In the January edition of our Wellness E-Zine we spoke of the importance in beginning any change in lifestyle habit with a change of mindset. It was an encouragement to start the New Year with a view that looks at the ‘big picture’ of your own life, instead of looking at each individual part. It was a prod towards the kind of re-evaluation that periodically ought to occur in life, helping us live up to God given potential.
If you were one of many making a ‘resolution’ to better wellness at the New Year, a necessary part of the plan is a regular assessment of the progress, the hindrances, and the set-backs we have along the journey.
When first beginning a wellness program the newness of the endeavor, alongside our enthusiasm, helps us continue forward movement in the new plan for a number of weeks or months without much need for additional self-motivation. Especially if we’ve made our new wellness lifestyle known to friends and business associates, sometimes the mere thought of giving up early, and the embarrassment it may cause, will be enough motivation to continue making good choices for quite some time.
There will come a moment, though, where for the first time since you began, a flicker of doubt will enter your mind. It may be one early morning when, after hitting the snooze button for a second time, you think, ‘maybe I’ll give training a miss this morning…just this one time’. It may be one evening after a less than stellar day when, on the way home, the thought enters, ‘maybe I’ll save some time, and grab a pizza on the way home…just this one time’…
In the January article I wrote, “there will be days ahead of you, and moments within those days, that will test your resolve. Hold fast…don’t give in. The short term satisfaction you may feel when you ‘give in’ will not come close to the experience of being on a road less travelled. That can be a difficult concept to grasp if a wellness journey is relatively new to you, but the testimonies of so many indicate that it must true.” I also wrote that, “for most, the toughest decision will be the one facing them each and every day they awake…asking, ‘how will I choose to live this day?’”.
Now, perhaps you find yourself in ‘one of those days’, that for any number of reasons has brought you to this moment of choice. One choice will give you instant gratification and a brief feel-good moment, but will lead you further away from the long term wellness goals you cherish as a consequence.
The other path…the better path…will require that you forego the short term pleasure of the ice cream or the additional hour of sleep in the morning, so that you instead experience the long term pleasure of the ‘new, real you’ that was once just a dream. Unfortunately, when you’ve had the worst of days and the ‘ice cream’ is tempting and close at hand, or the snooze button is within easy reach the next morning, the choice is never as easy as you envisioned it to be when you first set forward on this wellness journey…when you first made the decision to begin a wellness lifestyle and NOTHING could stop you.
Now, after three months, you’ve had successes and you’ve had setbacks. You’ve had triumphs and trip-ups. So surely, SURELY, hitting the snooze button and missing one more workout won’t hurt in the long run…or so the thinking goes, at least in my own experience.
The truth of the matter is that it does hurt in the long run. Prior to when you made the decision on January 1st to make fitness, or weight loss, or whatever your wellness goal, a part of your daily existence, you were also on a path. It was a path that was best described, in hindsight, as a pattern of poor wellness decisions. In some instances the negative pattern that needed breaking was a significant one, such as smoking, but more often than not the patterns we fall into are the result of what may best be described as a ‘slippage’ of many small wellness things.
Pressing snooze is a retreat to the era of slippage. It leads to guilt for having missed the workout, which can lead to a ‘why bother’ attitude about not only tomorrow’s workout, but today’s nutrition, which leads to a reflection in the mirror that you aren’t happy with, which leads to…you get the picture.
Pressing snooze is the road back to your past and is the surest way to destroy well intentioned and finely planned wellness and lifestyle changes. Whatever your ‘slippage’ weak link is, planning ahead for these tests of willpower can increase your odds of preventing such an event from disheartening you. And when you slip (and everyone does, occasionally), planning for it will help prevent a downhill decision making spiral from beginning, and may instead help you get back on the fitness and wellness wagon.
It’s been three full months since you made the decision to better wellness. If you wrote your goals on paper, and you should have, re-visit the goals, and the plan to reach those goals. Spend time at wellness and find the inspiration needed to continue a quest for better health and/or a better physique. Wellness goals are always worth the short term sacrifice necessary for their attainment, but you will only know that if you persevere through the temptations and the low times that will test your resolve along the way.
You CAN do it. Don’t look too far forward…instead, just look at today, and remember always that the question, ‘how will I live this day’, may well determine all the rest of your days.