Please exhale, I am not writing today to respond to a new safari-themed diet fad. (Heaven help us when we get to that point.) I’m writing to offer a little perspective. Occasionally, when we embark on a mission to be healthier we start with an enviable amount of enthusiasm. We join gyms, we set the alarm for a crack of dawn workout, or we tell everyone about our new fabulous diet plan. This “new endeavor energy” soon wanes (two weeks seems to be the norm) and days and weeks go by with out action. We haven’t been to the gym since we signed our membership papers, we hit snooze for a full sixty minutes or hope no one remembers our diet conversation when it’s time to order lunch. The zest for our new plan is replaced with frustration and possibly some confusion. This loss of momentum is where the real work starts and most often where we tend to quit. If we could pause here for just a moment, I’d like to evaluate the problem.
Maybe, we bit off more than we can chew. Adding a new element or changing past behaviors is hard (anyone who says differently is selling something.) Adding too many elements or too drastic of a change is even harder. Let’s take a step back and assess. Was your ambition greater than what is realistic? Could you have experienced more success with smaller goals? simpler tasks? I’d argue, quite possibly, yes. Being healthy is a multifaceted endeavor. The solution to your quandary is the same answer to the question: How do you eat an elephant? ONE BITE AT A TIME. Keeping our tasks doable allows room for success and that success refuels us, unlike the fleeting “new endeavor energy.”
So, try to stop by that gym once this weekend for a 20 minute walk, or pick one day this week for an AM DVD workout, or cook a healthier recipe for dinner every Monday night. The trick is to slowly, steadily chomp away at those old habits so that these new, simple, manageable changes become routine. Once the healthy behaviors are habitual our progress is automatic and eventually everything starts to feel manageable and rewarding. Eating an elephant isn’t impossible, it just has to be tackled one bite at a time.