One of the biggest myths around starting our health journey is that we believe we need to overhaul every aspect of our lives.
We think we need to go from sedentary to training six times per week.
We try to follow strict meal plans while cutting out every “bad” food we can possibly think of.
We confine ourselves to some version of what we think is “perfect,” and consider everything else as “failing.”
In reality, this is just being overly restrictive and depriving ourselves of any joy that should come from living a healthy life.
This type of thinking tilts the favor towards an all-or-nothing approach. A mindset where a believe we’re either:
failing or succeeding
on or off
right or wrong
good or bad
But growth happens in the murky and messy areas - not in the extremes.
We need to adopt a perspective that respects this, because when we do we’ll stay more consistent, enjoy the journey, become more self-compassionate, make continual progress, and build habits that last.
Here are two ways you can start building a more sustainable practice
Punch the clock
When we’re starting, one of the main skills we need to develop is how to start no matter what. Getting good at taking a single step, despite our circumstances allows us to build a muscle that is crucial for our long-term success: our consistency muscle.
Instead of waiting until Monday to start, or waiting to sign up for some extreme program, or procrastinating about firing up another deprivation diet, do something today.
It doesn’t matter what. Just punch the clock.
Get outside for a 30 minute walk
Drink 2-3 litres of water
Plan out your dinners for the week
Batch cook some of your favourite healthy recipes
Knock out some push ups or lunges
Take a healthy action no matter what.
By repeatedly doing this every day, you’re doing something remarkable:
You’re being the type of person you wish to be - one who takes action no matter what.
And that’s one identity you can be proud of.
Now, don’t think.
Follow a bare ass minimum
You’ve probably heard me mention this phrase on multiple occasions, but it’s one worth repeating.
When you set the bar at just the right height - where it’s low enough to step over yet high enough to continue to move you closer to your goals, you’re going to make great progress.
This is your bare ass minimum. The least amount of work which you can commit to doing yet will keep you on track. When you follow your BAM (for short) you will establish the habit of being consistent despite your circumstances, such as a busy schedule.
Some examples of BAMs each day could be:
drink 2 litres of water
get to bed at 11 p.m.
walk outside for 10 minutes
eat a well-rounded, high-protein breakfast
eat 1 serving of fruit and 3 fist-sized servings of different veggies
meditate for 2 minutes
if tracking calories, keep in your daily calorie limit no matter what
Remember: these are the things you will do no matter what. So pick something you can commit to on even your most chaotic day. And whatever you choose, just make sure it’s aligned with your goals.
If you need help getting started on your journey or you’ve gotten off track with your habits, check out my program ‘Ignite: From Couch to Consistent in 30 Days’ which is on sale for $24 CAD (40% off regular) for a limited time!
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