It Doesn't Have To Be All Or Nothing


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Think back a few months, and remember some times that you said to yourself how easy it would be to make changes to your lifestyle if you had no other commitments and were able to focus just on yourself?

Funny how we find ourselves in pretty much that time right now.

And, actually, it seems harder than ever to make changes!

Have you found yourself lately saying that you’ll ‘get back to’ making changes after all this is over?

Which will be back to some level of the normal life and chaos that we didn’t have time to make changes during before.

I don’t think we need to have a ‘doing it’ or ‘not doing it’ setting. Improving your health and fitness doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing.

I wonder if we can come up with a different approach.

Now is a great time to think about all the things you would like to include in your life in order to get you where you want to be.

This might be eating enough protein, getting plenty of veg, drinking enough water, stopping caffeine after lunch, getting daylight in the morning, turning screens off an hour before bed, making sleep a priority…. Whatever it is, and however specific you want to be, write it down.

Let’s call this your green list. The list of things you can do when you have nothing else in particular going on, and when you are able to focus completely on yourself.

You may decide this green list is for use now, or you may decide that you’re actually not able to completely focus on yourself right now – it’s important to do what is right for you.

Now, think about times where you’re under a bit of pressure. What are the items from your green list which you could chop off without making a massive impact to the results you see? These items might be different for everyone – for example, if you find it easy to get to sleep at night, making sure to get some morning daylight might not be as important for you as it would be for someone who does struggle to get to sleep.

Once you’ve got this amber list written down, now let’s turn our attention to the absolute bare minimum attention you can get away with giving to your goals without sliding backwards. This is the list you’re going to stick to when you have little to no time or capacity to think about your goals. The result here is likely to be that you stand still during this ‘crisis mode’, but that is always going to be preferable to slipping backwards and undoing the hard work you’ve put in.

Again, the red list is going to be different for everyone. If you know that a poor night’s sleep makes it too easy to eat chocolate at 3pm, then you know that you have to guard your bedtime at all costs. If you know your digestion doesn’t deal well with stress, then you know you need to prioritise getting enough veg and water at these times.

If you don’t really have anything specific like these to deal with in times of high stress, think back to what you really wished you’d paid more attention to the last time you found yourself in a high-stress phase. Perhaps you could think about maintaining the items from your amber list which you find the most easy?

What you should have ended up with now is a priority-ordered list of important things to put in place while trying to reach your goals. You can flip between your lists depending on how life is, and how life feels, and I hope it helps you to stay on track, at least to some degree.

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