You have your routine down pat. Meal prep, exercise, sleep, self-care — you’re sticking to your healthy habits consistently (woo!!! *happy dance*)
But then… plot twist.
You start a new job.
Your family comes to visit or you’re out of town for a week or two.
Needless to say your normal routine has been thrown way off track and before you know it, all your hard ‘healthy habit’ work is out the window and you’re up ten pounds, sleep deprived and hangry.
I know I’m not the only one who’s gone through this.
We all know that ‘life’ happens.
But sudden or drastic change can definitely be a stress-inducing healthy habit killer. In fact, if you’re not prepared, dealing with change can reverse months of diligent effort to stay fit and a balanced in a matter of days.
So how do you stay consistent in spite of all the chaos?
Here’s four ways to make sure the stress of a major life change doesn’t throw you off your health and wellness game:
Anticipate the disruption.
Of course, not everybody has the luxury of knowing in advance when they’re about to be served a curveball.
I can hear you thinking “how am I supposed to predict everything that might derail me?”
Well….you’re right. You won’t always know.
But if you do know something is coming up, make room for it ahead of time.
Sometimes we get blindsided by the disruption to our routine even when we are expecting the change. We’re so caught up in the chaos of whatever change is happening, we forget how it will affect our daily healthy habits and schedule.
No matter what it is, if you know you’re going to have a change in your day-to-day situation it’s important to prepare mentally for it.
Don’t let the change affect your ‘WHY’
There’s a reason why you’re trying to make changes to your life.
You want to look great and feel confident in your body.
You want to have better relationships.
You want balance in your life.
You don’t want to be burnt out and exhausted all the time.
You definitely don’t want to be a slave to stress and emotional eating.
Whatever your why is, it’s what’s keeping you motivated to exercise, eat healthily, preserve your time, and take care of yourself.
But when there’s a lot going on, it’s easy to lose sight of why you started. It’s easy to brush aside your ‘why’ and tell yourself that what’s happening right now is more important.
The whole reason you started this journey was to be able to withstand the pressure of life without crumbling.
Keeping your ‘why’ front and center will help you do that.
Acknowledge that change will disrupt your usual routine
Being consistent through a disruption to your daily grind is more than just anticipating change. You also need to acknowledge the fact that your routine will be different, even if just temporarily.
You also need to acknowledge the fact that your routine will be different, even if just temporarily.
Real life example:
My husband and I were going through a move recently and took no time off our day jobs to ease the process.
For multiple nights in a row we were up past 3am cleaning, painting, schlepping what felt like hundreds of boxes– and then going to work the next day.
For some reason despite all of this, I thought that I would still be going to the gym at 6am like usual.
Obviously that did not happen.
By setting that unrealistic expectation, I became discouraged, disappointed in myself and stressed out that I had missed so many days. So much so that it messed with my motivation to start back up again.
So what should I have done instead? And what should you do?
Embrace and adapt to the temporary change, and include what you can.
Acknowledge ahead of time that some things need to be sacrificed and gauge for yourself what you need to stay healthy during this time. And don’t forget to set a date and time to pick back up again when things have settled down.
Master The Slight Edge
Unless I can get in a solid 45-minute cardio session or four rounds of heavy lifting, it’s not really a workout.
I mean if I’m not burning at least 300 calories, I may as well not bother.
Do these thoughts sound familiar?
I know, I’ve had the same ones.
But when you’re going through a stressful transition that type of thinking will do much more damage than good.
In the book The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson teaches that anything that you do, no matter how small, is going to get you closer to your goals than if you had done nothing at all.
The reason most people find it so hard to achieve long-term success (with weight loss, finances, relationships etc…) is because they underestimate the power of consistent action, no matter how small.
An ‘all or nothing’ mindset will prevent you from doing anything, and will only hold you back. So how can you apply the slight edge principle?
Here’s how I did it:
When I moved, there were very late nights and early mornings, so my regular 6am workout had to be put on hold.
Instead, I carved out little periods of time during the day to get a little bit of exercise in these ways:
- Doing quick and efficient HIIT workouts
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Going for brisk walks at lunch
Choose to be consistent with your healthy habits that you’ve spent so long building up.
Because your intentional effort is what will pay off in the long run, despite a hiccup in your regular routine.
The only thing certain about life is that it’s gonna be unpredictable. But the stress of inevitable change is not an excuse to get distracted.
And it definitely doesn’t need to ruin all the progress that you’ve made.
You can still be consistent with your habits.
You can still work towards your health, weight loss, and life goals without having a disruption throw you off completely.
Remember these four steps and you will be able to get through times of stressful change with your healthy habits intact. Want to stay one step ahead of the game?
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