When I was 10, my grandmother told me, “Don’t buy anything for yourself around Christmas. You never know what Santa will bring you…” Strangely enough, this set me up for disappointment because Santa didn’t seem to know that what I wanted more than anything was a real lightsaber. Maybe Darth Vader was intercepting the mail between LaFayette, Georgia, and the North Pole.
Much like a Jedi must make their own lightsaber in order to become a master, there are some gifts you just have to give yourself. This is especially true when you’re looking to form new health habits. Here’s a list:
You can’t get to where you’re going without knowing where you are. Calorie and workout tracking are simply a means to the end of awareness. By using them diligently until new habits are formed, we begin to learn when behaviors we want (and don’t want) are being triggered and rewarded. Most of the habits I teach clients are simply habits of awareness. “To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.” – Eric Hoffer
Ask anyone in recovery how many times they tried to quit and I bet they know the number. I personally quit smoking 4 times before it stuck, and each time was a little bit easier. In order to get to our goals, it is absolutely essential we learn that failure is a part of the story of our success–not an end to that story. “Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Lewis Boese
I rarely see failures of willpower, but I have seen thousands of people fail to stay focused. New habits take effort, but that effort is wasted if you are scattering it across too many desired behaviors. Want to run a marathon and lose weight? Too much. Want to change your diet and start going to the gym? Too much. My clients work on one habit at a time until they master it. That’s it. But man, do they add up… “The goal is to keep the goal the goal.” – Dan John
Moving one habit at a time takes focus and patience, but something all my successful clients learn is that patience is not passive. It’s an active process of learning what works, and what doesn’t. What thoughts inspire us to keep going and what thoughts make us look for cookies. They learn how to plan for what they can control and to roll with what they cannot. “Most people overestimate how much they can get done in a day and underestimate how much they can do in a year.” – Bill Gates
This is the most important gift you can put under your tree. It’s the batteries that power all the other gifts you need to give yourself. The people around you are not there by accident. You choose who to spend your time with and you have a say in what activities you do with them. Picking the right people to spend time with can make all the difference between hoping for a change, and making a change. So give yourself the gift of not taking this journey alone. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn