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ATTITUDE – The essential element for a healthy body! written by Paula McSporran
We take care of what we value. Therefore, if we don’t make our health a priority and take it for granted, over time our health will deteriorate. So what makes the difference to bring change? We all want a healthy body, but sometimes the only things that WILL motivate us to change can involve peer pressure, a health scare, or a significant upcoming event.
Some time ago, my husband and I decided we would get a joint gym membership – it was something we could do together. Although it was a great idea, the only issue was that his schedule and his motivation were different to mine. Because of that, I decided I would join a six-week fitness challenge program that would help me meet my goal to look and feel ‘fit, foxy and fabulous’ for my fortieth birthday. (I wanted that great body before age and gravity worked against me.) And it worked… But only for a while. . .
Key 1. Adjust Your Attitude, Not Just Your Schedule
Not being a fan of running at all (except during sport because there was a purpose and an opportunity to win), I had a hard time during the park training sessions with a lot of running. I noticed that leading up to the runs and during the run, my energy was worse than ever. When I checked in with myself (a mindfulness technique I use), I noticed that my self-talk was not good. In fact, for a positive person I realized it was usually terrible! There is no way I would talk to someone else like that, yet I had a horrible conversation going on in my own head. No wonder I stopped enjoying my training!
My attitude needed a tune-up, so I made small changes which in turn made an incredible difference. I did the following:
1. I adopted more positive self-talk. After running around the field, feeling a part of me that wants to give in and collapse in a heap, I changed my self-talk to be encouraging and supportive. I shifted my attention from the ‘big picture’ right down to a minimal level and would just focus on the next tree, for example. And when I reached that tree, my focus was on the next corner, then the next post and finally the finish line.
2. I took ‘one step at a time’ – literally. When the pain and fatigue was becoming nearly unbearable, I repeated to myself ‘one foot in front of the other.’ This simple mantra kept reminding me that all I needed to do was focus on putting down one foot at a time. And it worked! Another useful tip is to be kind when telling yourself what to do when emotions are high. The tone I used was focussed and supportive. I didn’t scold myself as if I was doing something wrong. That would not have helped.
By following these two basic strategies, I didn’t quit. I was the only one in that group with 100% attendance and the momentum I had been looking for.
I got over the initial fitness hurdle and broke through the pain barriers. I was on track to my goal and only had a few more months ahead of me. Then I reached my target! I was Fit, Foxy and Fabulous by 40 – and the gym membership became a decorative card on my key chain for the balance of the 12 months.
But — it would be 18 months before I began regular fitness and disciplined training again.
Key 2. So Why Didn’t I Keep It Up?
There are a variety of reasons why I didn’t continue going to the gym. The main reason is that I hadn’t placed a high enough value on my health. Yes, health was important to me. I ate well and didn’t smoke or drink excessively. I walked the dogs and led a reasonably active lifestyle. My weight was in the ‘healthy’ range according to the BMI (Body Mass Index) indicator.
However, the distinction became clear when talking with my Mindset Coach. We observed that Health and Fitness were not featured in my Top Five Values. I thought I was paying attention to my health, but I was really still just taking it for granted.
During a coaching session, we reorganized my values and updated my beliefs surrounding those values to be certain they served me and my goals. We made sure they supported where I wanted to go and how I wanted to be. The purpose of this was to ensure that decisions were aligned with my purpose and could be sustained.
Key 3. Focus on the Outcome
Instead of being motivated by avoiding further pain (which obviously didn’t work), I became inspired to feel great, feel energized and live my life with passion once again. I was inspired to maintain those energy levels in a sustainable way. That included taking time out for me and of course, doing the things I love to do to support a healthy mindset (attitude) as well as a healthy body.
The key, therefore, was in realizing that a healthy mind and a healthy body need to work in unison. Today, I am making choices around my health and well being that are aligned with my unconscious values as well as my conscious wants. There’s been a shift in my priorities on a deep level that feels ‘right’ for me. This has come to be seen in the following results:
I not only want to eat well, I am eating well and continue to eliminate sugar, wheat and dairy from my diet.
I want to feel fit and toned. I regularly exercise for physical health.
I am aware of my daily stress levels and use mindset techniques to monitor my self-talk. This reduces the impact of the stress chemicals and hormones my body produces .
I seek support and guidance with professional coaches.
Key 4. What do I mean by Unconscious and Conscious?
A great example is that consciously, we know what we should do for optimal health and wellness. We may even have taken the steps for a period of time to achieve optimal health; however ‘something’ (unconsciously) stopped us from following through.
What stops us is not often understood, although we can certainly justify our actions. We tell ourselves: I don’t have enough time. It’s too expensive. It doesn’t work for me. What is really happening on a deep unconscious level is that we are not placing a high enough value on our health and fitness. So we decide to stop doing what we know would be good for us. For some reason it does not feel right anymore or we are not inspired. We lose all motivation to reach our goal.
Key 5. What makes the Difference?
It can’t be for the lack of education since there’s so much available – from gyms, books & YouTube – it’s all there, even education for free. So we don’t stop because we don’t know what or how to do it.
Could the difference be The Why? Why would you want to be fit and healthy? Why would you want to stay fit and healthy? Not understanding the why can contribute partly to your results. The distinction that I would like to share from my experience is:
Your reasons for not doing something — or excuses against taking action — are only as powerful as you believe them to be.
Whatever you value most on an unconscious level will become your life experience.
Your conscious mind and will-power can certainly motivate you and give you the ‘kick-start’ you need. For example, you tell yourself you are sick of feeling tired, don’t want to look fat anymore, or simply want to fit into that little black dress.
To maintain your health and wellness goals, therefore, the key is to have sustainable reasons for why you should take action.
Key 6. A Positive Unconscious Attitude – The Key to a Healthy Body
So, to gain that perfect balance for a healthy body, make sure that what you want to achieve aligns with your values on an unconscious level (not just what you think you want on a conscious level). This will help you to stick with your goal of experiencing good health. Be clear on the reasons why you want good health. It helps to be inspired by your reasons, not just ‘motivated.’ (Inspiration lasts longer and doesn’t rely on outside factors.)
If you know you’re the type of person who needs to be held accountable, make it happen. Engage a coach – a life/health coach, personal trainer or performance coach.
If you’re the type of person who loves to be around people, encourage a friend to join you, and/or make sure you attend group training classes.
There are so many options available for developing a positive attitude. The choice is yours.
Here’s to your success, health and happiness!