Join Me In My Journey
How is 2020 shaping up for you so far?
Some “experts” like to claim that it takes three weeks to create a habit. We are now three weeks into the new decade. Are you still excited about the changes you want to see in it? Are you still resolute about your resolutions? Have you changed a lifestyle habit?
If you answered all three questions with a loud “YES!”, congratulations!! I couldn’t be happier for you. But if your answers were more subdued, mumbled, eyes lowered with a response of “sort of”, “almost”, “no”, or “I give up” to one or more, then… YOU ARE NORMAL! Stop beating yourself up! No more despair or shame…let’s talk about it.
First of all, three weeks is not even close to enough time in which to develop a new habit, even if you successfully do it every day. You are well on your way by that point but if you let off for a day or two, pretty soon it will be a week, and then two… get the picture? Three weeks will absolutely be enough time to revert to an old habit but it is not enough time to engrave a new one into your daily life.
The more accepted time-frame for this to happen is 12 weeks – three months. But don’t be discouraged by that. How often have you asked, “Where does the time go?”? Answer me this…what were you doing three months ago? Planning your Halloween costume? Starting the Christmas shopping? Wasn’t so long ago, was it? If you had started filling your water bottle every morning three months ago, you would now be drinking the water goal you set at New Year’s.
Second, the best (maybe the only) way to cultivate a new lifestyle habit is to remove judgement. You are not a bad person when you forget, or just don’t do, that thing you promised you would do. There is no shame. Before you set the resolution did you beat yourself up every day because you didn’t do this? (I really hope you said no.)
Can you remember, or imagine, how you felt when a parent or teacher always seemed to be on your case? You never did enough. Your efforts were never good enough. How did you feel? I’m guessing lousy, misunderstood, picked on, depressed, sad, defeated…anything but motivated. Now how about the times when your parent or teacher looked at your work and said, “Not bad but maybe I can show you another, easier way to do this.” Or, “That is a great start! Keep practising and you will have it in no time!” Or, maybe the most beneficial response was to ask “How can I help?”
I know many of you mistreat yourselves. I did it for years. I had to LEARN how to be nice to myself. Then I found there actually was more to like, and my own approval helped me to keep going when things seemed difficult.
Third, you do not have to do this alone! Why do we think that self-improvement is a solo journey? We look to others to help us learn to tie our shoes, print our name, understand our environment, develop skills to play sports, musical instruments, drive a vehicle, or operate a video game…so why do we not think to ask for help with the most important aspect of our lives – improve our health through lifestyle habit changes?
A Coach Can Be a Game-Changer
Teachers, or at least the best ones, continue to take courses, attend seminars, and upgrade their education – listening to other educators. Doctors work at keeping up to new knowledge and medical techniques, and they consult other doctors about their own concerns when they become ill or disabled. But more and more often, no matter the field of expertise, people are turning to “coaches”. There are Business Coaches, Life Coaches, Health Coaches, Personal Trainers/Coaches, Time Management Coaches, Organizational Experts/Coaches…well, you get the picture. We all, at various times in our lives, need and use, or should use, the help of a coach. Even coaches have coaches!
I’m not going to go over the role of a coach again right now (I have addressed that a couple times already in previous posts), but I thought maybe you would like to accompany me on my journey as I re-acquire some lifestyle habits that have slipped away from me. Please don’t take this to mean that habit change doesn’t work. If you give me a minute, I will explain. But, first let me give you the background of my present situation.
Nearly two decades ago I worked very hard to overcome a lifetime weight battle. Through reading, experience, trial and error, and instinct, I found my path to a 29-pound weight loss, optimum energy, and a real joy in living. I kept that weight off, and made physical activity a priority, for more than a dozen years. Now, here I have to briefly digress. - I had experienced sporadic hip pain since my last pregnancy in 1985 but had never really paid a lot of attention to it because it never lasted long. Wear and tear (lots of physical work on the farm and those extra pounds) plus arthritis eventually made the pain almost unbearable. I retired from my desk job because sitting for hours at a time became too uncomfortable. I never stopped my workouts though because, despite the pain, I was terrified of losing my mobility. I had seen far too many people resort to power carts when walking became painful. - On my 57th birthday I entered the hospital for a total hip replacement and weighed in at 113 lbs., exactly what the scale had read for 14 years. My healing and recovery were swift but the doctor gave me a list of restrictions:
1. No running or jumping - ever
2. No heavy weight lifting. The restriction started at 30 pounds and I may have increased it without permission – I have a life to live!
3. No falling. Take great care on ice, rough terrain.
4. No twisting the hip – even crossing the legs could dislocate the hip.
And suddenly, all my usual workouts were “too extreme” for my new hip. I worked hard on my physio exercises and then my husband gave me a Fitbit for Christmas that year. Daily walks, outside when possible, around the house if necessary, carried me through until I could add Yoga to my routine. My weight crept up a couple pounds and I wasn’t quite as taut but otherwise, nothing changed for nearly four years.
More background…every relationship has its ”mechanism” – what and how it works. In our marriage, because my husband had the full-time job and work schedule, I learned early on that my part-time work, family activities, and personal time were planned as much as possible to accommodate his requirements. Later as the children grew up, he started working away from home so my daily schedule became “Mine” when he was away and “His” when he was home. This worked very well until a year ago when work in the oil patch slowed. We were suddenly on a much extended “days off” with no schedules and late nights. The “me time” available for exercise and my usual meal preparation shrunk considerably and was further swallowed up by our “monsoon summer” which meant every dry second was devoted to the garden. Later when the rains slowed, a new cabin kept us very busy building & staining (and eating canned goods, hot dogs, and hamburgers) for several weeks. I topped it all of with a broken wrist when I slipped on a rain-covered ramp. I couldn’t even handle yoga and my cast wouldn’t fit into a really warm coat so outdoor walks were also halted. There I was - no physical activity and trying to make up for a less than optimum diet when Christmas arrived.
My health has been so great for so long that Christmas goodies have not been a problem for a very long time. However, the poor sleep habits, poor dietary choices, lack of exercise and now more sugar than I had faced in a year all compounded my slipping habits. Once Christmas was over I did an appraisal.
1. I still meet my goal of 10,000 steps most days
2. I still manage to meet my hydration goal of 12 glasses most days
3. I usually listen to my body regarding hunger but I have slipped back to old habits regarding sugar cravings and need to once more get off that sugar roller coaster.
4. I need to regain the habit of workouts. My favourite time for workouts is before breakfast but I have traded that for breakfast-together-time with my husband. My task is to find a way to make us both happy.
5. I know the importance of sleep, and several years ago I made the transition from less than 5 hours per night to at least 7. Now, I need to move back my bedtime again so I can fit in the 7 hours without sleeping late, and messing up my daily routines.
6. I have been dabbling in essential oils and am very interested in learning more about them, and how I can incorporate them into my life. I already make foaming hand soap, hand sanitizer, flea/tick repellent (for my dog), and simple skin care products. I am curious and excited about exchanging more natural products for toxic chemicals in our home.
7. The most important item on this appraisal list is I am making it without judgement! I feel no disappointment, self-loathing, or shame. I am carrying around eight extra pounds but I am not calling myself ugly names. I recognize where I have derailed and I am rebuilding my track! Also, the number on my scale is not the goal but I know that I feel best within a certain weight range so that is a measurable goal
I Am Ready to Return to Better Health; You Are Invited to Join Me
There you have it. I am a Health Coach but I still need to revisit my behaviours. I have the tools, I know how to use them, and I have had success with them BUT I am human. I sometimes make poor choices. I slip back into the habit of putting myself last.
Those tools are my edge but if I have difficulties with getting back on track, I have knowledgeable friends to give me a little coaching and/or accountability.
I will be posting my progress here, and on my Instagram account @lifetransformationhealthcoach. I hope you will join me, and if you think you would like to start your own journey, I hope you will contact me.