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I’m going to let you in on a little secret about myself. I’m pretty shy and I tend to be quite introverted. If you met me in person, you wouldn’t know it because I’m not a wallflower. I’m tall, I present myself well and I’m pretty good at making conversation, but what you won’t know from looking at me, is that the process of small talk and meeting new people is quite exhausting for me.
Now, what I just told you 100% true, but not because that’s who I am. It’s true because that’s what I tell myself that I am.
This is a common thing that so many people struggle with, especially as they start their journey to better health and fitness. It’s true that creating new healthy habits in your life can be awkward and uncomfortable at first, especially if you don’t identify as a “healthy person”. It takes time to adopt a new image of yourself, just like it takes time to make better food choices or workout regularly, but here’s what – it get’s easier.
A new identity is like new habits or behaviors that become so natural over time that we don’t think about them anymore. If you’re frustrated by constantly having to remind yourself to make better food choices, or feeling compelled to update My Fitness Pal every time you eat something, yeah, rest assured it will be a pain in the ass for a little while, but not forever.
Soon you’ll know the right choices to make, naturally. Soon you’ll know what your caloric intake is without giving it much thought because you spent the last several weeks paying attention to it, and now you’ve got a grasp of what to expect. And crazy as it may sound, eventually you will start to see yourself as someone who appreciates a good workout and you’ll start to feel out of sorts when you can’t get your sweat on. Yes, this will happen to you, too.
The best thing you can do to set yourself up on a path to success when embarking on a new fitness and health path is to get your mindset right. Acknowledge that it will be hard, and there will be moments that suck, but it won’t be hard forever. Also, know that you won’t be perfect (fact of life), but that doesn’t mean you pack in all your good efforts the first time you take a nose dive into some junk food.
Self-sabotaging identities vs unhelpful behaviors
Most importantly, be honest with yourself and consider if you’re telling yourself self-sabotaging stories about who you are and imposing limitations on yourself based on some unhelpful behaviors that can be changed. If you’re always saying “I’m so fat because I eat crappy food” or “I hate to exercise” or “I’m too inflexible to do yoga”, then guess what, you’re going to be right.Your body hears what comes out of your mouth, so chose your words mindfully. Click To Tweet
Maybe it’s time to rewrite that story and claim an identity that is more suited to the person you WANT to be. As I mentioned, I’m always feeling bad for not making a greater effort in my social life. I self-sabotage by calling myself an introvert and opt to stay home rather than getting out there and meeting new people. What I should be saying is that even though I love being a homebody, I also love to grow, learn and connect with awesome people that inspire me. I’m very selective with my time, but I also make an effort to get out to new events in my industry at least twice a month. And then I should do just that.
So consider what you’re telling yourself that’s holding you back, and reframe. Then give yourself a wide berth as you change in a new and positive direction, expect a little discomfort, and commit to staying the course, because your quality of life depends on it.