For the past year and a half, I have really been struggling health-wise. I know I’ve written about it a lot, but what can I say? It literally took over my life. Thoughts, worries, apprehensions, and fears about my health consumed me. It’s all I could think about it, and while a lot of my concerns were valid, I now realize that I let it go too far. Now, as I’m working to find my footing and rebuild what I have lost, I realize how much of an impact my mindset has had on me and my progress. Even though I acknowledge it, it’s a tough habit to break. I keep telling myself that I am healing and that I no longer need to live in the shadow of my illness, but it’s tough. It’s hard work. It’s scary.

It’s times like these that make me miss my old mentors and coaches. They know me, know what I’ve been through, and know what I’m capable of. Although the coaches I know here are great, the same bond does not exist. Perhaps it will in time, but I need something to happen, something to change, something to push me RIGHT NOW. Given that I’m still building my support system here, I have realized that I’m going to have to do this for myself.

It’s strange, you know. I have people who come to me to train them. When I coach them, my advice is solid, my enthusiasm is genuine, and the plans I set forth will help them reach their goals. Why is it that I can do this for others but not as easily do it for myself? There really is no reason. I just have to stop hiding behind excuses and fear and start doing the work. Putting in the time and effort and actually doing the work.

So, I sat down last night and tried to think, if I was my own client, what would I tell them to do? How would I set them up with a plan towards success? How could I get through to them and make them realize that they can do this; it’s just about adjusting my perspective and my attitude.

I came up with several different strategies, which I’ll be covering in a series of posts. Here are my first 5 working points:

  1. Create a realistic, sustainable routine – and STICK TO IT. [Not having my workout penned into my schedule was really throwing me off. Now I’ve included my exercise and mobilization/stretching time each day. I’ve also scheduled in my sleep and days/time for rest. Now I need to stick to it!]
  2. Approach your new routine with a sense of CURIOSITY and ADVENTURE. [I have spent too much time feeling forlorn about my loss of strength and overall fitness. Enough. My new attitude going forward is: I can’t wait to see what I’m going to accomplish today! Even saying that makes me sit up straighter and smile. Life is an adventure – let’s have fun!]
  3. Keep it SIMPLE. [I’ve got a mega busy couple of months coming up. I need to stick with just the basics for now. It may not be that exciting, but I know I’ll feel better sticking to a simple plan than feeling frustrated if I haven’t been able to follow through at all.]
  4. Take setbacks in stride and KEEP MOVING FORWARD. [This will be the biggest challenge. The ups and downs come and go. I just need to remind myself (and maybe reread this post from time to time) that as long as I keep trying, I’m doing well.]
  5. Make yourself a PRIORITY. [I’ve started journaling again to help me refocus on myself and all the things that I want to achieve – and how that in turn will have a positive impact on my life and on those around me. I’ve spent enough time feeling out of sync; it’s time to realign my actions to help me reach my goals.]

take time to make yourself a priority and write down your goals + strategies on how to reach them

As I work on these for myself, I can’t help but link it to the Whole Life Challenge and the support I hope to provide to my team. So here are the 5 points again, with notes on how to make them apply to the WLC.

#1 Create a realistic, sustainable routine – and STICK TO IT.

The Whole Life Challenge is 8 weeks long. If you look at it as trying something new for 8-weeks, after which you’ll go back to your usual habits, then it can sometimes be hard to keep focus through the whole challenge. I’ve found that if you look at the WLC as a launching point for lifestyle changes that you want to make and sustain even after the challenge is over, then you will see it as more of an investment in yourself – in your life, your health, and your overall wellbeing. Therefore, think about the start of the WLC as a start of a new phase in your life. From here on out, things will change. Things will be different. How much will they change? That’s up to you. The most important thing is to be realistic. If you have a busy schedule and know you can only make it to the gym 3 times a week, then schedule in those 3 days, don’t miss them, and make sure your workouts count. What about the other 4 days? Think about what you can reasonably do. Can you wake up 15 minutes earlier and do an EMOM workout? Can you go for a brisk walk during your lunch break? Can you fit in something fun and active to include your family/friends over the weekend? Look at your overall life and create something that will work for you – that’s effective and enjoyable. I could go on about this topic for all the other elements of the WLC, but I’ll leave it here for now. If you want to chat more about how to create your WLC routine, join the Worldwide Warriors where I’ll continue to post helpful tips or get in touch by email.

#2 Approach your new routine with a sense of CURIOSITY and ADVENTURE.

For me, attitude and perspective are everything. If you look at the WLC with fear and apprehension and worries about failure, then that mindset will weigh you down. If, however, you look at the challenge with curiosity and adventure, then it is usually accompanied by a sense of excitement. Instead of ‘oh no, I can’t have milk’, think – I can’t wait to try X instead! Simply rephrasing your words, and thereby reshaping your vision, can help. A sense of curiosity and adventure opens up the door to possibilities instead of obstacles.

#3 Keep it SIMPLE.

I’m a planner and a list-maker. I love brainstorming and coming up with detailed plans about how I’m going to execute something. Whether it’s a new recipe I want to try, a new workout routine, or an attempt to de-clutter my space – there’s a plan involved. If I’m honest with myself, however, those plans, no matter how well-intentioned, aren’t always followed through. Instead, I realize that even though I really, really want to cook this elaborate, scrumptious sounding 25-step dish, I don’t have the time or energy. This leads to feeling defeated … which leads to feelings of frustration … which can lead to just wanting to give it all up entirely. While detailed planning and experimentation still have their place in my life, when it comes to the WLC, simple is sustainable. Breakfasts – keep them easy to prepare and tasty. Lunches – figure out something you can prepare in advance so that you don’t need to worry about it during the week. Dinner – instead of searching for a recipe and then trying to get all the ingredients, work backwards and think of the ingredients and then come up with a recipe. This point in particular is super important. It is SO easy to get lost among Internet search pages and Pinterest boards, hoarding pins with the best of intentions to try them all. This can take hours of your day and often lead to more preparation and planning that actually necessary. Instead, if you think to yourself – dinner = protein + cooked veg + raw salad – then you just need to fill in the blanks. For example, salmon + steamed broccoli and baked sweet potato + cucumber, tomato, red onion, and avocado salad (extras: extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and garlic). Then you’re done. Are there more amazing, fabulous salmon dishes out there – YES! Do you need to follow one of them to get out a filling, nutritious dinner? NO! So, think about your time and your taste and keep it simple. Again, if meal planning is something you’d like to talk about further, get in touch!

#4 Take setbacks in stride and KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

I have recently been struggling since I’ve been recovering from surgery. In fact, I’ve been struggling for longer since I haven’t been well for over a year now so I’ve faced many, many setbacks. I’m here to tell you (and remind myself) that setbacks are ok. One misstep does not mean failure. Not scoring ‘perfectly’ does not mean you didn’t do a good job or that it’s not worth trying again. If you keep trying, then you have not failed … this is really important. No matter what, keep making an effort. You are worth it. Which leads me to my final point …

#5 Make yourself a PRIORITY.

Around two weeks ago I found myself in an incredibly bad mood for many reasons. A lot of things were going on in my life that were stressing me out; on top of that, I had a list of things to do that looked endless – and not everything on it had to do with me/my needs. That when I realized that I needed to stop feeling so disgruntled and put myself first. What were things that I needed to do? What were things that would make me happy? Did the list of things to do disappear? No. However, when I paused to take care of my own needs first, I felt a lot better, which meant that I had a more positive attitude as I approached all the other tasks. When you are making changes, it can be difficult if those around you are not on board (for whatever reason). However, you need to believe in yourself. You have made the choice to invest in yourself for 8 weeks. You are worth it and you deserve it. Prepare your food the way you want it, get your workout in when it suits you, go to bed when you’re ready instead of waiting for someone else/some other reason. You’ll see that as you put your foot down and show that you are determined to make changes, the support will follow. This doesn’t mean you have to be neglectful or hurtful to others. You’re just putting yourself first – that’s not a bad thing at all. Will it always work? No, not always … but it might sometimes – and that sometimes just might be what you need.

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If you’re interested in doing the Whole Life Challenge but aren’t sure what it involves, check out this post. If you haven’t already joined the Worldwide Warriors, you can sign up for my team via this link – spaces are limited, so don’t wait!