Every person’s journey to finding happiness through being healthy is different. Different things propel us to make positive changes in our lives. It’s not necessarily how you get there, but that you make it to that point in your life that matters. It seems that people spend a lot of time thinking about making lifestyle changes before they actually do it. And that’s ok. Part of the process is thinking…that’s where it all starts after all. But there comes a time when you’ve got to be like Nike and just DO it.
This is the part where if it were a few years ago, my need for order and concrete thinking would take over and I would break it down into steps 1-3. First you get an idea, then you set the goal, and then you take action. That may very well be the case, but sometimes another approach works, too.
If you’re fed up with waiting for the perfect time to start focusing on fitness, waiting for life to slow down, waiting for a less busy time of year, or waiting for the stars to align then you may need to rethink your approach. Sometimes, you’ve got to just fake it till you make it. I don’t mean be a poser or put up a front. In my counseling program, we like to call this “acting as if.” This is probably where I lost you….just go with it…
So how does this apply to living fit?
Well, earlier this year when I learned about the Paleo Diet from my fitness group (more on this later) it immediately appealed to me and I knew that I wanted to try to make this my lifestyle. But, this meant some drastic changes in my eating habits (WHAT? No hummus?!) So while trying to learn about paleo eating and also intermittently using up my stockpile of processed foods and grains, I just acted as if I have eaten that way all my life. While I was still trying to figure it all out, I just pretended that I already had it all figured out. It’s kind of like Jedi-mind tricking yourself! It’s all about attitude; visualize who you WANT to be as if you are already that person. Trying anything new is difficult in the beginning, so to cope with these drastic
restrictions on my diet, I didn’t think of them as restrictions at all. Instead of saying I can’t eat that, I said I don’t eat that. When I would slip up and eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, or fall to the temptation of the check-out line candy bars, I refused to think of it as a failure. I know that this type of thinking can cause me to sabotage myself and just give up. I thought of it like this– I choose to eat like a caveman, but every now and then I can choose to eat otherwise, end up feeling like crap (physically and emotionally), learn from it, and move on. From the beginning, I trained my thoughts to be as if I was already an established paleo eater which made it easier for me to stick to it. If I had let the newness of my eating habits get to me, I would have ended up obsessing over the food I chose not to eat anymore.
The same goes for working out. When my brother started training for his Tough Mudder, he went into BEAST MODE. I was jealous. I wanted to be in BEAST MODE…but I just wasn’t there yet…not mentally and certainly not physically. So, as I tried to get back into the swing of things (a new house and plateauing at the gym put a cramp in my workout) I just went ahead and acted as if I was in BEAST MODE already. I can’t really explain it other than I just had a “fierce” attitude at the gym. Pretty soon after that, its like somebody hit the ON switch. I was there. Not only was my mind thinking like a BEAST, but my body was finally training like one!
So you see, if living a fit life is your goal…start acting as if you’re already fit. Think strong. Think healthy. This way you will be more mindful of your body in the decisions you make. Act as if, and the rest will follow suit. Before you know it you will beyond the talking about it stage and you will be DOING!
I bet some of you have already tried this without realizing what you were doing! Or if not, I challenge you to give it a try this week. Drop me a comment and tell me about your experience!