Hey newbie or restarter, if you're having trouble following through on the actions you need to take to achieve your goals- I totally get it. I remember when I first started tracking food in My Fitness Pal and it felt like I could never quite hit my targets just right. I was determined to hit my 10,000 steps goal, but somehow 9:00 pm would roll around and I'd still be sitting at 6,000 steps.
It was super frustrating. Why couldn't I just make these things happen?!
How many times will I fail before I think,
"oh gee, maybe I should do something differently."
What I figured out, not only because of my own personal experiences, but also because I get to work on this exact thing with my clients...the fourth thing I would NOT do if I were just getting started on my wellness journey...
I would not wing it.
AKA figure it out as I go, let whatever happens happen and hope for the best, do what I can based on what the day throws at me, etc.
Winging it each day was holding me back. However, when I took the time to plan my food ahead I'd hit my targets more often, even if I ended up having to change things up a bit through the day. When I intentionally gave myself more opportunities to walk I hit my step goal much more easily.
It comes down to building self-awareness, being intentional, and following through.
Picture this: you just got off of work and you're ravenously hungry. You want something PRONTO! Now sink into this feeling- the grumbling tummy, the tiredness, the hanger... and *insert angelic music here* you see a Taco Bell up ahead on the right and a Subway on the left. You have food at home, but you don't feel like cooking and you want food 5 minutes ago. The easiest most available option on this 6 lane road 5 miles from home is obviously the Taco Bell. Ya whip to the right and sink in the glorious wonder of a chicken quesadilla and your hanger is appeased.
Yes, this is the face you made.
Planning ahead could have given you a scenario like this: you pull out of work ravenous, but you know you always leave work ravenous so you whip out your handy snack for the road (banana, PB &J sandwich, granola bar, etc). You also know you hate to cook after work- it almost never happens- so you threw pot roast in the crock pot this morning that's going to be MOUTHWATERINGLY delightful when you get home. You're able to ignore the tantalizing calls of every restaurant you pass because you'll get more bang for your buck at home anyway. (Not to mention literally saving some bucks 💸)
Just to drive this point home a little bit more, and this could be a hard pill to swallow, so grab a glass of water, but we like to blame life getting crazy for our lack of being intentional.
I can sense this coming from some of you...
It's true, though. If you take the time to be intentional and plan ahead you're much more likely to follow through on the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. You're going to become more self-aware, anticipate life's curveballs better, and get more creative with figuring out how to get what you want. No more being flung around by life!
Disclaimer: yes I know sometimes things happen in life that you have zero control over- your kid gets sick, you get a flat tire, an unexpected bill comes up, and so on.
The key is to take back control where you can. The great thing about planning ahead is also learning how to become flexible and still achieve what you want.
What it really comes down to is taking radical personal responsibility for your life. This is a super challenging, yet amazingly empowering mindset to ground yourself in. Challenging because you'll have to acknowledge things that you're doing that aren't helpful or have contributed to your current struggles. Empowering because once you do that you can start taking life changing actions so you can get what you truly want for yourself.
So, I leave you with a question: What are you going to do today to stop winging it and start taking back control of your wellness?
Stay tuned for the last in this series- the 5th thing I wouldn't do if I were just getting started on my wellness journey- coming soon!