By: Kathleen Trotter
We are all only human, which means that despite our best efforts, our health often gets away from us! One missed workout and/or late-night ice-cream binge all too easily spirals into a few days, weeks, or even months of making choices that don’t serve us! I am a personal trainer — health is literally my business — and I have had to course correct many times.
The answer is to not give into the inertia of forming less-than-ideal habits. The answer is to intentionally reset our mindset and behaviors.
There is no shame in needing to reset. In fact, quite the opposite. It takes courage to acknowledge that something needs to change. Change is hard and scary, but to quote Susan David, “courage is fear walking.”
You don’t need to be “fearless” to start; you just need slightly more courage than fear. You need just enough courage to start the reset process!
How do you reset?
1. Fear “less”
Embrace that “you don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to get great!”
Lean into the fact that you will make mistakes, but that just makes you human. Decide that FEAR is a backronym for “face everything and rise” or “FAIL” is a backronym for “first attempt in learning.”
You don’t have to be confident to start. You gain confidence by doing!
2. Embrace the power of the “fresh start effect”
In psychology, the inherent motivating power of “starting something new” is often referred to as the “fresh start effect.” In short, “beginnings” have the power to motivate us. You know the feeling: “It’s my birthday; I am going to get fit” or “It’s January 1st; new year, new me.”
The problem is that the power of the fresh start only lasts so long. By January 15 or a few days into our new birth year we have forgotten about the desire for a “whole new us.” Today you learn how to leverage the “fresh start” as well as throughout your process. When you make a choice that doesn’t serve you, intentionally create a “fresh start” moment, a hinge in your health day. Make less-than-ideal choices in the morning? Make lunch your “fresh start.” Had a bad day? When you alarm goes off, say “fresh start.”
3. “Reset” your mindset
Embrace a growth mindset! Perfection is not possible. Think progress over perfection. Think consistency and perseverance.
Make your goal to trend positive, to have more healthy habits next month than you do this month. When you fall off your fitness horse (you will — you are human), learn to get back on as quickly as possible and to get back on a more informed rider.
Wobbles are an inherent part of any fitness journey! The question isn’t “did you wobble?” It is “how quickly did you course correct and what did you learn?” The key is to use all experiences as data. Think “growth mindset.”
Your health can’t be ordered on Amazon Prime. You didn’t create your current habits overnight. You won’t create your healthier habits by the end of business day. Be patient.
It is easy to state a health wish. Having the discipline to follow through is a different story. Pick a motivational word or phrase, a mantra to come back to whenever you want to stray from your health quest. Maybe “resilient” or “I can do hard things.” The next time you want to make a choice that will not serve your goals, pause and state your mantra (preferably out loud). This will allow you to pause and recommit, and make sure that your actions align with your values and goals!
About Kathleen Trotter
Kathleen Trotter, MSc is a fitness expert, media personality, personal trainer, writer, and author of Finding Your Fit: A Compassionate Trainer’s Guide to Making Fitness a Lifelong Habitand Your Fittest Future Self. Making Choices Today for a Happier, Healthier, Fitter Future You. She has spent more than eight years writing for The Globe and Mail and has written for various other publications including Impact Magazine, ParticipAction, Breathe, Alive, Canadian Running, Today’s Parent, Chatelaine, and Glow, and for six years she was the featured personal trainer in The Globe and Mail’s online Fitness Basics weekly web series and included in The Globe’s weekly newsletter for subscribers. She has been a personal trainer and fitness expert for almost twenty years. She has appeared in a variety of media outlets, including Inspire Health, Shape, and Sharp. Kathleen has an engaged audience of 15.3K followers on Instagramand 2.6K loyal Facebook followers.