I’m out of my room. I’m awake AND up!
Prepare, Plan, and Schedule. If you plan to work out first thing in the morning, lay all your exercise gear out, and if you’re using a DVD program, put it in the player the night before and cue it. That’s one less thing you have to do, so you certainly can’t use that as an excuse! If you work out later in the day, make sure you add it to your calendar and treat is as you would any other appointment – keep it! Skipping it should not be an option. For my meals and snacks, I prepare them the night before, so my hunger doesn’t surprise me, leaving me to reach for the first sugary or salty snack at hand.
Have a Plan B. For busy parents, this is a must. The moment Plan A falls through, it’s the perfect time for negotiations to resume. So, always have a contingency plan in place. Expect surprises and make the decision beforehand to stick to your non-negotiable plan B, C, or D, if need be.
Until your healthy lifestyle change becomes a habit, your body and mind may not always want to join you on the wagon. Take the pressure off by deciding what you will do before you’re standing at that challenging crossroad, whether it’s a 5 a.m. run, a 5 p.m. slump, or a growling stomach at your desk. Make your goals non-negotiable and meet them every time!!
image: Fork in the road, decision tree, September, Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington, USA by Wonderlane – Creative Commons
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