Exactly one year ago, I walked into a gym to meet my new Personal Trainer. This is not the before and after pics- story. I do have those, but I think I got something more valuable.
I was a mother of an almost one-year-old boy and over 40. I didn’t like what I was seeing in the mirror. After pregnancy and a few stressful years prioritizing to care about myself was harder than expected.
I had been in the similar “I don’t like what I see from the mirror” – situation before (10 years ago) and managed to do the change in few months so of course my expectations were set based on that. And oh dear, it certainly didn’t go like in the movies!
Come and go in a week
While I was frustrated about the slowly progressing journey and “maybe” occasionally mentioning about it to my husband, (sorry dear) something, he said once really struck me: ” Honey, if it didn’t come in a week, how can you expect that to be gone in a week?”
True, so painfully true. I had changed the priorities over time, and that was bugging me the most. I had created a nice amount of bad habits, without understanding that I had done that. Increased living standards started to show.
Habits emerge because the brain is continually looking for ways to save effort. In other words, your brain will make almost any routine into a habit because it allows our minds to ramp down more often. It’s an excellent way to give room for something more urgent at that moment, the sad part of it is though those habits emerge without our permission and at times you don’t even realize they exist.
The anatomy of the habit
Like mentioned in the book: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg the habit formation within our brain is a three-step loop:
- First, there is a cue to tell your brain to go into automatic mode.
- Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional.
- Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain to figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.
To break your bad habits, you need to identify the cues and rewards, after that, you can change the routine. The hard part is to understand you have a habit and to realize, there is no specific set of steps guaranteed to work for every person in breaking their bad habits or building a new habit.
People tend to change their habits more likely when they go through a significant life event. Perhaps because of the need to reorganize your life or just priorities. Even though habits emerge within the brain and often, we can’t control them. We still need to learn to be conscious and aware of them. In the end, it’s still our responsibility to cultivate our own habits and take charge of our own life.
You need to work for every kilo, whether it is losing weight or lifting it.
Like I said earlier, my transformation to a Greek goddess is still on the way, and instead of marking it as a project, it’s a continuous service that I have agreed.
Regardless of what kind of habit you want to get rid of, whipping yourself because you don’t look like Victoria’s Secret model is pointless and doing so won’t get you to the catwalk.
Participating in Kaisa Jaakkolas course taught me getting a goal that doesn’t have a negative charge would be the right kind of start for me. I wanted to be able to do chin-ups and fit into my old dress by the time it was our friend’s wedding in May. In reality, I was expecting myself master both already by new year’s, and that was insane. Even if I was hitting to gym 2-3 times a week, made daily stroller walks and so on, things just progressed slowly, too slowly. It took me some time to understand why.
If I’d do it again…
If someone had come to me 10 years ago and suggested I’d follow the instructions I have set to myself today, I probably wouldn’t have believed that person. I have known these things, but I haven’t really understood them. The more age I have, the more holistic point of view my wellbeing gets. I have now learned how to eat, do sports, and recover. Instead of a Greek goddess, I’d aim for the fearless girl.
If you are in tight spot weather, it is your health, private life or your work, making sure the foundation of your wellbeing is at the proper level will help:
- Prioritize yourself high, always, especially when you’re in a stressful situation. You’re helping nobody if you’re not doing ok yourself.
- Find the sleeping pattern that suits you best, adapt the patter if needed but do not give up sleep.
- Be kind to yourself. Positively charged goals work better in the long term than whipping
- Make your eating habits conscious, you’ll need the energy to do things and recover. You can eat pizza or chocolate, or drink a glass of champagne as long as it’s not your everyday meal or treats.
- There are no long-lasting, quick wins- change takes time. Be patient!
- Remember your goal! You made it for a reason. Don’t give up!