Tuesday, September 8, 2015

5 Ways to Turn Your "I Can't" Into "I Can"

What did you do this Labor Day?

I spent my morning with Billy Joel. 

He told me tales of the Piano Man, The Entertainer, The Stranger, and my favorite--Brendar and Eddie. 

I found this app called Couch-to-5K, or C25K. It claims to get you off the couch and running a 5K in eight weeks. I'm on the third workout, and strangely, I don't hate it. I actually almost enjoy running. Maybe it's because I'm still easing into this running thing. I only have to run for 60 seconds, then I get to walk for 90. I do this for 8 intervals. So far, I'm digging it, especially when I get to cool down to New York State of Mind. And you need to understand something: I hated running and overall exercise.

When the overweight and undisciplined me feels like giving up or giving in, when I say, "I can't," the skinny and healthy me that is longing to be center stage says, "Yes, you can."



When overweight and undisciplined me says, "But it's soooo haaaard," Skinny and healthy me says, "No it's not really. What's hard is the choice. Stop whining and keep going." I like Skinny and healthy me, but she really is a pain.

The hardest part of tackling weight loss, exercise, overcoming addiction, or any other change that is challenging for us is not so much the act, but the action.

It comes down to our will.

We tend to look at our challenge as this huge task. We look at the big picture. We look at the end result, the end goal, and it's too big. Looking at it that way is overwhelming so we quit before we even begin. "I can't."

Instead, we might do well to listen to the folks from Alcoholic Anonymous who overcome their addiction, "one day at a time." Sometimes, it is one step at a time. One cookie at a time.

It is a matter, not of difficulty, but of will.

For years, I've said that losing weight was so hard because I never had a good enough reason for getting it off. I used menopause as an excuse. "Oh, it's just so hard to get weight off once you hit menopause." True. But that only justified my excuse.

When I had to begin taking yet another medication because the numbers weren't coming down, I knew I had to make serious changes by eliminating sugar and getting the weight off. That was enough motivation for me. And oddly, once I made the healthier choice, I find now that it isn't as hard as I thought. 



It's skipping that extra half hour of sleep in the morning and choosing to get up in the dark and put my sneakers on, or skipping that ice cream cone and drinking water instead that's hard. It's the choice that's hard. It's denying the flesh that's hard. 

Some days, saying "no" to my wants is the most difficult task on my to-do list. 

What are you struggling with today? What is your motivation to change? Is it hard to actually put a plan into practice, or is it the choice to say no to your will that's so hard? 

Try these five practical tips :

Make a plan and find your motivation.
My plan was to step up my exercise and eat less. That's the only way my weight will come off. My motivation? Getting off medication. The only way to do it is to exercise more and eat less. I long to be thin and med-free again. I don't just wish for it. I want it bad enough to do something about it.

Learn to say no. 
Treat your will like a 2-year old child. Deny your flesh. Stop saying "it's" too hard. Define your "it" that is too hard, and break it down into smaller, more manageable actions that you CAN overcome. Make the choice to be stronger than your "it." If you can't, ask God to be stronger for you (I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Phil 4:13). Think before you act. Decide if you really want to do that. How will it affect you? How will you feel afterwards? Will the guilt over having given in lead to doing that thing again? Break the cycle. Stop whining and do something about it. Make a healthy choice.

Focus on right now and not the end result.
I can't eliminate sugar-it's too hard. But right now, I can go without that cookie. I can't walk five miles, but right now, I can walk one mile. I can't run a 5K, but right now, I can run for 60 seconds. I can't quit smoking, but I right now, I can give up this cigarette. Give yourself credit for what you can do right now, instead of focusing on what you can't do.

Set goals
I always hate when I read that, but it's true--goals are a motivator. But short-term goals, such as simply getting up and doing my next workout segment are equally important as long-term goals, like running a 5K. I can't run that 5K if I don't train for it, so I need the short-term goals, the daily goals as a motivator. I don't like to set weight loss goals yet; I'd rather not focus on my weight, but on my health. When you reach some of your goals, why not reward yourself? Buy some new music or a book.

Have accountability 
I joined a wellness club, where I have a personalized eating and exercise plan and must weigh in every two weeks. I also signed up for my first 5K run/walk--a non-competitive fund-raiser for a local animal shelter where canine companions are invited to join you. Whether it's a program or a person, be accountable to someone. When you try to do it alone, it's too easy not to change.

Click here for your free printable to personalize with these tips, and to keep with you to remind you that YOU CAN!

Oh, and you may want to bring Billy Joel, or someone equally as entertaining along. They can be great motivators.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare


This blog may be shared with these wonderful bloggers





23 comments:

  1. What a great article! Your five tips are spot on! Thank you so much for writing this. I am currently sitting here trying to decide if I want to get my exercise in this morning or not. (Timely read?!? Ha!) Visiting from Tuesday Talk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jennifer. I admit, I wasn't sure if the "tips" were indeed spot on, but they were what worked for me. I hope that when you read this reply, it will be with a sweaty brow! And honestly? I NEVER want to get my exercise in. I wrote this on Monday after my walk that was started at 8am. Today, it was 5:30, before work, and I had to fasten a headlamp on my head because to get to where I wanted to go, I had to walk/run along a busy road. Embarrassing, encumbering, and annoying, but I did it! Go, girl!

      Delete
  2. I know I can because He is with me every step of the way. I have struggled this week. Thanks for the timely encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary! I really wanted to add the spiritual in, but it would have become too lengthy, so I stuck with practical. Sometimes we need both. I so glad that I encouraged you. Thank God He IS with us every step!!!

      Delete
  3. This is so motivating! Makes me want to get out there tomorrow at 5:00 when I wake up and walk. Well, maybe not that early. I power walk in the afternoons after work, so I guess I'll stick with that time. Great post to get people going no matter where they are. Thanks for sharing at Tuesday Talk today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh, and I thought I got up early. 5AM? Yes, it is dark. I really don't like going out in the dark-I feel like such a dork with my headlamp, but I'd rather not encounter a wild animal or a sleepy driver. Thanks for visiting, Michelle.

      Delete
  4. Such wonderful advice. This is a kick in the rear for me since I've been lazy about exercise, and coming up with every excuse under the sun. Thank you for the motivation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, now you've got a printout that can tell you all the ways you can say no to your excuses! My excuse this morning was, "My calves hurt. I must be running too much. Maybe I'll take today off." Yeah, that didn't work. I went anyway, and funny, my calves didn't hurt so much once I got moving. We'll tell ourselves anything to get out of hard work. Thanks for popping in.

      Delete
  5. Mary, you're giving me some good encouragement that I need to get back to low carb, low sugar eating! Thanks for these 5 tips. Thanks for sharing your testimony in such a transparent, winning way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Betsy! Thank you for stopping by. It really does make a difference, but the only way we really ever get that is by experiencing it. I pray you'll make the better choice when tempted!

      Delete
  6. Mary--so many great points here!! Almost makes me want to get out there and join a gym myself. Sorta-kinda. To begin with, I'll take your advice about one day at a time--nixing one cookie at a time. Wise women and a way with words--brilliant.
    Joy!
    Kathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you m'dear. Sometimes, I can actually place myself (not literally, of course) at the scene of the crime after the deed is done, and because it's a repetitive crime, I can remember the feeling--unsatisfied, mostly. That is sometimes enough. Emphasis on sometimes. Thank you for your ongoing and constant support-I sound like a Verizon commercial or some stupid thing...

      Delete
  7. Yes! I love this post! Even though "resting" implies sitting still and not doing anything...it isn't true! We need both REST and DOING! Thanks for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I love how we can write similar things about different things...if that makes any sense. Making a choice to move or making a choice to rest are both conscious decisions to basically not do what we want, but to follow what's best for us, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

      Delete
  8. You're speaking encouragement, Mare. You're speaking encouragement. I've gained weight "outta nowhere" in the past 2-3 years. And at the same time? I've been battling the "I wants" and other fleshly lies. Glad I popped in here today via #countingmyblessings. I'm going to "chew" on your list for a bit. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristi, I noticed when I turned 40 that I suddenly got "thick" around the middle. Where did that come from? Once menopause kicked in, forget it. I took on a frump-bod. Glad I could encourage you! I love the "tongue" in cheek pun...yes, pun intended.

      Delete
  9. I often ask my coaching clients, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time" but somehow that doesn't seem right to say with your thoughts here today, Mary! If you catch my drift! ;-) Anyway, I totally agree with you on the perseverance and planning that is so key to a weight-loss or healthy life plan. I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis since 1993, so I feel like a regular exercise routine is absolutely essential for me to remain mobile. It truly lessens my flares and inflammation in so many ways. But I am a bit bummed that the same (or more sometimes) amount of exercise doesn't bring the same results now that I'm in those menopausal years. So even though it's not an excuse, it truly is hurdle I'm ever-so-persistently trying to jump over! Thanks for the inspiring and transparent post, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would think that having a debilitating disease, such as RA would give you a great excuse not to exercise--at least it would me---all the more reason, right? When I was thrown into full blown menopause after a hysterectomy almost 2 years ago, I almost gave up trying to get healthy again. With me, I stay stagnant and complain until I can't stand myself anymore, then I get up and go all gusto. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have an in between switch. Hubbles just stands by and watches my typical crash and burns. I have to make a conscious choice every day, every hour, sometimes every moment! thanks for your comments Beth.Hope the conference was great!

      Delete
  10. I've struggled with my weight for many years. Exercise is hard for me, because my body is in so much physical pain...ALL the time. I am hoping I can start eating better. I know if I lost some weight, moving would become easier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbie, I read your comment this am before my walk/run, and during it I thought of your predicament, and prayed for you. You're in a tricky place, and that can be discouraging, I'm sure. Maybe a small goal might bring you a big victory, like eliminating one unhealthy thing from your diet. If you read my reply to Beth, above, you'll see that I jump into things with both feet and don't come up for air. That's not always good, because I fizzle out just as often. So I think my family and friends are watching me to see how long "this phase" will last. They're probably surprised that my Jesus phase has been going on for over 20 years! (That's a testament to how real Jesus is!) I hope and pray you can figure it out, with God's help. Thanks for your honesty. Hugs, friend!

      Delete
  11. New Diet Taps into Pioneering Concept to Help Dieters Lose 15 Pounds in Only 21 Days!

    ReplyDelete