Staying on track
Instead of starting your mornings with the stress of deadlines and to-do lists
and how many hours you have to squeeze it all into,
why don’t you instead approach each new day with a curiosity of what fun and adventures await you?
Lissa Rankin MD
If this page were in a book, I would make it the final chapter, one where I ask
simply, if you are seeking better health and well-being then now that you have
read the book, now what?
If you’ve been applying your learning as you’ve gone through, bit by bit, what
has kept you on target, taken you off target?
Where have you found it difficult to stay motivated? Where have you lost
interest and why?
What’s got in the way of either your reading / learning and sabotaged any action
you wanted to take?
What resistances and barriers did you put up? And did you bring them down?
In short, if you’ve decided to make some changes in order to create better health and well-being how will you stay motivated, on target, and able to deal with challenges along the way?
Stay true to you
The beginning of a healthier way of living, of taking steps to create better health and well-being, can be an exciting time, a time full of potential and possibilities. We have our vision, we see our steps, we realise it is as much about the journey to better health and learning from it as it is about being healthier. It’s about an ongoing process, and not just an end point. The bodymind or mindbody is always seeking to aim towards growing; we can either help that process, or get in the way.
We help when we stay true to Self.
Even with the best of plans, life starts to get in the way. Like New Year’s resolutions, we start out January 2 full of good intention only to discover by January 15 we’ve forgotten what we set out to achieve. Things got in the way? We got in our own way. Travelling to work got in the way. Work itself got in the way. Relationships and domestic stresses got in the way. Saying "yes" to others too often got in the way. Post holiday financial and overspend worries got you down. Old habits kicked in. New ones were never really given the chance to seed, take root, and blossom.
So, how do we stay motivated when the initial excitement of looking forward to “the new” is impeded or wears off?
The key is to unconditionally accept yourself, and be grateful for all you have and all you can do. Accept that you are human and it is part of your unique humanness to make mistakes, to learn from them, to miss targets, and to have occasional lapses and so on; the other key is how quickly you can get back on track without berating yourself. These are all key to making healthy choices a part of a sustainable lifestyle filled with quality health and well-being.
By putting in the effort to make healthy habits, face your challenges, replace the obstacles, you’re making a long term investment in yourself.
Start on Target
One of the best ways to stay on target with your work or project or change, is to write out your target and post it where it is easily visible then each day, start on target.
Always start your day with your best of intentions and a positive attitude then start on your most important work.
Prioritise time to focus on your desired change or changes.
Turn off the world – stop notifications. Cut out distractions.
When we are focussed on achieving something we can often be taken off-track or interrupted and many of our regular interruptions are from our technology. What was supposed to be help us is increasingly not helping us unless used wisely with a high degree of consciousness.
Interruptions come in all sorts of ways - videos that open and scream at you the moment you open a page, the noise of pings and rings, the popups and notifications, dings and chimes, adverts that instantly turn on, and phones that are a psychological distraction ie not only with incoming texts and messages and calls but our curiosity which keeps us fixated to checking the phone, it is said, roughly every 12 minutes to say nothing of how that can get in the way for others we may be with at the time.
So when you are focussed on you, turn off the notifications. Silence those interruptions. And yes, even your mobile phone has an “off” button for you to turn off completely unless, of course, you are calling in some meditation music or using a relaxation app.
Shun Timewasters and Naysayers
As you begin to seek and make changes to your life to find better health and well-being it is important to surround yourself with people who will support (and sometimes challenge) you, people who can inspire you, be there for you when your motivation wanes.
Avoid or minimise time with people who moan, complain, talk negatively and who in particular do you down or mock your ideas. Discern between a genuine challenge from someone, one that is intended to have you think and reflect and make wise choices, from one that is judgemental and leaves you feeling bad. Do not buy into other peoples’ agendas. Always think about what they are saying and what their motivation in saying it may be.
Avoid negative gossip
Learn to say “no” if you find it too easy to say "yes" to others without first weighing up the pros and cons.
Gossip wastes energy; avoid it. It is negative energy negatively impacting your mind - body systems.
If you let other people take your time, even in your head as you think about them, soon you won’t have any time left for yourself.
Let others know you are busy and that you will get back to them when you are finished.
If you are asked to do or give something, buy time and say you will get back with your decision.
Some work environments are just not conducive to concentrated work. And this can be especially true if you work from home where there are so many distractions or ways of distracting yourself like taking time out to check the phone, boil the kettle, make a snack.
So you may need to isolate yourself or find a special room where you get important work done.
Have a special place where you meditate or do your spiritual work eg doing any rituals or watching inspirational videos– and tell people that you cannot be interrupted during this important time. Turn off all non-essential gadgets because even just anticipating a call will interrupt your meditation.
If you are talking to someone about a serious health concern, worry, or anxiety, ask them not to interrupt you and be clear what you need from them – to listen only, to comment, to challenge you, to support you, otherwise people will usually just respond with their agenda and you can get seriously lost or forgotten.
What’s your big why?
For any change, there has to be a reason. But a reason is not enough.
For every reason, write down the benefits of achieving it and how, in turn, you will feel. Eg
CHANGE (GOAL) REASON BENEFITS HOW YOU'LL FEEL
To loose 1lb per week x 12 week Normalise blood glucose Cancel need for medications Lighter
Able to walk / swim more easily Fitter and heathier
Become more attractive More confident etc
Identifying exactly what your reason is, why you are making the change, the benefits you will achieve, and the good feelings you are looking forward to, then reminding yourself of these daily, will help you stay focused and motivated, especially when times are hard.
Write these down in a journal or even on sticky notes around your house and in your car as a constant reminder.
Research tells us that if we focus especially on how we will feel, we have a greater chance of success ie of manifesting the change.
Be flexible, be willing – as you review your progress – to revise your changes, reasons, benefits and feelings.
If you want to know a bit about the theory … consider the theory of motivation.
Motivators - there are two different kinds of motivation, external and internal, or extrinsic and intrinsic.
Extrinsic – coming from without, not usually essential eg a reward or a threat (eg of punishment) or a message of doom say from a health practitioner. There's nothing like a medical wake-up call to motivate change.
Intrinsic – arising naturally from within, doing something for its own sake, for personal satisfaction, because you choose to, not because you feel obliged to.
In the beginning, extrinsic motivation can be a powerful tool to get you started and stay on track eg given bad health news you get a shock and realise you need to change your lifestyle.
But in the long term, intrinsic motivation, ie being inner directed, deciding to take self-responsibility for your changes and not because a doctor told you, intrinsic tends be more meaningful and longer lasting.
Being sick and tired of being sick and tired can be a strong motivator for CHANGE. The prospect of having to take medication for the rest of your life can be depressing and give you the REASON to change. The BENEFITS are fewer medicines, fewer horrid side-effects of medication, less brain fog, more energy, increasingly more active and brighter days. And the FEELINGS after making all of the necessary lifestyle changes, it feels good just not being able to imagine ever going back! Feels indescribably good and energising being kinder to your body, being slimmer, leaner, and with a healthy glow. You enjoy the compliments.
You cannot change what you will not face. And if you don’t face your challenges, you cannot replace them.
No matter how much you visualise a better future and plan ahead, unexpected things will arise and challenge your commitment to healthier choices. Remind yourself that when the going gets tough is the very time for you to get tough. Throwing a pity party and getting downhearted will not work. Remind yourself (often) of your Big Why, the reason, the benefits, and the feelings. Reconnect to how you desire things to be and the feelings they will bring.
Practise acceptance. By taking a mindful approach and embracing the situation as it is, you can diffuse negative emotions around your habits, be calm, generate options for moving forward.
Difficult times are an opportunity to re-commit to a healthier way of life. Lapses are part of the process and whilst you may be disappointed, don’t get angry or beat yourself up … that is a waste of your energy. Take time out to meditate and refocus. Recommit to your goals, reconnect with the changes you desire and move forward with what you’ve learned.
We all have moments of tiredness, temptation or weakness, it’s part of being human. But who is running your life – tiredness, temptation or weakness, … or YOU?
Remind yourself of benefits and feelings and come back to your healthy choices and let them override and temptations or weaknesses.
Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, healing and achieving a healthier life can be easier when we reach out for support and connection with others. Helping others motivates us and strengthens us. A strong support system is essential to making healthy lifestyle choices and have them stick for good. Increasingly it’s not so easy to be in community or meet people and more and more people are choosing to live solo lives so family support can be lacking.
If you don’t have people in your life, ones that can support the changes you’re making, take some time to work out how you can create a better support network … of people who can support your changes, inspire you, challenge you, bring out the best in you and you in them. Look online for communities in your area or on social media. Find forums through organisations which share your interests or activism. Look at noticeboards in your local library or in supermarkets.
Draw up and nurture a list of people you can connect with when times get hard.
How best can you connect with yourself and care for yourself?
Do you need a health coach who can be there to keep you motivated?
Notice your story
What's the story you tell yourself, and does it have a happy ending?
Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves can be laced with all sorts of words and phrases which subconsciously are bringing us down or getting in the way.
Sometimes our map of the world limits our progress.
It’s completely normal for motivation to wane to ebb and flow and we have to ride the waves of unhelpful stories eg
I just can’t do this
I can’t be bothered any more
I am a starter not a finisher
Why did I ever start this
I can’t face ….
These are the moments it is important to catch the story and rewrite it ..
I choose to do this
I choose to be bothered. I now (do, chose to ….)
I get back on track now to complete this by ….
I started this because….. (heck in with your Reasons, Benefits, Feelings)
I choose to face, embrace, and if necessary replace by ….
It’s important to focus on the actions you can take moving forward to stay true to your goals, the CHANGES you desire.
Be CLEAR and be DISCIPLINED Develop healthy HABITS and where necessary stick to a regular TIME SCHEDULE eg
for taking medications
to reflect, contemplate, meditate
for exercise and movement
for friends and family
Allow for spontaneity.
Building a habit of recording what you are grateful for will also help you stay strong in the face of challenges. Keep a daily diary of gratitude.
Despite the challenges, make it a habit each day to record all the good things that are happening each day, no matter how seemingly insignificant. The little things are likely to become the big things.
After each interaction – write out the good things about it, how skilled you were, how well the other person responded, how the outcome will help you change, how supportive someone was, the fact the other person listened to you etc Even if the interaction was seemingly negative, challenging, uncomfortable, embarrassing, record your learning, your achievements, and successes and be grateful for them.
Punch the air and give thanks to God, The Source, Spirit, The Cosmos.
Sing your thankful song.
Read up on gratitude on this site
Your life plan is an overall view of the life you are planning. Your goals are the steps you would take to implement the plan and achieve certain outcomes. Planning is like laying a strategy, goal setting is like creating the tactics to fulfill the strategy. Planning comes first, goal setting second.
“Create a personal development plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once,
whether you’re ready or not, to put this plan into action.”
The one personal development skill that I observe is making a huge difference in people’s successes is the ability to plan ahead. Writing your own personal development plan is exactly the process that, if done right, can give you this advantage in life.
Back up your plans and goals with appropriate affirmations ie statements of what you desire to achieve but written and said in the present tense as if they have already happened.
I easily lose weight every day and reach my ideal weight of xxx lbs by (date)
I am now a money magnet and money flows into my life with ease; I am a happy multi-millionaire.
Affirmations may be written or spoken.
In creating them make them Positive, Present Tense, and Personal (ie you can't "do" affirmations for other people.
A clear life plan will give you a strong direction in life.
It needs to be in perfect harmony with who you really are and include your deepest desires and needs.