Start with the right attitude to reach your objective.
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When we set out to make a change, improve our diets, or increase our workout routine, we often ignore the proper mental approach to the situation, and put too much pressure on ourselves to succeed.
It is essential to understand that this change is a process, one where immediate success is not possible. If you’ve spent the last decade sitting on the couch every day, announcing your intentions to wake up early and run through the neighborhood will hardly get you anywhere.
Having the right mental attitude is the difference between establishing a real life change and failing to meet your goals just weeks after setting them. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
When I was in college, I was hopelessly addicted to sodas. I would never have called it that at the time, but to put things into perspective, I once poured Dr. Pepper on cereal.
Since those years I have come to terms with the health concerns inherent in consuming such a large quantity of this sugar laden beverage and have taken steps to avoid it. Each of us has a similar health or fitness issue that we have realized needs changing.
The trouble is, in attempting to bring about these changes, we are often times putting ourselves into impossible situations where success is virtually impossible.
Take Things in Stages
When attempting to make a major fitness or lifestyle change, it is unfair to believe that you will be able to change immediately. Instead, take things in increments.
If you are trying to cut out sweets, try to bring your consumption lower than the week or month before, even if that amount is still greater than zero. It is unfair to yourself to expect to be able to make major changes at the singular point of deciding in your mind to do so.
These things progress over time. Start slowly; take things in month long stages. Mark your progress, however gradual, over those months until you are ready to taper things off weekly, then daily.
When we approach changes with the weight of finality, it will make slip ups and regressions out to be a total failure of your plans.
This thinking is what kills our drive to continue: the belief that a temporary failure represents a complete and total failure of the goals you’ve set for yourself. Each day should not be the make or break point for your goals.
Setbacks will take place. The important thing to keep in mind is that these setbacks should not drag us down and convince us of failure.
Accept the Inevitability of Setbacks
Setbacks and relapses are a necessary part of the process; accepting them is a critical part in the eventual completion of your goals.
Expecting yourself to break from old habits cleanly does nothing but harm your ability to ultimately do so. When we give ourselves a no-tolerance policy for mistakes, they can completely derail and reverse any progress made up to the point of such an inevitability.
Our minds are quick to point out our mistakes, and will quickly characterize a late night ice cream binge as your inability to change, which can throw you into a spiral of negative thinking that will destroy any chance to achieve your goals.
If and when you find yourself doing that thing you told yourself you’d never do again, your understanding of the situation is paramount to your continued progress.
Acknowledge that you’ve had a setback, but do so in a way that does not lead you down a path of self-loathing. Log it away along the longer trend of your current progress. Mark it as a set back within the current time stage to be compared to the next.
Focus on Long Term Progress
Seeing things in stages is a challenge. When trying to commit a life change in our health or fitness, we have a tendency to evaluate our entire effort in the immediate moment.
If I ran two miles this morning before work then I am succeeding. If I slept in, I failed. This kind of thinking makes change impossible; your focus must be on the long term, and the gradual change to eventually reach success.
Throughout the ups and downs of your entire journey to change, always keep track of the entirely of the process; do not live and die with each day of your battle with Haagen-Dazs.
Keep in mind how far you’ve come. Take note of your progress, however minor, and allow yourself to feel as though you’ve accomplished something towards your ultimate goal. With where you’ve come and where you plan to go in view, even your loftiest health and fitness changes seem attainable, however long the process may take.
Today, I still break down and order a Pepsi every now and again, but I don’t hate myself when I do it, and I’ve been able to bring my consumption down from multiple sodas a day to once or twice a week, and that deep seeded need for sodas inside me is starting to fade.
I’m not at the finish line yet, but I can see the progress that I’ve made, and can fight through those occasional mistakes. It’s a difficult journey, but its benefits are worth the battle.
Written by the marketing department for the San Diego accident lawyers at AA Accident Attorneys