small shifts

You’ve done it. You have stomped your foot down and declared that you will finally (insert health goal here). After squeezing into clothes day after day that are “a little too tight” (ie. 1-2 sizes  too small…), feeling guilty for indulging in another afternoon candy bar and collapsing onto the couch for a Netflix marathon for the fourth time this week instead of making it to your Thursday night kickboxing class, you are feeling completely fed up because you know that the person looking back at you in the mirror with lackluster skin, bags under your eyes and a few extra pounds that seem to have come out of nowhere, is not the real you.

So tomorrow, you’re going to get up an hour early, without complaint and go to the gym for a grueling workout consisting of a little cardio and a lot of weight lifting. Then, you will eat a healthy breakfast consisting of the perfect proportions of healthy fats, lean meats and complex carbs. You will skip your morning coffee and instead, opt for a freshly prepared green juice that you’ll sip happily as you drive to work. Lunch will be a giant salad with spinach, grilled chicken strips and chopped bell peppers and to replace your usual soda, you’ll have a big glass of ice cold water. When you get back to work, you will take the stairs to your fifth floor office instead of the elevator. Score! 2,000 more steps on your fitness tracker. When your afternoon sugar craving hits, you indulge in a cup of fresh blueberries and a handful of raw almonds. Your energy is through the roof from all this great nutrition you’ve been filling your body with all day. After work, you head home and upon arrival, you change into stretchy pants and a sports bra for a yoga workout and meditation. With a clear mind and still plenty of energy, you prepare a piece of grilled fish and steamed vegetables for dinner. To prepare for a good night’s rest, all of your electronics get shut off when dinner is over and you begin to wind down for an 8-hour snooze. Once everything is ready for the day ahead (including an outfit being chosen, lunch and snacks being packed and all necessities being loaded into your purse), you spend 30 minutes or so doing one of your favorite hobbies (reading, drawing, writing?) to ease any leftover tension from the day. Finally, when it’s bedtime, you slip under the covers and fall into a deep, restful sleep within moments.

Sounds too perfect and even impossible, right? Well, having this type of day is not but making it happen overnight probably is. Even if you do manage to have a day like this after resolving to make a change, the chances of you staying consistent with this routine long enough to see major results is highly unlikely.

“I can do it! I truly want to (lose weight/feel more confident in myself/reduce my stress and anxiety)!” You protest. I know. I get it! And I believe in you–but your best chances for success require time, commitment and patience. What good is making major change if it is only going to last temporarily?

When you create a plan for yourself that involves making small changes day by day, you’re more likely to stick to it than something that is more extreme. For example, doing 5 minutes of exercise every day for 30 days sounds much more manageable than adding 60 minutes of exercise every day for 4 weeks. Depending on what your routine is, I’m guessing it is going to be much harder for you to find an “extra” hour in your day, plus, unless you are already a seasoned workout junkie, these daily hour-long workouts probably won’t last past day 3–at least not without maybe having your most prized possession held hostage until you accomplished your goal.

As human beings, we are resistant to change and we fear what we don’t know. By making a small shift in our behavior, we are able to slowly ease ourselves into “new” territory without causing too much shock to our systems. Over time, these small shifts compound into big results because the behavior becomes a habit and 5 minutes of exercise easily becomes 10 and then 20, 40 and so on because we realize how easy it is/how good it feels/that we are feeling just a little bit stronger/that our pants are a bit looser.

Need an example with some concrete, measurable figures? Here is a tip from Today.com:

“Removing just two teaspoons of sugar from your daily cup of coffee may not seem like a big deal, but it can save you 32 extra calories a day or three extra pounds a year, says Morgan. If you’re a coffeehouse fiend and make two trips a day, consider this: Skipping that afternoon latte could save you an extra 54,750 calories (more than 15 pounds!)—and almost a thousand bucks—by the end of the year.”

How about that? You could lose 15 pounds a year, absolutely effortlessly. Trust me, you are not going to miss that extra two teaspoons of sugar a day. Well, maybe at first, but seriously…your taste buds will adapt.

When you stack small changes like this and stay consistent with them over time, it is mind-blowing the results that you can create. But of course, if it was truly that simple, the weight loss industry wouldn’t be raking in trillions of dollars globally, year after year.

Instead of being another one of those people who invests in the quick fix only to give up or seek out a different “solution” later on down the road when the weight or original symptoms of low energy or unbearable stress return with a vengeance, choose wisely and invest your time, money and commitment into a simple solution: a health coach.

Health coaches play many roles in supporting their clients, including being a reliable source of health and wellness-related knowledge, providing regular accountability, empowering you to push past your fears and self-doubt and overcome obstacles and provide a customized action plan that allows you to start and progress at your own pace.

Now, if you are truly ready to ditch the one-size-fits-all programs that require spontaneous and extreme changes in your diet and exercise plans and don’t accommodate your schedule, personal needs and ultimately don’t serve your overall goal of looking better and feeling your freakin’ best without sacrificing your sanity, then finding the right Health Coach should be at the very top of your To Do List.

Want to find out if you and I are a match? Take this quick Assessment and I’ll get back to you with an answer!

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