Change is HARD!
This is a common sentiment among people trying to start a new fitness routine or make a lifestyle change. One of the keys of our approach is helping clients understand and integrate the big picture value of making changes.
To share an example, here’s an actual reply to a client who was having trouble. He didn’t think he could sustain evaluating his training, eating, and sleeping on a daily basis. It was too much to think about.
I need to tell you that you will likely be evaluating multiple times daily. If you aren’t, you are probably not going to have success. Further, if you learn why you are making new choices, beyond just, “It’s good for me,” or worse, “Jason said it’s good for me,” you will gradually start to understand the intrinsic long-term value of making change.
I know the demands on your time seem infinitely overwhelming by very important sources that cannot be ignored. Work is crucial to success in life for you and your family. All of us with families would kill or die for them, without exaggeration. They take priority. Dozens of other forces in our environment, mostly human, are constantly making demands of our time and energy. It sounds dramatic, but getting caught up in the vortex of attending to these very important things at the expense of taking some time and making changes to care for ourselves is ultimately what leads to our demise. Day to day, we don’t notice a shift in our health. We feel the same as we did yesterday for the most part. Year to year, however, we notice things, and as we get older, this shift accelerates. So eventually, we see a doctor because we can no longer ignore whatever inflammatory response has reared its head most strongly to cause a symptom. The doctor may medicate us, or tell us to get more exercise and eat better, or both.
Now, though, exercise seems impossible physically and all of those factors preventing it before are still present and magnified by a lowered ability to manage stress. And eat better? How exactly, doc? Most of us think we eat pretty well already. Some version of this scenario on some scale ultimately happens to most working people later in their careers. It ends up compounding stress and leads to an inflamed, overweight, and often sleep-deprived, dehydrated, and under-nourished state which becomes less and less manageable. Many just chalk it up to getting old and maybe that’s a fair assessment in our world.
Two reasons why putting time and energy into SELF CARE sooner than later is necessary:
- Without your health, ultimately all of those other important things in your life you are tending to matter less. If you were to ask your family, your employer, or your friends if they thought you should sacrifice your health to attend to them, they would unanimously tell you not to. The value of everything in your life is diminished if your health is compromised. This is inarguable. Ask anyone who is sick.
- Conversely, the value of everything else in your life increases when your health and fitness are maximized. You are in a better mood and an infinitely more productive and compassionate person. You perform your job at a higher level. You manage stress more easily. That time you were trying to save by not caring for yourself seems more abundant. You are a better spouse, parent, and friend. You have more confidence. You feel great. Your entire life is enhanced.
So exactly what change do you need to make to help yourself? It is certainly outside of the norm, otherwise, everyone would be healthy and fit. It is, however, eminently doable.
Change revolves around a process of acutely stressing your system with training stimuli (workouts) and enabling recovery with optimal conditions of rest (nutrition, sleep, hydration).
On the exercise side, it doesn’t need to take much time. It just requires consistent focused workouts. They can be effective anywhere from 4 to 40 minutes long. You don’t need to commit an hour to a class everyday (one or two per week is great to give you a good training stimulus, but more importantly, training ideas, and we offer 13 per week). On the other days, just commit whatever time you can and do something different than you did yesterday. The adage of change being as good as rest (for exercise recovery) is mostly true. Do it like a necessary habit. Like brushing your teeth. Do it like it is the most important job you have, because it is.
On the front of optimal recovery – nutrition, sleep, hydration, and stress management – these changes require overcoming more pervasive forces. Changing behaviours rooted in social mores, personal preference, culture, ethnicity, and physiological addiction makes it hard, even impossible for most to believe they are important enough changes. Despite the vast intrinsic and environmental resistance, these changes don’t require much sacrifice (once you’re past the addictive element).
They are just changes, and by making them, you’ll just be different than you were. They don’t mean you have to eat bad-tasting food. They don’t require tons of preparation time. They can accommodate most lifestyles and cultures. They can work in everyday life, at home, at work, or while traveling anywhere in the world. They may make you different, but different from this perspective is good. Most people do not embrace maximizing health and fitness. The further you can be from the norm in this respect, the better off you will be. Quite simply, it is just about consciously making the best decision for you whenever faced with one, until making that choice becomes automated. Until then, it will require thought and effort. That is the most difficult part. It’s difficult, but worth it.