Saturday, 18 February 2017

The main reason women give up on their health goals.

You’re keen. You have a plan. This is it! You are going to achieve that goal. You pick a date and you start. It’s exciting. You are pumped!

The first day feels a bit clunky, but you know it is worth it. You have to keep going over your plan. What is it you are supposed to be doing/eating/thinking/writing? It’s OK, this will be fine once you have created the habit.

The second day is a repeat of the first, but somehow it feels a little harder.

This continues for a few more days or a week, maybe even two. But gradually it is getting easier.

Then something happens. The baby starts teething. A kid gets sick or has exams. The toilet leaks. The car breaks down. You have a baby. The “something” doesn’t have to be a big drama for it to interrupt the process of starting a new lifestyle change. The physical toll eats away at your time, but it’s the mental toll diverting your focus that is often the goal killer. You aren’t superwoman so something has to give.

A week? A month? Six months? Here you are again. You have a plan. This is it! You are going to achieve that goal. You pick a date and you start. It’s exciting. You are pumped!...

And the cycle repeats, but this time a cloud of defeat looms over you.

The next time you even think about it, you conclude “why bother?” Not because you are no longer hungry for that goal, but because you are now back at square one.

Starting something is hard. Whether it is learning a new skill, starting a new job, exercise, diet, mindfulness, flossing your teeth, pretty much everything. It is much harder to gain impetus from a standstill, than from even the slightest bit of forward momentum.

The number one reason women give up on their health goals is not laziness - it’s not even the distractions of life - it is starter’s fatigue. It is the mental effort of having to push through starting from the beginning again and again and again and again.

A few tips to help you achieve your goals.

  1. Get the people around you to acknowledge that your goals are important. That you are important.
  2. Start small. Make small easy changes and stagger them rather than go for the all or nothing approach. Build a habit before adding more.
  3. Quit your job as micro-manager. Ask the rest of your family to step up and do things like write the shopping list, notice and do the jobs that need doing etc. (see step 1. YOU are important)
  4. Avoid comparisons. Let go of where you were, or where anyone else is. You are here right now – even if that is back at the start - and that is OK.
  5. Have an empathetic person keep you accountable. Don’t enlist The Commando. Find someone willing to help you lift the burdens, not add to them by telling you that you are crap at self-love.
  6. When it all goes to hell in a handbasket (because it will), try to pare back to the bare minimum rather than let it all go. Ask for help.

So here I am, I have a plan. Wish me luck!

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