If you’re looking to live a healthier life in today’s environment then your first question may be, “Where in the world does one even begin?”
You may know you should be exercising but doing what – you know you should be eating healthy foods but which ones? These fitness and nutrition gurus all come to the table with conflicting ideas about what your exercise should look like and their recommended nutrition and supplements. Unfortunately this is all based on their biases and what worked for them and a cross-section of folks who followed their advice.
But it doesn’t mean you’ll get those results.
The cynic in you may even ask who benefits most – you or their bank accounts!
Your second question is most likely around change. Most of us have tried different regimes of diet and exercise in the past and you may be wondering “What will actually work for me this time and why would it be different than results I got before?”
If I’ve just raised your frustration level into the red zone then I’m sorry, but in today’s article I’m looking to help you get going in the right direction with three steps and hopefully reduce your stress around this whole topic way down into the green zone!
STEP ONE: PHYSICAL AND MENTAL INVENTORY
Step one is finding out all about where you are from a physical and mental perspective.
While you may have the end result in mind – and this is good – before you can begin the journey to get to your end game you have to know where you are today. If you were driving to your son’s college in Pennsylvania and getting driving directions then knowing both your current location and final destination allows you to map out a route that’ll be customized just for you.
Some of what follows may seem obvious and basic to you but we need to ensure our assumptions are in alignment.
You should have a physical once a year, and depending on your age and gender your physician will schedule appropriate tests to catch the most obvious problems. A doctor will assess and discern areas in your physical health that are concerns and require immediate attention and modifications.
If you smoke, or know you’re overweight, or suspect your bad cholesterol count is high, then you can expect to get typical suggestions back from the doctor about quitting, and proper nutrition, and even use of prescription drugs such as statins to lower your cholesterol.
If you already have ideas for physical change in mind, i.e., fitness, working out, weight loss programs, diets, taking supplements, etc., check with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any restrictions, health conditions, or allergies which could be hazardous to your health should you engage these changes.
An overall physical assessment might not be the only thing you need to check out before getting started. If you suffer from, or have, any psychological or mental health issues, it’s also best to get these assessed by a professional practitioner in order to make sure you’re literally in the ‘right frame of mind’ to get started.
Some individuals possess mental health issues or addictions which have caused them to reach negative points in their lives both emotionally and physically, and this needs to be corrected. If it’s not corrected, it could lead to a whole new set of frustrations and disappointments which can then lead to the idea for positive change becoming even more hopeless!
There are websites that critique, assess and discuss various products and services. Not only are they professionally scrutinized, they’re often times rated and reported on by consumers, as well as other investigative professionals that have either used the products and/or services, or conducted both qualified and quantifiable research as well.
I’ve provided my own preferred list of websites to get you started in the resource section at the end of this page.
One of the greatest challenges in working with separate professionals is making sure they’re all buying into the same schools of thought and treatment strategies. It can be difficult to get separate practitioners to all buy into the same program, and so you’ll need to take responsibility for doing your own research and being your own advocate for a plan that’ll work cohesively for you.
Back in earlier times, namely the 1980’s when the newest health and fitness waves hit the scene, people were scrambling to find the best treatment, service, diet and/or fitness regime which was best suited for them and would help them find their greatest successes. The problem was everything was so novel and unique that approaches and methods were not tried and tested.
People invested tons of their money into ‘lose weight fast‘, ‘quit smoking easily‘, and ‘become a better you in no time‘ programs. The market was not only saturated with these programs, but also saturated with the disappointment of many who bought into these programs, and frankly mostly attained little to zero lasting successes!
Science and anecdotal success stories have proven what works, and what doesn’t seem to work, so people are able to engage in programs that’ll provide for them the best and most efficient methods.
With the Internet, it’s easier to brainstorm, research, scrutinize and eventually choose what you think will be best for you.
Always remember, just because something has been touted ‘the best‘ or guarantees success, or throngs of other people have had great success using something does not equate with you having the exact same success.
Too many people have high hopes and tremendous expectations they set for themselves, but lack the motivation for following through with what is needed for optimal success.
Success is a mindset which starts between one’s two ears… it’s an inside job that requires commitment and dedication. The questions you have to ask yourself are, “Do I really want this change and… am I prepared to commit and do whatever it takes to making this change a reality?”
It all starts with you!
And this thought flows smoothly into my step two…
STEP TWO: ACTING DIFFERENTLY
What are you prepared to do differently to live healthier starting today?
Most of what you accomplish in terms of your goals comes about by how you talk to yourself in your mind – so called “self-talk.” You literally see and feel what you want to be or become.
It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s good or bad; your subconscious mind focuses on achieving what your conscious mind is focussing on for better or worse! You create the mental scripts, and images, in your subconscious mind which eventually become your realities. Realities, that is, in the sense your subconscious mind cannot tell a real, or past experience, from one that’s repetitively placed there by your conscious mind.
This means you can continually think new realities for yourself and feed your subconscious mind this new reality, leading it to believe that it’s ‘real’.
Sound like science fiction or plain mumbo jumbo to you?
Not so – plenty of verifiable scientific studies over the years have confirmed this happens all the time. The most compelling and obvious examples include professional sports persons who practice their perfect run, swim, or throw, in their mind all the time!
Your subconscious mind will start to look for ways to keep you on the right path to bring more of “these realities” into actual experience. If its weight loss you’re after then your mind will lead you to focus on more things related to weight loss, to the point where you’ll think and act in ways that’ll help you achieve your goals.
This works for smoking cessation, improved fitness, self-esteem building, etc. Where your thoughts go, your energy definitely will flow. The key within this ‘mental tasking‘ is all about training your subconscious mind to get what you really want – you have to be clear and precise on this!
You need to ‘tell‘ yourself this is something you really want to do and not force yourself to do it, or feeling coaxed by someone else to do it. You don’t want to resent yourself or someone else for having to make whatever change it is you’re focused on.
We all know being forced to do something leads to dreading dieting, quitting cigarettes, exercising, or whatever you’ve been told to change, and instead you end up procrastinating the whole experience, always looking for excuses or reasons to put it off, or not try to change at all.
You need to focus on doing what’s positive in order to make and keep both your mind and body healthy.
This is referred to as intrinsic motivation – using yourself as the primary reason and motivator for creating your desired change.
It doesn’t matter what diet you try, what fitness program you choose to implement, what smoking cessation proves to have the best results, or what affirmations promise the best self-esteem growth and actualization. It all has to start on what’s inside of you and how you go about creating and manifesting this mental change for yourself.
Self-discipline and change is perhaps the hard part in all of this ‘positive change‘ for getting healthy.
What can you do to increase your chances of creating change and staying the course, even when distractions come your way and undermine your self-discipline?
This is covered in step three…
STEP THREE: GETTING THE CHANGE TO STICK or WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
Let’s take stock of where we are in the steps before continuing.
Step One is all about taking inventory of your health today, and knowing where you want to get to so you can decide on the changes you need to make.
Step Two is about committing to the changes you want and practice the mindset shifts you need to make to get those changes you’ve identified in step two.
Step Three is the final part. Everything up until now has really been preparation. This step is all about action and making the changes stick.
Step Three is the difficult part. There I said it. No wimping out on you. I know it will be hard for most.
I say this is really the hard part because this is where most have trouble with getting the results they want. I suspect you’ve got to this step before, and may even have got some of the changes you wanted. But over time your mental concentration relaxed and whoops… the progress you made unraveled, and you ended back skipping healthy eating or exercising as life got in the way.
So what can help you make the changes you want and make them stick?
Here are the two most common and a third I’ll introduce you to…
Strong willpower is how most people envisage getting the changes in their life implemented. Mentally, people say, “I’m just going to do it!” And it can work if the incentive is strong enough and you’ve been successful in using this approach in the past.
The American Psychological Association explains “willpower” as the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.
The APA goes on to cite a study they did and explains, “Many people believe they could improve their lives if only they had more of that mysterious thing called willpower. With more self-control we would all eat right, exercise regularly, avoid drugs and alcohol, save for retirement, stop procrastinating, and achieve all sorts of noble goals. Take, for example, the results of the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America Survey. The survey asks, among other things, about participants’ abilities to make healthy lifestyle changes. Survey participants regularly cite lack of willpower as the No. 1 reason for not following through with such changes.”
We can agree then this willpower mystery requires much mental effort and the ability to catch your own self “falling off the wagon,” and getting yourself back on quickly, to limit the damage and keep momentum going.
Easier said than done.
For small and insignificant changes it can work. But for the types of significant changes we’re talking about here, not so successful for most of us… because most of us lack strong willpower.
Picture this scene: 9pm at night after a long and hard day, you tumble exhausted into your cozy favorite chair to relax for a few hours, and there is a piece of sumptuous chocolate laying on the coffee table crying out to you to ‘eat me!”
So what’s the next option?
The next level up of help is coaching.
Just to be clear I’m not talking about a fitness trainer, medical practitioner or nutritionist here, but somebody who can help you adopt your new regime that the professional people, just mentioned above, will lay out for you. The common terms today used are a Change Coach or Life Coach.
Friends and relatives tend to cut you too much slack and soak-up your excuses for procrastination. Choose a person who will practice “tough love” on you. A qualified coach will cost you some pennies but with your “skin in the game” from a financial perspective, you’ll be amazed the motivation it provides when knowing the lack of change is on your dime.
In addition there is also an element of “embarrassment of failure” at play in keeping you motivated. Nobody likes to feel like a ‘failure‘ in front of somebody else; even if you know you’re really not a failure. A professional coach wont judge you, but will let you know when you didn’t do something you said you would.
A coach will provide you guidance on overcoming stumbling blocks and help you navigate through minefields. You’ll find the direction they provide is customized to helping you… all very positive to for you.
I’ve had coaches in the past for help with my business and making changes. Knowing you have a meeting with them at a particular date/time certainly gets you motivated to take action so you don’t appear like a “wimp” when the face-to-face progress report is due!
However, a coach can’t be with you 24×7 catching you about to make a poor choice about food or smoking or alcohol. In those circumstances you only have your mystery willpower to keep you on the “straight and narrow.”
To me the ideal scenario to make change stick is to have a coach who will be with me 24×7.
Would you like to hear about a possible solution that can provide this to you?
Hypnosis can re-calibrate your thinking and set your mind on the proper course of motivation leading to the change you most desire. Hypnosis is easy to do, and results are usually experienced immediately.
If you’re new to hypnosis or somewhat skeptical about it then check out my Guide to Hypnosis here >>>
You can choose to schedule a few sessions with a local hypnotherapist or purchase a self-hypnosis program supporting the goal you want to get. During the session you’ll “see“, “feel” and “hear” yourself accomplishing your (FILL IN THE BLANK) goal in a relaxed state, where your subconscious mind is open to receiving positive new suggestions for stronger intrinsic motivators for desiring to lose weight, eat right and exercise for example.
Post-hypnotic suggestions will be embedded and enabled in your subconscious mind which will help create positive feelings and insights for the area(s) of improvement you most desire.
Hypnosis helps kick start the “right” thoughts, the ones you really need to focus on. This will help you get into an action mindset.
The goal with hypnosis is to replace status quo or mediocre thinking. You’ll create intentional thoughts which get you excited and stimulate your intrinsic self to not only make changes, but keep you on your track toward your desired outcomes.
This becomes the new reality for your subconscious mind. With that said, your subconscious mind will do whatever it takes to take you to that reality, and do it 24×7!
Sound like a plan?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and it’s provided valuable pointers for you if you’re looking to make changes to get to a healthier lifestyle into today’s environment. There is no cookie-cutter approach as you’re unique but if you follow the above steps it should get you on the road to getting to where you want to be.
I’d love to get your feedback on this article and welcome comments and suggestions in the section below.
Here is that resource section I promised you. Good reading.
Erika Slater CH,
Free At Last Hypnosis