“I’m an all or nothing type person.”
This is something that I hear from time to time from people who are looking to make lifestyle changes. When I hear it, my brain goes “Uh huh. Nice. So, completely unrealistic/inhuman expectations + shame spiral = self sabotage.” Or something of that nature =)
Making a claim that you are an all or nothing person usually means that you tackle a health issue with superhuman, slave driver strength….for about a month. Maybe less. Then it becomes clear that you are exhausted from ruthless discipline, undernourished, and have wound up with a life that is devoid of pleasure.
All or nothing is just a set up for failure. Yes, I said that. We are not designed to be on or off.
We are not meant to cut out everything decadent in our lives. We are not meant to add 5 days of spin class to our already full schedules, loosing precious sleep and time with loved ones in the process. We are not meant to program our minds to say no to everything yummy or fun.
The goal for any sustainable lifestyle pattern is 70/30. 80/20 if you are Type A but absolutely no more than 80%! Ever!
The aim is that 70% of the time, you will be following your exercise routine, getting enough rest, taking your herbs/supplements, eating the foods that truly nourish you, meditating, journaling, brain dumping, clutter clearing. The other 30% is yours for the taking. This means, have the cupcake, skip the workout because you are tired, have a glass of wine with dinner, sleep in.
Pleasure is healthy. It’s a sacred ingredient for a sustainable life. It’s not something that we value much in this culture.
As a matter of fact, it’s a bit of a dirty word. We characterize our vices as “being bad.” There is a lot of guilt attached to enjoyment.
We are not robots though. We are living, breathing souls who want to rejoice and enjoy our lives. When we set ourselves up for a puritanical, hyper disciplined schedule; there is bound to be a big fall when we feel a huge lack.
If you are reading this, I’m sure there is something that you’d like to do more of and something you’d like to do less of in your life.
Maybe you’d like to start meditating --> Start with two minutes a day.
Maybe you’d like to start exercising --> Start by scheduling a walk or yoga date with a friend on the weekend.
Maybe you’d like to start eating healthier, whole foods --> Start with a trip to the farmers market, buy the most beautiful thing you see and find a tantalizing recipe to make.
It can really be this simple. You just need to begin. Make it fun. Make it beautiful. Make it easy.
Anything habit that lasts needs to be something that makes you feel better when you do it. It needs to give back to you, not take from you. The positive reinforcement for the new lifestyle comes when you feel good, not when you have to force yourself.
It’s just a matter of shifting your thinking about how you approach your life and your health. My challenge to you is to do ONE thing today that supports your mental, emotional, physical or spiritual health. Just one!
Small is not insignificant. Easy is not ‘not good enough.’ Go for it and let me know what you chose and how good it made you feel!