Continued from Part 1…….
The first and perhaps best known reason is that people do not like to be taken out of their comfort zones.
Sure you might know that plenty of greens and low GI carbs are better than pizzas, but you always have a pizza on a Friday night and it’s your “go-to” comfort food when you get stressed, right? We all take comfort in carrying out familiar actions and activities.
The second and possibly more surprising reason is that humans cannot be obligated to themselves.
We have to be obligated to an external source or another person in order to complete a task, project or new resolution. A good example of an obligation you will never fail to meet is your mortgage or rent …… don’t pay it and you don’t have a roof over your head. Now take that mindset and apply it to your health and fitness. Be great, wouldn’t it?
So the biggest reason a lot of baby boomers are not looking after their health in the best possible way is that they are not accountable to themselves when it comes to fulfilling their goals of a good state of health and fitness.
Accountability can be defined as acknowledging responsibility for your actions and then being responsible for the consequences of your actions. Or perhaps, in this case, in-actions.
I believe accountability is more important than motivation.
Because motivation comes and goes, depending on how busy, stressed or excited we might feel about other things in our lives. And motivation certainly will affect your choices when it comes to eating healthy, wholesome meals or going for that early morning walk.
However, if you have someone else in your life, a personal trainer or nutritionist, for example, you will eat the right food and do the exercise you need to, because you don’t want to let them down.
Being obligated to something external (by staying fit in a team or eating healthily within a group or your family) works because when someone else has expectations of you, you don’t want to disappoint them.
The good news is there are options. You can do some little life hacks to get around the way your brain is programmed to work.
Change Your Commitment Level
Committing to “more” is one way to get things done.
Exercising in a group is one way to keep yourself (and other people like yourself) committed to reaching goals. It isn’t about exercising day and night to fit into a pair of pants that fitted 25 years ago. The idea is to make yourself accountable to other people not to skip exercise, to cook healthy meals and to stop bingeing on fast food because you all have expectations for one another.
Committing to “less” is another way to get things done. Rather promise less and achieve more than over promise and not deliver. Disappointment in yourself and reminders of past failures generally do not uplift us or incentivize us to want to try again; in many cases it makes people want to run in the other direction.
Instead of giving yourself hard and fast rules to eliminate one particular type of food or indulgence start telling yourself things like… “I will eat one big salad a day at least”, “I will only eat until I feel 80% full” or “I will eat an extra home-cooked meal every day”.
One way of looking at it is like a compromise. You’re not trying to change yourself overnight; you are slowing allowing yourself to become more aware of, and responsive to, what you need. As you slowly change these new changes become new habits.
As far as exercise is concerned, just the thought of Lycra is probably enough to put you off before you’ve even started. A whole gym workout, a jog, a cycle… these all sound massively unattainable to someone who considers him or herself unfit. So start small and start with something you like doing.
Rather than overwhelming yourself with the motivation required to hit the gym at 5:30 every morning, tell yourself you will do 30 squats at home when you wake up every day.
Park further away from the shops when you go shopping and make yourself walk the little bit extra.
Tell yourself you will always take the stairs instead of using the lift (elevator).
Continue on and read Part 3.