It’s been a while since I’ve felt this excited about starting a round of the Whole Life Challenge. I’ve always enjoyed it, but I wasn’t in the right headspace during the last couple of challenges. I had too many big changes going on around me to thoroughly enjoy what I was doing. I will say, however, that despite the chaos that was happening in my life, being on the WLC allowed me to still make time for my health – which I think is how I remained sane during those stressful months.
In any case, here I am, in a new country (well, not new new … I used to live here before) and I feel like I’m starting fresh. I’m in a new house with a new job and a new routine. Most importantly, I have a renewed sense of determination as I start this new chapter of my life.
Of course starting things from scratch can also be scary. I do like my routine and I am definitely a creature of habit; however, I have found the adage life begins at the end of your comfort zone to be true. So I am taking all this newness, combining it with my determination, and starting yet another Whole Life Challenge.
I am also coupling this attitude with one main word that is my anchor for this year and in particular for this challenge — POSITIVITY.
After being faced with so many opportunities to wallow in frustration, sadness, and complacency, I really want to turn it all around and view everything I do, think, and feel through a lens of positivity. This is not to say that I will just gloss over reality. Rather, I want to be able to honestly and almost aggressively face reality all with the mindset of – this is my life and I am excited to make it better. It is with that excitement and positive mindset that I am starting this challenge and leading my team, the Worldwide Warriors.
Mindset really is a crucial component of this challenge and perhaps it isn’t always explicitly considered because we aren’t scored on our mindset. We are only scored on whether or not we fulfilled the components of the challenge that day. While you can expand upon your mindset in your reflection (which I think is a great idea), we don’t actually have to note down whether we completed our exercise for the day enthusiastically or grudgingly. Did meal prep and sticking to the nutrition guidelines feel like a chore or actually feel empowering, knowing that you’re taking charge of your life? Were you annoyed about getting in your water or did you accept and understand that even though drinking water through the day is difficult, it is incredibly beneficial?
After doing the challenge several times, I have come to realize that it’s the change in attitude that makes all the difference. If you go through the WLC and you focus just on your day-to-day actions without thinking about your attitude and relationship with yourself, your family, your body, and your habits, then it will be difficult to make sustainable changes. It will also be more difficult to ‘get back on track’ if you ever veer off course. On that note, I’d like to share a few thoughts about each aspect of the challenge in relation to mindset.
Nutrition: The biggest and most important lesson I learned about nutrition (particularly when it comes to scoring) is that it is not about being perfect. If you can score perfectly in the nutrition category during the 6 weeks of the challenge, then that is awesome. However, if you have a few days when things just don’t come together or you don’t even manage to score more than a 1 on most days, that’s ok. Really, it’s ok. I’m not suggesting you skip the nutrition aspect of the challenge at all or don’t even try. I’m just saying, keep things in perspective. Success comes in so many shapes and forms. Sometimes being able to have 2 slices of pizza instead of 4 is a win; having dessert 4 nights a week instead of 7 is a win; cutting down to drinking only 1 soda per day instead of 3 is a win. None of these actions will score you points on the WLC, but they definitely count in terms of making improvements to your lifestyle. My suggestion: Write down these successes in your reflections or in a journal. It is important for you to realize that every effort you make is significant. If you are genuinely trying, then you are succeeding. Oh, and one more thing – please don’t use the word failure. It’s such a harsh judgment of self. If you scored a 0 on a day (or several days) you aren’t failing; things just aren’t going the way you’d like them. Learn from your experience and try again. You only fail if you stop trying and give up. Don’t give up. [Here’s a link to a very short article on having a positive mindset in relation to eating well.] Nutrition mindset mantras: I will do my best every single day. One unhealthy choice does not equal a day of unhealthy choices. I understand that eating well is a form of both self-care and self-love. Other people cannot guilt me into making choices I do not want to make. I am in control.
Exercise: Movement is important. There are no two ways about it. During the WLC, you will be asked to answer yes or no to whether or not you met the 10-minute minimum requirement of intentional exercise for the day. After exercising for 10 consecutive days, you will earn a rest day token (which you do not have to use). There are many ways to approach this daily requirement. You could think that you’re too busy to exercise every single day; you could think that exercising for only 10 minutes a day won’t make much difference so why bother; you could think that you do 3 intense 1-hour workouts a week so why force yourself to workout for 10 minutes on the other days? These are all valid questions, but I’d like to ask you a few in turn. Do you think you can carve out 10 minutes a day for yourself to get in some intentional movement? If not, do you really want to have a routine that does not allow you to take even 10 minutes of time for yourself? Is there anything you can do to free up your time so that you can schedule in self-care? Do you see self-care as an essential part of your life/routine? Do you want to exercise regularly in order to improve your daily health?
I invite you to adopt this mindset: You deserve a strong, healthy body. You are worth taking time for yourself. If you take care of yourself, you will be able to give a happier, healthier self to those around you. Instead of thinking of it as only 10 minutes not making any difference, remind yourself that every bit of movement counts. Also, make an intention to really push yourself during those 10 minutes since it’s not a very long period of time. If you do intense workouts a few times a week and you do not want to force yourself to workout on other days of the week, then don’t. You know your body best. You know what your goals are and what you want to achieve. Do not feel anchored by a set of guidelines set by somebody else. Do challenge yourself, but in the end, do what’s best for you and don’t feel guilty about it. Do, however, reflect honestly about your choices — did the choice you make today help you work towards your goals or towards better overall health? [Not sure what to do? Check out my post on 10 minute EMOMs. They’re perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time and they are effective enough to burn off calories and get you sweating. No equipment required!] Exercise mindset mantras: I deserve a strong, healthy body. I am worth taking the time to make myself a priority. I am capable of great things.
Mobility: Year after year I have seen most participants struggle with mobility. More often than not it is because they forget to do it, and I think that is partially because they’re not sure what it is or what to do to get mobility practice in. The WLC will be putting out weekly videos that you can follow along with throughout the challenge. You can also read this blog post of mine that talks about mobility and has a few links to some simple exercises. Many people do yoga for their mobility exercises, and while that is perfectly acceptable, I’ve found that doing mobility exercises before yoga actually improves my practice! In any case, regardless of when, why, or what you do for mobility, the important thing is to do it and do it daily. There’s a reason why there are no rest day tokens for mobility — it’s that important.
The mindset behind regular mobility practice is really about establishing a habit. The actual practice itself is not difficult or strenuous. You can do tricep, calf, and hamstring mobility movements all while watching TV. You don’t need any equipment or much space. All you need is a determined attitude. Mobility mindset mantras: Regular mobility practice will help me feel better and move with more ease. I want to take ten minutes to wind down from each day or set up each day feeling stretched and relaxed. Establishing a practice now may take conscious effort, but if I make it a priority and practice it daily, it will become easier. I have an active choice – I will either do it or I won’t and I will have to accept the end result. I can do anything I set my mind to.
Sleep: When I first started the WLC, I was an insomniac. I had literally suffered from decades of sleepless nights. It was giving me anxiety and stressing me out. I am still surprised, to this day, at how my sleep habits have completely turned around. I sleep so soundly now and I know that it is a result of a combination of things: exercise, better food, and making it a priority. A pivotal practice for me was setting up morning rituals and bedtime routines. (Here’s another link to a post I wrote about sleep and the WLC.) Before the practice, however, came the mindset. Sleep mindset mantras: I am willing to allow myself to enjoy a restful night of sleep. Even if I have worries, for right now, I will let them go because I cannot do anything about them at the moment; instead, I will sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day. I realize that getting a good night’s sleep will help me be more productive and more present during the day, which is something I want. While my world is filled with people, things, and memories I love, my time to sleep is specifically set for me and I want to take those hours for myself because I need them, I want them, and I deserve them.
Water: There’s really no other way to put this — you need to drink water. Regardless of what other beverages you consume, water is really, really important. You don’t need to consume gallons of water a day, but you should be drinking enough to help your body work efficiently and healthily. (For some tips on how to drink more water, check out this post of mine.) Aside from practical tips, there is, of course, your mindset. Water mindset mantras: Don’t think about the negatives (don’t like the taste, don’t want to keep going to the bathroom, don’t feel thirsty) and instead think of all the advantages of drinking water. Go ahead, look it up! It’s all over the Internet. Instead, put a positive spin on it. I want to drink more water because I know it will help me eliminate toxins from my body and allow it to function better. I should not be so busy with or detached from my day that I forget to do something as simple as drinking water, which I know has incredible health advantages. Before I eat or drink anything, I will drink some water. I want to feel refreshed, and I know drinking water will help me feel better.
Well-being: Each week the WLC will give you a new lifestyle practice to try out. I encourage you to approach these practices with a sense of curiosity and adventure. The practices have been designed solely with improving your health in mind, so even if it’s something that is totally foreign to you, try it. You never know what you will discover. Allow yourself to be open to new experiences and treat yourself to moments of peace and reflection. Life is amazing (yes, both the good and bad elements of it), take time to cherish it. Well-being mindset mantras: I am ready to embrace a change and a challenge. I am excited to make my well-being a priority. I love that good health is not just about eating right and exercise, but it’s also about connection, care, and communication, and I am sure these well-being tasks will help me put those practices into action.
Reflections: Well, my whole post really is about reflecting on your WLC practices and how they benefit you. I think one important thing to keep in mind is that this is a personal journey. Do not compare yourself with others in a way that negatively affects you (if other people’s progress inspires you to push harder and do better, then that’s awesome! Use it as fuel to your fire). While it is good to have an overall plan and prepare in advance, take each day as it comes. Enjoy the process. Reflection mindset mantras: Today I showed up and I tried, and that’s a big win. I will end each day feeling grateful for what I accomplished and feeling determined about what I will do next. I understand that if nothing changes, then nothing changes, so I am willing to learn from my actions and keep evolving.
Overall WLC Mindset Mantras: I signed up for a challenge to take steps towards living a healthier, happier life, and that is awesome. I realize that I am surrounded by a community who understands the struggles and the triumphs so I am not in this alone. I accept that the concept of ‘perfect’ varies from day to day so I will not be harsh on myself. Instead, I will be honest about my effort and always end the day acknowledging my accomplishments and setting a plan for improvements over the upcoming days.
While my main goal of this round of the WLC is to get through my days and practices with an attitude of positivity, I also do have a few specific goals. My health issues last year and of course the international move really affected my overall physical fitness and weight and I want to get a control of that now. A lot of the variables of the past year have now gone and even though my health issues haven’t completely resolved, I have a better handle on where I’m at right now and I believe that will help me move forward. I have set some specific targets for myself; I’m hoping that I can develop them into established practices by the end of these six weeks.
write your goals down, set up a plan, do your best
Still looking for a team to join? I’d love to have you as part of the Worldwide Warriors! You can join us by either following this link or clicking on the icon below.