Updated: Oct 20
"Ugh, gym AGAIN after work today."
"God, another salad for lunch."
"Walking is so boring."
When we're looking to make health changes, we often approach it from a place of "have to", as in:
I have to make changes otherwise my health will get worse.
I have to start exercising to lose some weight.
I have to give up alcohol or my liver will get worse.
And while it may be true that not taking action will lead to worse health, we don't HAVE to do anything. This is actually a choice. A choice we have the ability to make.
You might say to me, well no its's not Charlotte! If I do nothing, I will get sick.
But many people still choose not to do anything about their health, with the denialist idea that "it won't affect me."
So, yes, what you are doing is your CHOICE.
Now, you might be thinking, "ok, so what?".
Well, even when we choose to make changes, we often think of them in a negative way. We are begrudgingly choosing to do something about our health, and begrudgingly choosing to do something is the worst possible way to do it.
If we are constantly thinking of how annoying it is to go to the gym, or how much we are missing out on by refraining from alcohol at the next BBQ, or how bland our healthy lunch is, we are really not setting ourselves up for success.
Really, we are forcing ourselves to do something, and the way we talk about that change reinforces our attitude towards it.
Are you really going to still to one beer on the weekends when you keep thinking about how much you're missing out on getting drunk with your buddies?
Are you really going to keep to that healthy lunch when you keep comparing it to that deep fried chicken box you used to get?
Are you really going to keep up your morning swim when you keep telling yourself about how annoying it is to wake up in the cold, dark mornings and jump into a cold pool?
We often don't think about the way we talk about ourselves, whether it's our internal self-talk, or the way we talk about our actions to others, but I strongly encourage you to start looking at the words and attitudes that come across in the way you describe your changes.
Instead of thinking "I hate waking up so early, its cold and dark", perhaps think, "I like being someone who wakes up early", or "I enjoy being able to watch the sun rise", or even "I love how quiet it is this early in the morning".
This might take some time to think about something positive.
It could be the way it makes you feel, something you experience when you do it, the people you do it with or anything else you can think of!
Once you've found your positive thing, think of a short and sweet statement about your positive thing. You want it to be something you can repeat easily to yourself, so you can easily recall it when you need to.
Then, when you start to notice you are talking negatively about your habit, you can immediately switch to thinking about your short and sweet statement to swap to something positive. This is why it's important to repeat the statement to yourself often, to make it easy to recall when you need it most.
Being as positive as possible about your new health choice is important to the lasting success of your new habit. Start small and work your way up.
If you need help setting your new health journey in motion, contact us for help and support.