"I used to do 'x' and it worked..."
"I used to eat 'y' and it worked..."
Common conversations when people are getting back to focusing on their health and wellbeing. And it's an understandable state of mind. However, it can actually be a barrier if you're not careful.
Do you find yourself working with a program/routine or a way of eating that worked for you in the past, but it just seems to not be having the same effects now? You're not alone.
In addition, we are creatures of habit. Therefore something we're familiar with is obviously something we're going to work with first! Especially if we had a positive experience with it in the past.
Human physiology is not as simple as 1+1 = 2. Life in general, is also not as simple as 1+1=2. There are SO MANY things that factor into our daily lives and our health. Some we can control. Many we can't. Have you ever noticed how when you try to implement 'x' + 'y' into your daily routine, on paper the outcome should be 'z' right?? Why wouldn't that work???? Well, because we're NOT that simple. Rather we are deep and complex parts of nature.
I think I've always dealt with clients who are stuck in this mindset. Sometimes, you're able to help some understand and change their mindset and approach to achieve their goals, and other times people just want to stay in the mindset they know. I'm pretty sure any Health & Fitness Coach out there will tell you that even right now, on their current roster of clients, there's at least 1-2 of them who are exactly in this mindset.
Let's use a simple example:
10-years ago, you were doing a movement routine and eating a particular way. Whether you truly enjoyed it or not is another conversation, but in the end you lost 'x' amount of pounds, or you achieved a goal you had set for yourself. Now, a decade later, after NOT putting in the time and energy for your health to a similar extent, after life's happenings etc... you find yourself "set back further" than when you started 10-years ago. Naturally, since it worked then, it must be simple enough that it'll work now right?
...Well, maybe... But most often.... no. Sorry.
Let me tell you from experience that 10-years in life can bring along a HOST of "stuff". For myself and my family, we went through a decade of major life changes (business and personal). Some good, some not good... Regardless, major change brings new habits, challenges, stresses etc... It's no wonder my body and mind changed with it, and not always in the positive way.
This is the FIRST step in changing your mindset from the old-school "mental castle wall" you've been building up higher and higher. Things change! Here are some things this example's person needs to consider:
- 10-years ago you were a decade younger
- 10-years ago you may have had less responsibility (different job, less kids, no debt etc)
- 10-years ago life in general was different (in many ways for you personally)
- 10-years ago, chemical changes within your body (example: hormones) may have been more balanced (due to less stress for example) AND they would've had a different impact on your body being 10-years younger
- Stress may have been dealt with better or worse for you personally a decade ago (which has a major impact on the body's physiology)
- Your work may have been less stressful and/or less hours per week
- You may have made more time for yourself in your days than you do now while you were doing your routine/eating habits 10-years ago
- You may have seen or felt more changes 10-years ago, not because of your program but because you were more active and/or eating better in general
- Your weekly routines were different. Perhaps when you achieved your goals a decade ago, you were also playing tennis, golf or going paddling a couple days per week on top of your exercise routine (and now you're no longer doing those things).
- Maybe when you had your success in the past you were sleeping 7-8hrs per night consistently, whereas now you're happy if you get 5hrs most nights
....the list goes on....
If a person considers all of these factors (and then some) while doing exactly what worked for them 10-years ago, and still wonders why they aren't seeing the same results - most likely you need to change your approach! Too many factors are at play. And it's ok!
The body naturally has different demands as we age. I'll never forget my chiropractor saying that he feels "every decade our body goes through major physiological change, meaning it's needs change as well". I agree 100%. Yet, in our "cookie-cutter North American" train of thought, we don't adapt to this reality but instead continue to do the same thing only to experience less progress, and more stress because of it. Here's a few steps on how you can approach your current goals if this is hitting home for you...
1) Do an inventory (i.e. write down) your current daily/weekly lifestyle. Include things like your current activities, your work schedule, stress levels (say 1-10 scale with 10 being 'I'm losing my mind here'), responsibilities (kids, work, family, errands etc)...
2) Read it over. Maybe a few times. Ask yourself, realistically, how confident am I that my old routine will fit into my current lifestyle? Again, use a 1-10 scale (10 being 'it will 100% happen). If you're 9/10 confident, have at 'er. If not, move to step 3.
3) Be realistic with yourself NOW. What you did in the past, is in the past. Be realistic NOW, in your current lifestyle. What would be totally do-able for you, who you are and what you do, TODAY? Brainstorm ideas without judgement. Write them down in a list. It may be half of "what you did 10-years ago" but, it's twice as much as the nothing you're doing currently, right? Something ALWAYS is more beneficial than nothing.
4) From your list, choose 1-2 activities and ask yourself how do-able these are in your daily routines. (see step 2)
5) Put them into ACTION for 3-4 weeks. Just those 1-2 things. After they're consistent and feeling good (easy/enjoyable even!) repeat steps 3-5. This time ADDING 1-2 practices to the one(s) you just accomplished.
The fun side of this from a coach's perspective is when the client "gets it". When the client(s) open their mind to a new approach from their old ways, simplifies things and begins to reap the benefits inside and out. A coach can never get tired of being a part of that "AH-HA" moment when it happens for people. As I often elude to, we once again are given the example of how powerful our mindset and approach to our health can be. It can allow us to achieve more than we thought we were capable of OR it can hold us back... in the past... feeling stuck, and down on ourselves. Here's another neat food for thought:
Will the people reading this thinking "ya that's me!" actually do the steps laid out here??
That in itself, is another first step to changing your mindset.... doing something different than you've done before.