Does it really need to be all or nothing?
Updated: Apr 30, 2018
Failure is such a big roadblock in our life that decreases our motivation to change, self-confidence, self-efficacy or how we perceive our self. If we can employ good strategies to prevent these roadblocks and take light in the little successes along the way would you? Let me break this down a little further.
I think the most common roadblock in success is following the all or nothing theory? Being 100% committed to nutrition and training, or completely give up on one or both. Does this sound familiar? What happens when a ‘down day’ occurs? Is all hope given up upon?
What happens when you have a down day? Do you completely give up? Everything goes out the window? Why does it have to? Instead of completely giving up, maybe decide ok if there is a day I just am going to eat whatever you want, then you try and make sure you at least exercise, or still have a good dinner. Find a strategy to at least control some of the damage rather than it just being all or nothing.
If this happens do not feel like you have failed. We are all human and we will fail. The most common comment clients say to me is that I feel like I have failed, or failed you. Or if they do not show up for their next consultation, usually it is because they feel like they have failed themselves or myself and they do not want to admit to the failure but would rather avoid me.
However you as a person has not failed, but the strategy to keep you motivated has failed. This just means we together are going through a phase of trial and error. Not everyone is the same and trying to find the best options and strategies that fit your lifestyle, habits and eating behaviours to see change do require extra thought.
My role as a dietitian is not to be the ‘food police’, or to tell you to just eat chicken and broccoli. It is to provide strategies to guide and help my clients motivate themselves to change. This is something I know at times I myself fail in and am trying to change. I personally am learning to speak in a different language that helps motivate people to change. This takes time to change and adapt, just as eating behaviours do. Everything takes time! However for you all today as a result I have two strategies I would love everyone reading to try and employ over the next few weeks.
The first is a habit change diary. Pick one habit that you want to change, for example, decreasing caffeine intake from 6 coffees a day to 4, soft drink intake cutting from 1L a day to 600mL a day, increasing exercise from nothing to 3 days or cutting back a block of chocolate a day to half a block or a chocolate bar. On your calendar, mark only the days that you reached this goal. At the end of that week, check and see whether you had reached that goal. Say you only reduced your coffees to 5 instead of 4. That is ok, you still have reduced your intake which you should still be happy about, but for the next week, try and aim for 4 coffees instead of 5. Small steps are always better than nothing. If you did reduce it to 4, then look at reducing it to 3 and so on. Small steps and small goals are sometimes the only way to see real change. It does not have to be the all or nothing theory. It does not have to the only way we can reach our goals, because for everyone it is just not realistic. It takes a long time to break habits and increase motivation to really change. Take joy in reaching small goals!!
Which leads to my second strategy; every day for three weeks write down three blessings that occurs throughout your day which you have taken the time to appreciate. For example, you saw a beautiful sunrise or sunset and you took the time to appreciate it. You said no to a chocolate bar and you took time to appreciate yourself for making that decision, you had breakfast when you normally wouldn’t and enjoyed eating it. It can be as simple as what you want it to be. What this will do will track your gratitude and has been proven to increase your happiness and increase health. Take the time and it will pay off I promise. Three blessings every day for 3 weeks, I will also do this over the next three weeks and keep track! Who is in this with me?
I hope this helps motivate you to work on the little goals and strategies. Remember it does not need to be all or nothing, because typically a person will fail and then the motivation to change later on is even harder or more frustrating. Take small steps!!
All the best Amie