Most clients I see at the start of their fitness journey are trying to change as much as possible as quickly as possible. They tell me they’re ready to exercise 7 days a week, cut out any vices like pop and fast food and they’re ready to do it all right now. We all want to reach our goal faster, but when we rush, we make mistakes. Making a large dietary change while adding exercise is just plain difficult. It turns what could be an enjoyable practice into a painful and sometimes demoralizing pursuit. Why add in more stress by trying to do it all at once?
A lot of people already know which of their habits are holding them back from health. We feel guilty about them, so when we’re ready for a change we try to do everything all at once. So why is this the wrong idea? Isn’t this exactly what we should be doing?
My theory is simple, we would be happier and more consistent if we viewed this process with more perspective. I see so many clients start quickly only to hit a plateau, struggle and then throw in the towel. One of the biggest changes I have made in how I coach clients is to slow them down. It is going to take the rest of your life to stay healthy and it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so we need to plan it that way.
It is our routines that need to change if we want to change our lifestyle. To make an impactful change, we have to start making changes to these routines. For example, what groceries to buy, when to workout, what to cook, what kind of exercise to do or when to stretch. Changing your habits around these activities is a rather daunting task. In a few weeks we can make a lot of great changes and even see results, but in truth we’re only scratching the surface of what is possible.
So, give yourself permission to start slow, progressing from one small step to another. Ask yourself, what is my real goal? Think beyond a number on the scale or the size on a pair of jeans. Think about how you want to feel. Think about performing better in the gym. Think about maintaining independence as you age. Think about making lasting changes. We should all be aiming for continual improvement. Health needs to be a part of your routine for the long haul.