Have you already thrown in the towel on your big plans for cleaning up your diet and getting more exercise in 2014? Maybe you don’t even bother to set New Year’s Eve intentions because you simply can’t face the disappointment you feel towards yourself as you watch each once-enthusiastic goal slides off your list undone.
I hear ya! In fact, I see it all the time; we become so overwhelmed that we end up pulling the plug on our intentions to make healthy new choices. For instance, I recently had a client write to ask me if I knew anything about a particular ingredient that she was concerned was in the almond milk she was now enjoying in an effort to avoid cow dairy, which was causing her digestive problems and numerous other health issues.
We’re living in a day and age where we have so much conflicting information coming at us that we don’t know what to believe, never mind what to do about it, so we end up doing nothing. I call it Analysis Paralysis!
Sprinkled on top of all that confusion is our goal for perfection. We strive for the perfect diet, exercise fad, yoga posture, the perfect ___________, (you name it). When we fall even slightly short of our anticipated perfection we collapse in defeat.
I’m not suggesting you not strive for your goals and put in your very best effort — far from it actually — what I’m saying is stop to smell the bouquet of your achievements along the way for heaven’s sake!
Going back to my client’s question– she deserves to congratulate herself for having moved away from consuming what health guru David Wolfe describes as pus, blood and mucous filled, pasteurized to the point of having zero health benefits, factory trapped and milked to the point where their teats are bleeding cow dairy and having switched over to a product that…well…doesn’t! (not that I have an opinion about this subject at all apparently 😉 )
Let’s cover a few simple strategies for avoiding overwhelm:
- Start by making your goals realistic and doable. I realize you’ve heard this a gazillion times already but starting your New Year’s day with “I’m going to get up at 4 am everyday and meditate for one hour, followed by an hour at the gym then I’ll hit a 60 minute yoga class on my way to work – oh and yes, I’m going to prepare homemade fresh greens juice every morning too…oh this is going to be so much fuuuuun!!!”
Like hell it is! By day 3, if you last even that long, that snooze button’s going to get pounded on until probably 6 a.m. and from there it’s all a downward slide…and you know I’m right! I’m right because I’ve done it too.
Instead, sit down with your schedule and get real with yourself and what you’ll actually DO. For instance, you could create goals/intentions like these:
- I’m going to get to bed by 10:00 p.m. 5 nights/week (heck, if you did only this one thing you’d be well on your way to losing unwanted/excess weight and feeling more energetic) For more sleep strategies listen to my new 5 Zees to a Great Night’s Sleep FREE-to-subscribers recorded series.
- Monday, Wednesday and Friday I’ll attend my favorite yoga class at 7:30 pm – enjoying a light dinner around 5 pm so my blood sugar stays in check and yet it’s digested enough I won’t be uncomfortable.
- I’ll prepare a healthy lunch and snacks for the next day while I’m cleaning up the dinner dishes – that way I’m setting myself up to win rather than grabbing something unhealthy to eat on the run.
- There’s an expression I love “I may not be all that I want to be, but thank God I’m not all that I used to be.” We tend to forget all the small positive changes we’ve made along the way to becoming who we are today. At the end of each day quickly jot down every time you achieve any of the things from your “realistic, doable goals” list – no matter how small you might think those achievements are. Celebrate every little change you’ve made.
- Have 3 rewards planned for the end of each week’s worth of achievements. Personally, my list might look something like this:
- I’ll have a wonderful one-hour massage as my reward for achieving 100% of what I scheduled and set out to do this week.
- I’ll go for a manicure on Saturday as my reward for achieving 70% of what I set out to do this week.
- I’ll treat myself to an afternoon nap on Sunday for achieving even 50% of what I set out to do – i.e. I got to bed by 10 pm 3 nights this week, prepared lunch the night before 3 times this week and made it to 2 of the yoga classes I’d promised myself I’d go to.
You’re likely asking what that ingredient was in my client’s almond or coconut milk. It’s Carrageenan, which is a thickening agent oftentimes found in yogurt, chocolate, soymilk, etc. Yes, it’s been found to cause digestive issues but then so has cow dairy. It’s just so easy to get nutty about things like this – hence the title “Health NUT” – and we end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to our health choices.
My advice is to “Pick your battles.” Would you rather avoid, or at least limit your consumption of pus, blood and mucous filled, pasteurized to the point of having zero health benefits, factory trapped and milked to the point where their teats are bleeding cow dairy – which has been linked to cancer, irritable bowel, leaky gut and countless other health issues – OR would you feel better by patting yourself on the back for acknowledging you’re doing your best when it comes to your health choices?
I say – as a reformed health nutty, nut, nut – do your best and celebrate the fact that, sure, you may not be all that you want to be (aka Perfect), but thank God you’re not all that you used to be!