Let’s end the nonsense of thinking that we have to go really hard and really big to create change in our lives. The truth of the matter is we can do that, but it doesn’t create LASTING change. It’s the baby steps we consistently complete over time that add up to big PERMANENT change.
I don’t know how many times I have tried to massively overhaul my behaviors to go after some goal, only to find myself right back where I started or in some cases worse off than where I started! So why keep doing the same thing and getting the same result I do not want? That’s the definition of insanity. I had to learn that change happens best when done gradually over time. If it is too hard, I won’t follow through; but, if it is simple and fits into my normal way of being, change happens easily.
In the current phase of my health and fitness journey, this message of taking things slowly finally clicked. I didn’t try to overhaul my exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc. all at once. I worked on one piece, and then added another. For instance, I have been working on better sleep patterns for all of 2022. Once I had that down and was mentally ready, I added on the “gym rat” behavior and began showing up at the gym daily. My goal was not to workout everyday at the gym, rather to SHOW UP. I was building the habit of being consistent in getting there. I knew getting there would be a challenge because I have worked out from home for the past eight years. Now that I am in a new phase of life (semi-empty nester), I was ready to do something that involved being out of the house, and around like-minded people. So I sought out a gym that I would love going to, and one that had a sauna. The one I found was over 30 minutes away from my home. This distance would also be a challenge because of my post-pandemic mindset of not wanting to drive anywhere (anyone else who works from home dealing with this, or just me?). Therefore, I had to create a wonderful reward system that would keep me coming back to the gym.
Initially I was overthinking the reward. Then it hit me like “DUH!!!” The sauna and the hydro massage chair at the gym are your rewards for showing up, Joy! This made perfect sense. It aligned with my goal of having a lean, fit, healthy, sexy body, and was easy to do. Now I just needed a way to remind myself daily of getting to the gym. Three things came to mind for visual aids: my gym bag, my keychain with my gym card attached to it, and getting dressed for the gym in the mornings (I go to the gym in the evenings after working from home). I began leaving my gym bag out in my living room (irks my desire of having a clutter free living room, but I would rather a sexy body I love to look at!), and my keys on the kitchen counter where I could see them both every time I went to the front of my house. Every time I see them I’m reminded of being in the gym. And then getting dressed for the gym in the morning sets the tone for my day…I know I have on workout clothes to actually WORKOUT! All of these reminders really helped me to cultivate my gym rat mindset, and what REALLY sealed the deal was scheduling my workouts on my calendar every single day (more on this later).
So what about you? How can you implement this “slow and steady” approach for change in your life? What behavior are you working on changing? What’s one small step you can take to get you closer to your goal? How can you keep yourself reminded of it daily? And finally, how will you reward yourself every single time you complete this new behavior? I would love to hear all about it!
Cheers to our growth!