If you want to make changes in your life, there are a few fundamentals:
- Take control of your mind.
- Forgive yourself for your shortcomings, but learn from them.
- Use your frustration as a source of inspiration.
- Learn about SMART goals, then make a plan.
- Make a schedule and follow it to the best of your ability.
- Spend a few minutes on Sundays planning for the upcoming week.
- Set intentions for each day.
- Learn everything that you can about what will get you to your goals.
Take Control of Your Mind
Your attitude is everything. If you are not happy, then the odds are good that you have a lot of negative self-talk. When you have thoughts that are sabotaging you, immediately reframe it to something positive. When you catch yourself thinking “I can’t do this because….,” stop yourself immediately and reframe that thought into something like “I can do this because…,” then list some positive things that you have going for you.
For a long time, I kept bells from Dollar Tree in a pencil case in my car. When I caught myself thinking negative things or beating myself up, I’d pick up the pencil case and shake it before reframing the thought. Why? It is a simple act that is effective in breaking the cycle. Maintaining a positive attitude and believing in yourself is a proactive activity.
Forgive Yourself for Your Shortcomings,
but learn from them
This is the magic pill! I tried a thousand times to lose weight. What was different this time than all of the others? I learned to forgive myself and jump back in IMMEDIATELY. I didn’t wait until Monday to start over again. Backslides are inevitable. Rather than being cruel to myself mentally and spiraling downward while making a resolution to start again on Monday or the first of the next month, I dusted myself off and get back on the horse without delay.
The trick was to do a little introspection afterward to understand why I made the decision that wasn’t in line with my goals. For example, my biggest challenge is eating late at night when I can’t fall asleep. If I’m honest with myself, those binges don’t stem from hunger. Most of the time, I had an emotion or thought that was uncomfortable for me that day. With a little bit of awareness, I can make a contingency plan for the next time that I feel like I want to eat at night. It is within my control to choose to eat a couple of sliced apples instead of bags of chips or candy. It really is that simple.
Use your frustration as a source of inspiration
If you decide that you are going to lose exactly 2.5 pounds per week, then you’ve already sabotaged yourself. The changes will happen in their own time. You have to work as hard as humanly possible, but understand that your body will change when it decides to change.
When you start working out, you should expect a short-term weight gain. This is where a lot of people make the mistake of thinking “I’m doing X, Y, and Z, but I’m not losing anything,” so they give up. When you start exercising and feeling sore, you will experience fluid retention. I’m in pretty good shape, but if I stop exercising for a few days, I will lose pounds on the scale, but that isn’t progress. The scale isn’t everything, especially in the beginning.
Learn about SMART goals and make a plan
SMART Goals are a good way to evaluate exactly what you want to accomplish and how to get there. Make a journal on your computer to record your progress. When you remind yourself regularly of why you started and the progress that you’ve made, then reflecting on these goals will keep you motivated.
Don’t make your time based goals in relation to pounds on a scale. It isn’t going to work that way. You are going to have wild fluctuations on the scale due to fluid retention, hormones, or plateaus. Remind yourself that there is no way that you can continue what you are doing without eventually losing the weight. Keep your head in the game regardless of what the scale reflects.
NO EXCUSES! I lost all of my weight while having undiagnosed hypothyroidism. I worked ten times harder than I’d have to now that I’m on medication. The only reason that I found out was because my hair was falling out in clumps. I was afraid that I’d wrecked my body, so I went to the doctor, but this was after I was at my goal weight.
Make a Schedule and Follow it to the Best of Your Ability
I have a chart of what I expect of myself daily for everything from working out to cleaning the house. I follow these most of the time. Life happens, so don’t get caught up in doing them perfectly, but if you accomplish your daily chores regularly, then you will be well on your way to an organized life in which you will maximize your time to make room for your new, healthy habits.
I keep my ideal schedules and routines in plastic sheets that are taped to my bathroom mirror. I don’t always follow them, but every day that I do them as perfectly as possible, I am one step closer to being a better me.
Spend a Few Minutes on Sundays Planning for the Upcoming Week
My Sunday planning is very important. You can choose to do it any day that works for you, but it needs to be done weekly. It consists of:
- Printing a weekly planning packet Weekly Home Planning Packet
- Checking my calendars for appointments to transfer to my daily to do lists
- Menu planning
- Making a shopping list. The planning packet listed above is in the order of the aisles at my local Walmart store. It makes the trip efficient.
- Doing my grocery shopping and running errands
- Checking the weather for the week
- Planning clothing for the upcoming week. There are two sets for each day; one for working out and one for afterwards.
I put my clothing in large plastic bags that I bought at Dollar Tree, but you can just put them on hangers if that is easier for you. Yes, it is helpful to have your clothes planned out to save time, but it is more about setting the intention that you are going to follow through.
Set Intentions for Each Day
When I get home from the gym, the first thing that I do when I sit down at my desk is plan what I want to accomplish for that day. Anything that isn’t accomplished is moved to the next day’s to do list.
Learn Everything that You Can About What Will Get You to Your Goals
There are so many amazing books and websites out there. Some of my favorites are as follows:
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield
This book is geared toward writers, but the advice can apply to absolutely anything in life that you want to accomplish.
Evolution: The Cutting Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You’ve Always Wanted by Joe Manganiello
I will never complete the program, but the first half of the book contains the most inspirational things that you can ever read about fitness. If you find yourself lifting weights at some point, there are terrific suggestions for maintaining proper form.
The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin by Bob Harper
This is perhaps the most important, concise book on an introduction to eating clean. It has recipes and the most basic guidelines for how to eat right. Several of the recipes have become staples in our home.
If you struggle with meal planning, then it’s all done for you here. There are even shopping lists, but you have to double check them because there are a few items not included. You don’t have to be doing the 21 Day Fix (a Beach Body program) to use these. It’s just plain, simple, clean eating.
If you have an Aldi grocery store near you, then this is going to be the cheapest way to eat well. I think that she estimates most weeks to be around $100.