We often think we have tomorrow to “start” because the process of making changes can wait. It’s one that feels like it requires a lot of time, energy and effort. So, we wait. Here’s the thing: what's harder than making a change and a routine for a healthier lifestyle is dealing with the chronic, physical and mental, pain of leading an unhealthy one.
Pain is definitely not something that you would want to live with on the daily. Yet, it seems that it’s just easier to not change. So, the question is why is it so easy for us not to take action? The second, more important question, is how do we actually start to take action?
Typically, we have 5 seconds to act on a decision or else our brains just kill the idea and it never gets done. (This concept is adopted from Mel Robbins) Pretty small window right? No wonder it’s so easy to not do a workout or not to make a healthier choice and just eat whatever is available when we don’t make a conscious effort to make a quick decision!
So, how do you increase the number of times you actually take action if the gap of time between the decision and action is so tight?
1) First is understanding that not taking action leads to more pain, suffering, depression, weight gain etc than taking the actions that are more in alignment with your goals.
2) Second is that once you make the decision to take action you have only 5 seconds. Count backwards 5-4-3-2-1 and JUMP into it. The counting helps you stay focused on the commitment and distracts you from coming up with any excuses to not do it. Once you get to 3, push yourself to move forward (literally start taking a step forward to do it) and at 4 GO DO IT.
3) Thirdly, start with smaller steps. Smaller steps are easier to digest and to commit to. For example, mentally, it’s way easier to commit to a walk or workout 10-15 minutes a day than say you’re going to hit the gym twice a day. In the same way, committing to eating one healthy meal a day for a week is more doable than saying you’re going to be perfect with every meal at the beginning of your weight loss journey. The smaller the steps, the less pressure you put on yourself.
These three steps help you start to shift the “bad” habits or habits that don’t help you move towards your goals to better ones that actually work to your advantage. Something to know and remember is that bad habits don’t ever really get eliminated. They’ll always exist, but they get replaced by better ones. It’s daily work, until it becomes second nature, to continue to make better decisions and take action to carry out those choices.
If you need help gradually developing better habits to create a healthier daily routine for your physical and mental health, check out my program: Conquer the 3pm Slump- you just need 5 minutes a day to make it happen!