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Lifestyle Changes – Expectation v Reality

So you woke up this morning, didn’t like how you felt or how you looked in the bathroom mirror and decided, ‘Today is the day I start making changes’.
Or maybe you’ve unsuccessfully been trying to take the plunge for a while but something felt ‘different’ today so you’ve finally taken the first step towards making a better you.
Either way, well done for doing so and finding your way here!

Make It Easier For Yourself – Know What To Expect

When I started my ‘journey of self-improvement’ in April 2018, I made mistakes – plenty of them!
I just dived in, head first, which even today (albeit to a lesser extent), is my standard operating procedure.
No research.
No preparation.
No organisation.
Don’t do what I did, or more accurately, didn’t!
Let me tell you what I learned, to make it easier for you to be successful.

  • Set Your Goals
    Use the SMART system to give yourself the greatest chance of achieving everything you set out to do.

  • Don’t Be Put Off By The Size Of What You Want To Achieve!
    It’s easy to look at a goal and think, ‘I’m never going to manage that. It’s just too much!’
    Don’t look at it as one big thing. See it as a group of smaller things, like the segments of an orange. Or the slices of a pizza. Great…now I want pizza. And an orange!

  • Write Everything Down
    Go old-school stylee. Make a plan of what you’re going to do and write down your goals using a pen and paper, and every time you achieve something, write that down too.
    Make sure you leave these notes somewhere you can easily and regularly see them.

  • Take Consistent Action
    Life might get in the way sometimes, but try to achieve something frequently – no matter how small – doing this will still take you one step closer to your goal.

  • Don’t Fly Solo!
    Sharing your goals with those you can rely on for support will enable you to ask for help in the future. As a bonus, if you’ve told them what you hope to achieve, they might help you get there and there’ll be a bit more motivation for you to take action if others know your plans, because who wants a friend constantly telling us to do what we said we’d do when we haven’t done it?!
    Join our private (100% ad-free) Community Forum and you’ll find like-minded people who will help and support you. Sign up now to pay absolutely nothing for your first month, then pay just $4/£4/€4 p.m.

  • Having Said That, Keep A Perspective!
    Don’t be obsessive. It’s important to be consistent, but make sure you have the correct priorities in your life regarding your job and personal relationships, for example.
    Sometimes you might have to sacrifice or delay taking a step closer to a goal because you promised you’d take the wife and kids away for the weekend.
    That’s okay.
    Enjoy the weekend, then get back on the train once you’ve returned!

  • Don’t Beat Yourself Up If You Make Mistakes
    If you screw up, don’t let it drag you down. Find a way to make sure it doesn’t happen again, learn from the experience and move on!
    If you find you’re making mistakes often, maybe it’s time to take a break.
    That’s also okay!

  • Reflect And Adjust, If Necessary
    When I first started going to the gym regularly, I foolishly thought I could just jump straight into it, four days a week, for 90 minutes each time.
    Looking back now, it’s no surprise that I was so exhausted all the time. My central nervous system didn’t know what had hit it!
    I took a little time out to recover, did some research, changed a few things, and went back to it a week or so later.
    I’m getting better results now, but I’m only spending half the time at the gym.
    Less can be more!

  • Recognise Obstacles Early
    If you know your personality, and you can foresee what things might happen in the future to hinder you on your journey, then prepare yourself for these moments.
    If your goal is to run three times a week and you started in the spring, prepare yourself then for what you’ll need to do in the winter so you can continue to run three times a week.
    Find an indoor track you like, look for gyms that have treadmills.
    Prepare yourself early!
    If you have a weakness, knowing how to handle it before meeting it head-on will be to your advantage.
    I’m a terrible procrastinator, but these days I know just how to deal with it if it strikes, and it’s really simple; just start!
    If I’m writing my blog, just firing up my laptop and completing a single sentence is enough to make my brain think, ‘Oh, this isn’t so bad, and as we’re here now, we might as well carry on for a while!’
    Ha! Take that, brain!

“Yes, I know it’s a sleep mask and I’m not actually in bed, but it’s only meant to act as a figurative component so BACK OFF, BUDDY!”

Don’t Try To Fool Yourself

In my experience, knowing what to expect and being realistic about what’s achievable and when it will be achieved are the two things that have enabled me to move towards my goals at a more satisfactory pace lately.
Not so long ago, I would always try to do too much too quickly, and inevitably I’d end up being disappointed when things didn’t go the way I wanted.
Notice I didn’t say ‘the way I planned’. That’s because I didn’t do any planning! I just got the idea stuck in my head and went charging forward – towards failure, most of the time!
Terribly frustrating!
So, being honest with yourself, I feel, is the most important trait to consider when goal-setting.
Be honest about what you expect to happen within the timescale set.
Be honest about the reality of the situation you’re in right now.
Follow the guidelines above, do lots of research, find a way that suits you, and you can achieve anything you set out to do.
But most importantly, enjoy the journey!

Image Credit

Image by fxquadro on Freepik

Image by Freepik

Image by Freepik

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