The Healthy Habits Struggle
Top 5 Reasons We Don’t Make Healthier Choices!
Beep, Beep! All aboard the Healthy Habits Struggle Bus!
Why does it seem so difficult to make healthy choices?
As a wellness coach, I have spoken to many wellness clients who seem to always have the same initial responses with regards to why they can’t or don’t make healthier choices. So, a few weeks ago, I decided to poll some of my social media followers and posted a question on my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts:
“Working on a new blog entry and need your help:
What are some barriers/or obstacles that you face when it comes to losing weight, getting fit, and making healthier choices? Comment below!”
I got many responses and after assessing the comments and themes in the comments, I came up with Top 5 Reasons We Don’t Make Healthier Choices! Read the reasons below along with some real talk tips on how to combat them to ensure you become a better, healthier YOU!
1. “I just can’t find the motivation.”
I get it, sometimes you just don’t feel like it. Heck, I am currently writing this blog knowing I need to take my butt to the gym. Do I feel like going? NO! Am I going to? YES! So, how do I “find” the motivation to go? That’s the issue; motivation isn’t something you FIND it’s something you have! Motivation like willpower and desire are all things we can work on daily; like muscles, they too must be exercised. The key is to “Just Do It!” (Yep, Nike said it best). When I don’t have the motivation to get out of bed but I know I need to, I JUST DO IT! I take a deep breath and count to 3; One, twoooo, (deep sigh) three; and I am up!
Don’t sit around and wait for motivation to come knocking on your door with a cape, inviting perky smile, hands on his/her hips, eager to meal prep healthy meals for you and then get you off your butt to go work out. Sure, some of us may have the luxury of hiring someone to do all of the above BUT true motivation comes from YOU! You can’t wait for your flaky friend, unreliable gym buddy, or unaccountable accountability buddy to pull YOU towards YOUR wellness goals! You have to truly want it and when you truly want something, you will PUSH yourself to get the job, task, or goal done; by any means.
Think of it like this, when you want to apply to a job, want to purchase a new pair of shoes, car, go on a dream vacation, want to apply to school, or even get the guy or gal you want-you push forward to obtain those goals. Do the same for yourself! While the rewards to a healthier lifestyle may not be all tangible, in the end, they exceed any reward you can obtain from materialistic items. Use YOUR fuel to drive you towards your wellness goals. Self-motivate!
Update: I went to the gym. =)
2. “I just don’t have time.”
This is a big one! I often hear, “I don’t have time.” “I have so much to do.” I have to go to school or work, and then come home, and tend to the kids, bae, the dog, the cat, or school work. In other words, “I don’t have time for me.” This is all very normal! We ALL have obligations, however, one thing we forget is that we are also OBLIGATED to ourselves since birth. If you are not important enough to YOU to make time for YOU, how can u expect others to do so too? You have to take care of YOU. I often tell my mental health client’s parents; you can’t appropriately take care of your child(ren), if you haven’t taken care of yourself. You have to be at your best for YOU in order to be at your best for others. Set time aside every week to meal prep and set time and days you will work out. Set aside time before bed or in the morning to pack your meals and snacks. Take it from me: Hi I am Iris, and I am a recovering procrastinator- time management is something you work on daily. Build your healthy habits and goals into your schedule as if it’s a doctor’s appointment you can’t miss! (Read more about goal attainment here).
Making healthier choices will allow you the ability to live healthier for you and consequently for all your other obligations including those you love. If you can’t self-motivate like I stated in #1 then you have to be willing to do it for those you love and need you the most without forgetting that you should love and need yourself just as much as they do. Self-love and self-care does not equate selfishness! (Read more about self-love here).
3. “But, what if I fail?”
Sometimes fear can be a manipulating illusion. When I started my wellness journey almost 5 years ago, I too was afraid. I didn’t know if I would get the results I wanted. At that point in my life, I didn’t even know what those results looked like for me. All I knew, is that I wanted to FEEL better not necessarily look better. Lots of my wellness clients or those who consult with me tell me about their “yo-yo dieting” ways. You know, when you go on a “diet”, lose weight, then go off the “diet”, gain again, and go back to the SAME cycle. This then pulls your confidence in your abilities and in yourself to the ground. Like anything, our bodies adapt and eventually your body will get use to this cycle and you will end up seeing NO RESULTS; this is called plateauing. You have to shock the body by introducing new workouts and healthy habits in order for results to be long lasting. My suggestion, do your research, incorporate new healthy living habits into your lifestyle-daily. Keep it fun for you. Keep yourself interested and you will see long lasting results.
Want to know more about why dieting doesn’t work? Check out my blog entry on The No-Diet-Diet.
4. “I don’t know how to be healthy, especially with so many unhealthy options.”
This is huge, especially in communities where healthy habits are not promoted and healthy options are not available. I grew up in Camden, NJ where the corner stores were where I got half of my nourishment daily. (Read more about my healthy hood life struggles here). If you don’t know how to be healthy, you just don’t know. However, as the saying goes, “Ignorance is never an excuse.” We live in times where anything and everything we ever wanted to know is right at our fingertips via technology. Search anything on search engines or find the app for whatever it is you’re researching. If you don’t want to do the research part, there are various professionals out there including myself, who are willing to do the research for you or already have the knowledge you are inquiring and are willing to help you through the process. (For Life Coaching services Opportunities 2 Serve).
The reason why most people fail at understanding how to be healthy is because being unhealthy is easier especially in environments where you are tempted by either unhealthy foods in your home or in the workplace. Temptation to dig into unhealthy food seems to be everywhere. The way to combat this is to ALWAYS keep healthier options THAT YOU ACTUALLY ENJOY around you. I always pack snacks and healthy options when I go to work, or anywhere for that matter. Check out some healthy recipes here.
When I know I did my part in ensuring I am taking care of me by putting the proper and more nourishing foods into my body, I am less tempted to indulge at the office every time someone brings in cakes, cookies, donuts, or pretzels. You know your environment best, both at home and work, so ensure you are planning and prepping to combat whatever temptation obstacle gets placed in your way. If you are interested in learning more on how to live healthier schedule a complimentary wellness consultation with me here or shoot me an email.
5. “I’m not consistent enough.”
What it all boils down to is discipline. Consistency comes from discipline. For me, there was a time where I NEVER made my bed in the morning. What was the point, I was only going to get right back in it at night? However, one day I was told how the sloppiness or disorganization of my bed resonated with the disorganization of my life. My inconsistency in not making my bed shed light on my own inconsistency and disorganization in life. Now, I admit, I am not the most consistent person (work in progress here), but I did develop the habit of making my bed-everyday, as well as other beneficial habits in living a healthy lifestyle. Like in the military, this takes discipline.
You can try to do all of the tips in #’s 1-4, but if you don’t work on your discipline or lack discipline none of the above will stick-permantly. I think that the word discipline has a negative connotation. When we think of discipline, we think of punishment of some sort. We tend to feel a lack of control at the idea that we have to obey something or obey some sort of expected code of conduct or behaviors. However, being disciplined within oneself means that you show up for yourself like you do for work. When it comes to being disciplined for YOU, YOU set the rules and terms the only “punishment” is your inability to complete a task because you weren’t consistent enough in committing to your terms.
All of these things take time but if you focus on you, maintain consistency, and work on your discipline- daily, you will slowly but surely start to see results. Work on bettering you daily.
If you’re looking for a great self-development book to get you started, check out: The Light Within Us All: Life Lessons Through Self-Discovery by Tyrone M. Robinson, III.
If you’re interested in wellness tips and more subscribe to The Well Log Monthly Blog Letter here.