I hear this a lot…
“I KNOW I should be eating healthy and exercising, but I just can’t follow through!”
When you’re not following through on something that, deep down, you REALLY want for yourself, it’s because it’s either too hard, too painful, or too scary. It’s that simple.
When things are easy, joyful, and safe, you follow through.
Think about it…
Binge watching New Girl on Netflix is easy, joyful, and safe. You follow through.
Scrolling through Instagram for funny cat videos is easy, joyful, and safe. You follow through.
Brushing your teeth every morning isn’t necessarily joyful, but it’s easy and safe. You follow through.
Knitting a blanket for a friend’s new baby isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s joyful and safe. You follow through.
So, the key to following through on eating well and exercising are to make them easy, joyful, and safe.
Here’s how to do it…
1. MAKE IT EASY
Think about the effort you’ve put into making Netflix easy. (Or Hulu. Or Starz.) You’ve gotta pay for it. You’ve got to do that weird thing when you set it up where you turn on your tv and hit a button on the remote a million times to type in your password. Or, you have to do that weird “activate” thing online. You’ve gotta go on social media to ask what show to watch next.
Netflix could be hard. But you made it easy.
You put in a lot of initial work so that now, you can come home from work, plop on the couch with your favorite snack, and be bingeing on a show you know you’ll like in less than a minute. It’s easy, BUT YOU MADE IT THAT WAY.
So, put that same initial effort into making eating well and exercising (which I prefer to call “movement” because doesn’t that just feel better?) easy.
Ways to create ease…
- Put food and movement in your calendar, with reminders, so they actually happen. 📆
- Put your sneakers and athletic wear by your bed or in your work bag.👟
- Stop thinking you need to cook a gourmet meal if you don’t like cooking. You don’t need to cook Barbecue Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps for dinner. I got tired just typing that. Keep it simple. 🥑
- Search Pinterest for meals you can make in 15 minutes in only one pan. 🍳
- Eat leftovers.
- Movement doesn’t have to mean you go to the gym and do 30 minutes on the treadmill and then 30 minutes of weights. Movement can be as simple as going on a 15-minute walk with your partner to talk about your days.🚶♀️
2. MAKE IT JOYFUL
We avoid pretty much anything that is not joyful. So if eating well and doing daily movement is not joyful for you, you’re not going to do it.
Yes, there are people who love to “go hard” at the gym and then post about how they “hate it but love the results.” Good for them. But I personally am not gonna doing things I hate, no matter what the results are.
So you have to make it joyful.
Most days, part of my morning ritual is movement. Usually this looks like 5 minutes of joyful, easy yoga by myself on my living room rug.
I don’t get out my yoga mat, because it’s easier not to. (Remember… make it easy!)
I turn on my favorite playlist (Yoga Feels on Spotify), set a timer on my phone, and then move in ways that feel good until my body feels awake and limber.
There are no poses I “have” to do. There are no rules other than it has to feel joyful.
The purpose of this isn’t because I’m “supposed to”. The purpose is to feel joy in my body.
Some weeks I feel all fired up and decide to add in an afternoon dance class or a gym class or a bike ride… because I know they will feel joyful. The next week, I might go back to just my 5 minutes of morning yoga. It’s whatever feels most JOYFUL.
With food, it’s the same thing. What will make it feel joyful?
Ways to create joy…
- Make cooking dinner a fun evening ritual. Light a candle. Put on some Beyonce. Have a glass of wine. Dance around. 💃🏽
- Have your morning breakfast and beverage out on your patio or balcony. Take in the sights, smells and sounds of the morning. Feel the sun and breeze on your skin. ☕️
- Practice gratitude and take a few deep breaths before you eat. 🧘♀️
- Stay AWAY from work, stress, or screens while you eat. 🚫
- Eat with your family or a friend and calmly talk about your days. 👭
- Call a friend and chat on speaker phone (no staring at the screen!) while you’re both having dinner. 📞
- Take a walk with your partner or a friend as the sun sets and enjoy conversation. ☀️
- Jams. Always some sweet jams.🎵
- Think about how good you feel in your body as you’re joyfully moving. 😃
3. MAKE IT SAFE
I don’t mean like “don’t climb a really high rock wall” kind of safe. I mean emotionally safe.
You will eat well and do movement if the reason is because it feels good in your body.
If it’s expected of you, either by your partner or the media or that mean girl voice in your head, you will not do it. You will rebel against it.
I mean you may do it once or twice, but you’ll quit. And that’s your most inner wise self keeping you safe from a life of trying to change to please other people.
So, to follow through, it’s got to be something that is YOUR choice to do because it FEELS GOOD. And because you love your amazing body and she deserves to feel strong, capable, excited, and gently stretched.
Ways to make it safe…
- When doing movement, replace repetitive should thoughts like, “I’m exercising like I’m SUPPOSED to. I’m being SO GOOD! I’m going to do it HARD and LONG to burn off all those calories I ate because I have NO WILLPOWER”
- “I love how it feels for my heart to pump faster. I love how strong my legs feel right now. I love how agile and graceful this dance move make me feel right now.”
- Remind yourself that any movement that feels good is enough. A 2-minute walk to the end of the street and back with your dog is enough. Dancing for 3 minutes to your favorite song is enough. Can you do more than that if you want to? Sure. But I’d rather you move joyfully for 5 minutes each day than sit on the couch and think about all the “real” workouts you “should” be doing. 💯
- If you grew up being told you needed to exercise to lose weight, then specifically move in ways that those people wouldn’t approve of and do it while (literally, seriously) giving the middle finger to anyone who ever told you that.🖕
- If you haven’t done much movement at all recently, ease into it. Trying to hop up after a year of no movement and immediately spend an hour in a zumba class will make you never want to get off the couch ever again. 🚫
- Stop counting calories, macros, points, and all of that other exhausting bizness. Eat in a way that feels nourishing and good in your body. Period.
- Eat any food you want that feels good in your body. Don’t restrict a food because someone a long time ago told you it was “bad”.🙄
- Notice the difference between physical hunger (belly grumbling) and emotional hunger (physically full but for some reason still hungry). Feed your physical hunger with food. Feed your emotional hunger with things other than just food. Things like connection, relaxation, sleep, and fun. 😴
That’s it, loves. Make food and movement feel easy, joyful, and safe… and you’ll follow through. Focus on THOSE, instead of willpower and force and shoulds. 🙅♀️
Let me know in the comments one way that you’re going to make food and movement more easy, joyful, or safe so I can cheer you on!