And the 3 actions I want you to start implementing TODAY!
By: Janine Serio
THIS was the very question that was on the hot seat during one of my corporate coaching calls yesterday. Not only is this a pretty broad topic BUT it is one that can be confusing at times as well. While not an all-inclusive list, lifestyle change can be broken down into MANY areas – fitness, nutrition, stress management, mindset, financial, spiritual, emotional, etc. While most of the coaching you see from myself and the “2 Health Nuts” is geared towards lifestyle change from a health and wellness standpoint, the tools and strategies that I share each week, here, and on our other social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) can EASILY be implemented in all areas of your life.
Here’s a quick story I shared on yesterday’s call about how my coaching has changed over the last decade, and how I slowly implemented and adopted this lifestyle approach.
I will be honest, when I first came into the industry 10+ years ago, I felt that I needed to coach from a so-called “plan;” meaning, I was very regimented with my clients on their workouts – i.e. number of cardio days, strength days, body part splits, etc. – and nutrition – i.e. 5-6 small meals per day, certain amount of fruits & vegetables at every meal, implementing starchy carbohydrates around workouts or sprinkled in throughout the day, water, water, water, etc. This was all stemming from what I had read in books and magazines, what my fellow colleagues where doing at that very moment with their clients, what seemed to work for me (or so I thought), what seemed to work for other people, and so on, and so on.
Over time, though, what I started to notice was that as I was becoming more and more non-compliant with these strategies in my own life, it was getting harder and harder for me to “enforce” with my own clients. Not only was I miserable but I am sure my clients weren’t feeling that passionate and excited about their workouts and nutrition anymore either. I knew I needed to make a change if I was going to be an effective trainer and coach…and not lose sight of my own personal passion and excitement for my craft.
It hasn’t been until the last few years that I started to realize there was SO MUCH MORE to this lifestyle equation than I ever really thought, yet alone tried to put into practice. Again, it has been through a LOT of trial and error with my own experiences, and really zooming out the wellness lens in an effort to break the rigidity & “rules” that I was in agony following.
Don’t get me wrong, it has taken a LOT of hard work to get me to where I am today. In fact, there are still times – even to this day – that I wonder if it wouldn’t be easier just to follow a plan; something a little more concrete and, as a client once said to me, not so “whatever.” Every time I go there, though, it just feels so unnatural. It feels routine, structured, and, as I touched on before, way too rigid, complicated, and just downright controlling! The more I continued to work and trust my process (remember, trust is the very opposite of control), and, finally, realize that consistency and taking action every day is that much more rewarding (not to mention easier and freer), I knew this would be my game changer, both personally and professionally.
I freed myself from the obsession and idea that in order to be a well-respected coach and leader I needed to follow someone else’s rules!
So, how did I get there?
When trying to dissect this whole concept of making a lifestyle change, there are 3 areas that I got laser focused with. These are the same 3 that I am sharing with you, today, and what I encourage you to start taking action on, and implementing, right away! Mind you, these are not practices that you will do a handful of times and then have it mastered. These are practices that are on-going…just like your journey is on-going. As you hear me say time and time again, just when you feel you have a part of your process mastered, life has a way of throwing you that curve ball.
GUESS WHAT?! That is to be expected and, when we embrace these so-called setbacks, and re-frame our mindset, we can view them as learning opportunities, and ways to grow and level-up, as opposed to spending our energy on taking the victim mindset approach. Yes, it is not easy and, at times, it may feel really uncomfortable, but ALL of these life experiences help in creating the tools, strategies, and rules that work for YOU…and only YOU.
Action #1: Your lifestyle needs to be realistic, sustainable, and, for the most part, become automated and effortless.
IT’S THAT SIMPLE, but one that does involve putting in the hard work to get to this place. Sustainability is something that can be done for the long haul; in this instance, one that can be done FOREVER. Your health and wellness initiatives are not something that should only be able to stay the course for 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, or even 1 year.
If you are feeling this way – i.e. everything you have ever tried has a start and a finish without any maintenance plan to back it up – then this is, obviously, not something that is realistic for you. As silly as this may sound, one of the best things you can do to help implement this action in your day to day practice is to ask yourself this question –> “Can I see myself doing ‘THIS’ tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, in 5 years, 10 years, FOREVER?” Sure, things may need to be tweaked here and there but, for the most part, if you are having a hard time answering this question with a “yes,” it’s time to take a look at these behaviors to see how they can be re-framed.
If you know that chocolate, for example, is one of your enjoyments in life, is it REALLY realistic to think that by cutting it out, completely, is going to serve you any good? To tell yourself that you can never have it again only puts that dreaded “bad” label on the item and, let’s face it, only wants you pining for it even more. Wouldn’t you rather have a little bit every single day than white knuckle your way through the week, only to dive head first into the M&M’s on Friday and be finished the whole bag by Saturday?
What about your workouts? Maybe the reason you haven’t felt successful with staying on track with a consistent routine is because you have this “idea” of what it is supposed to look like – not what works for you, your goals, and/or your mindset. Again, wouldn’t you rather workout for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 days per week with intensity (and get time back on your side) then 60+ minutes, 3-4 days per week, of the same routine, and, let’s be honest, out of complete boredom?
Although just examples, these are the very instances where you need to start asking yourself “is this something I can do for the long haul?” If not, I need to implement them in a way so I can continue staying the course with lifestyle goals!
Action #2: Let go of the idea that perfection exists.
That’s right – a total myth…and coming from a “work-in-progress” perfectionist mind you. Ha! This mindset is debilitating, and will only push your further and further away from your goals – trust me on this. Sure, while something may look pretty on paper, there is no perfect lifestyle plan. The only plan that works is the one that works for YOU – not what worked for your significant other, co-worker, friend, mom, dad, sister, brother, etc. When we start letting go of the idea that in order to be effective in something, it has to be PERFECT, the opposite starts to happen. We start to feel more successful and, ultimately, get more wins under our belt. Think about all the energy it takes to try to “keep it all together.” When we relax into our process, show up as we are, and do what works for us (I can’t stress this enough), the pieces will start to fall into place. As we slowly start to unravel our tightly wound selves, we free up a lot more emotional, mental, and physical energy that can be used towards working on becoming a higher version of our authentic self.
Action #3: There is no urgency or rush to get it RIGHT, RIGHT NOW!
This mindset goes hand in hand with letting go of the idea that perfection exists. We all want to see results from the fruits of our labor, but we all want to see results right away too. It is a natural way of thinking. This is why diets are so popular, yet they have the lowest success rates. They promise you will lose “10 lbs. in 2 weeks,” yet they have no maintenance plan to back it up. Most of the time, these plans come with unrealistic protocols – my favorites include the ones that eliminate food groups all together and have you working out for hours on end. You do the plan for 2 weeks (let’s not overlook the fact that you are probably miserable in the process), you (almost) lose all the weight they promise, and then what? Not only do you go off the plan BUT your willpower is virtually gone and you end up right back where you started (and them some).
Do you feel successful at the end of the 2 weeks? Not really; instead you walk away feeling resentful, and then weak, because you couldn’t sustain what was set forth.
This is a vicious cycle. It takes time to re-frame this mindset BUT, trust me, it will feel SO MUCH BETTER if you take it one day at a time, stop depriving yourself because you THINK this is the ONLY way to reach your goals, and, finally, not feel like you are back at the starting line with even MORE hurdles to overcome!
You will feel freer. It will become less of an obsession and more of a process.
This is what your life is, A PROCESS; one of learning and growth that will always have ebbs and flows. Let’s start thinking in terms of having FOREVER to figure it out, and also know that just because we think we have it figured out does not mean we can’t tweak and modify as we change.
This is real life. Embrace where you are RIGHT NOW and enjoy the journey. Put the work in, start taking action, and begin living the life you have always wanted!
“It has been through a LOT of trial and error with my own experiences, and really zooming out the wellness lens.”
“I freed myself from the obsession & idea that in order to be a well-respected coach I needed to follow someone else’s rules.”
“When we embrace these so-called setbacks, we can view them as learning opportunities, and ways to grow & level-up.”
“When we relax into our process, show up as we are, and do what works for us, the pieces will start to fall into place.”
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