Okay, maybe "thriving" is aiming a little high. If you're anything like me, you hate the winter. The cold, the snow, the lack of sunshine... hate, hate, hate. But I digress.
Winter is a fact of life in Ontario, and in reality the cold and dark account for the majority of our year. As tempting as it is to opt for warm blankets and hot chocolates over leaving the house for a workout, we have to consider how quickly our good habits become undone and the implication this has on our health.
Success is the summation of our daily choices. Our choices represent our habits. And humans are stubborn when it comes to changing habits.
Many of you have worked very hard to ensure you exercise regularly. You remember how much effort it was to get yourself to this place where making healthier decisions isn't as hard as it used to be. You appreciate how much stronger you are. You also appreciate how easily old habits creep back in.
With winter on its way, we need to ensure our healthy habits are strong and our goals are clear. The skies are grey, the sun is setting earlier and suddenly keeping our good habits is harder.
We need to ensure our minds are set on achieving our goals before winter talks us out of it!
So what can we do when our mood is low, the rain is falling and we just want to lie down? Give this thought process a try:
1) Ask yourself if the decision you are about to make will bring you closer to your goal or further away from your goal.
2) Ask yourself if the consequences of not achieving your goal scare you.
Note: this might sound harsh, but it's not meant to be. If we fear a consequence, that means the goal is important to us. Recognizing that we care about ourselves helps us make positive decisions
For example: I want to eat cake. This will bring me further away from my goal of maintaining a healthy blood sugar level. Not maintaining an overall healthy blood sugar increases my risk of diabetes. A diagnosis of diabetes is scary to me.
If the consequences of not achieving your goal do not scare you, then we need to set a new goal!
3) Remind yourself that deviating from your goal will make you feel good now. But so will sticking to it, plus that good feeling will carry forward.
For example: I didn't attend my workout today. I was so happy to curl up on the couch and drink hot chocolate, but the next day I was unhappy with myself for not exercising and I was not feeling my best.
I attended my workout today. I really didn't want to go but I am trying to make the best decision I can when I am presented with a choice. It took me awhile to get warmed up, but I had fun as we got into it and I was actually happy when I left. The next day I felt strong and was proud of myself for sticking to my plan.
That's it! Three questions to ask yourself before you make your final decision.
Remember that one healthy choice tends to lead to another healthy choice, which leads to another healthy choice...and you have yourself a healthy habit.
And just as quickly, one unhealthy choice can lead to another unhealthy choice and become an unhealthy habit.
Winter is coming. Let's strengthen our habits so that we come out healthier, stronger, fitter versions than when we went in.