By: Bruce Burke and Ryan Burke
Have you ever experienced the cascading cycle of overeating, limited physical activity, and low self-esteem? Is every meal or snack a struggle? Is the mere thought of exercising a chore?
For many of us, these challenges are very real. We see it all too often in our business and refer to it as the “downward spiral of motivation”. Fortunately, just as a downward spiral picks up momentum, so can an upward spiral!
We often think the problem/solution must relate to willpower. To be sure, a measure of willpower and discipline is necessary to create habit change. But our experience shows that for many, a headlong assault using unaided willpower is simply business as usual and a prelude to another failure. Real, lasting habit change must start by developing a new perspective and a new mindset.
At One on One, we believe strongly in the following “Core Beliefs” as effective tools to create this new perspective and facilitate habit change. It is our hope that you use these concepts to create your new perspective.
We must care for ourselves before we can care for others.
Many of us don’t make personal health a priority in our lives…everything else comes first. Putting ourselves first is not selfish; it’s about maintaining balance, setting a good example, and thriving. At some point in our lives, we will have to make our health a priority. The question is whether it will be before or after a health crisis. We must be proactive and make the decision now.
We always have choices; we are not victims.
People often create roadblocks (i.e. time, special events, willpower) and place blame for their inability to improve their health. The truth is that once they have a significant health scare, these roadblocks disappear. They can suddenly make regular exercise and healthy eating a priority. We should not accept artificial roadblocks as an excuse. Rather, we must deal with reality and develop strategies to succeed.
Changing our mindset from one of deprivation to one of gratitude.
Most people start their wellness journey thinking they must deprive themselves of the foods they enjoy. Likewise, many dread the idea of maintaining a consistent fitness program. These are negative mindsets that should be switched to one of gratitude. After all, it isn’t a stretch to say that we are very lucky to be healthy enough to exercise and to have all the food we will ever need to stay healthy and satisfied. The question is; should we feel deprived when we limit ourselves to one cookie, or feel fortunate to have had one at all? This example doesn’t even begin to address the real benefits of eating right, such as good health and increased self-esteem. A mindset of appreciation helps with self-control and allows us to be less obsessed with the destructive foods and habits many of us have become accustomed to.
Willingness to stretch ourselves and get out of our “comfort zone.”
It is amazing how powerful our so called “comfort zone” can be. The fear of leaving it is quite often more powerful than the misery of staying there. Most people beginning their wellness journey make it an unrealistic, daunting task and secretly fear that they will ultimately fail. We must face these fears and go down a new path that can be challenging, but unbelievably rewarding as they develop new habits that are consistent with who they aspire to be. This process is made easier by doing it with others who have the same goals and face similar challenges.
Accepting life on life’s terms is an important key to happiness. After all, there is only so much we have control over. Conversely, not practicing acceptance or excessively trying to control things that aren’t ours to control leads to frustration, stress and unhappiness. Too often, these negative emotions contribute to unhealthy lifestyle habits. If we are unhappy, we have two solutions; either change our behaviors or accept the reality of our current circumstances. This is critical when it comes to developing healthy habits. We must do what it takes to change, or gladly accept our current circumstances.