'Where The Head Goes, The Body Follows' - Preparing Mentally for 2019

Are you ready for 2019?! The start of a New Year could be your start to a Healthy, Balanced Lifestyle. In part one of this 3-part blog, I have put together some key aspects that are the foundation to leading a healthy lifestyle. We will start with the MIND because it is important to get in the right mindset before making any dramatic lifestyle changes.

MIND

“Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.”– Ryan Holiday, Author of ‘The Obstacle is the Way’

Your mindset plays a major role when making any changes or adaptations to your life. When changing your life for the better, it’s important that you maintain a positive outlook. Always focus on why you are doing it and what you want to achieve before you tell yourself how. Many people think in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle, step one is to: get a gym membership, find a personal trainer, start running every day, and stop eating carbs. Perhaps they’re right, this may be what they must do in order to get started, however it is often short lived.

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PRIORITIES

”To change your life, you need to change your priorities.”- John C. Maxwell, Leadership Expert, Author, & Public speaker

What are your priorities? If being healthy and physically able isn’t a priority, then that gym membership you paid for is not going to be put to good use. If staying out late and partying with your friends is at the top of your priority list, then you are not going to get the most out of those personal training sessions you signed up for.

(Please understand this is not to say that you can’t enjoy nights out with your friends. It isn’t always easy to find balance between social life, work, and hobbies, but it can be achieved!)

1. What do you want to change or adapt? Work out what it is that you want to do in order to make your life healthier, then set yourself a goal based on a current weakness. This could be anything from improving upper body strength, core strength, or flexibility to drinking less alcohol, eating less fast food, or eating more vegetables.

2. How are you going to achieve that goal? Figure out a way to make you goal achievable alongside your current priorities. This will most likely involve making some changes.

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”- John C. Maxwell

3. Is your goal realistic and are you going to be able to stick to it? Don’t try to be something you are not. My least favourite quote (And if you haven’t already noticed, I love motivational quotes!) is “You can be anything you want to be.” I don’t think this is true. Your goals must be realistic and suited to you! Start with small active changes, like walking, jogging, or cycling to work. Try waking up 20 minutes earlier and completing a stretching routine or eating a wide variety of vegetables with every meal. Pick something that you feel you can achieve without putting too much pressure on your current commitments.

4. Is it going to be enjoyable? Many people make the mistake of doing things they feel are “healthy” but ultimately, they do not enjoy! For example, taking up running. People think that it is a cheap and effective way to lose weight or get fitter, which it is - if you like running! I believe that it’s counterproductive to force yourself to do things you don’t enjoy. It makes your goal unrealistic. Choose an activity or make a change you get a positive experience from. This may involve a process of elimination in order to find out what you do or don’t enjoy. Stick with it! 

However, I also believe that it is important to try things more than once. Sometimes the reason you don’t like something is because you may not be very good at it, but after a few tries you start to see some improvements. Then you may well start to enjoy it a little more!

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” - Albert Einstein

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MINIMISING STRESS:

Too much stress can wear you down and make you sick, both physically and mentally. This is not going to help you achieve a Healthy, Balanced Lifestyle. Here are my favourite 5 tips to minimise stress:

  1. AVOID CAFFEINE, ALCOHOL, & NICOTINE

  2. .INDULGE IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

  3. GET MORE SLEEP & REST IF YOU FEEL ILL

  4. MANAGE YOUR TIME & LEARN TO SAY “NO.”

  5. .TAKE CONTROL

AVOID Caffeine, ALCOHOL, & NICOTINE.

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants so they will increase your level of stress rather than decrease it. Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities, which may seem like it will decrease your stress, but it actually stresses your body out even more.

INDULGE IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Exercise, or any physical activity, can be used as a surrogate to metabolize excessive stress hormones and restore your body and mind to a clearer and calmer state.

GET MORE SLEEP & REST IF YOU FEEL ILL

A lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress and sometimes our body needs to rest if it is trying to fight germs. Stay in tune and listen to your body.

MANAGE YOUR TIME & LEARN TO SAY “NO.”

Accept that you cannot do everything at once and start to prioritise your tasks. Too much to do with too little time? Learn to say no to additional or unimportant tasks.

TAKE CONTROL

Learning how to find solutions to your problems will help you feel more in control, lowering your stress levels.

To read more about how you can reduce stress take a look at the Skills You Need website

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TIME MANAGEMENT

Another important part of preparing yourself mentally for physical activity is time management. Make sure you prioritise and set aside time for your activities every day. For example, in order to get results and make noticeable changes, you must train 3-4 times a week. This could be three gym days and one run or bike ride! In order to do this, you must make exercise a priority in your weekly schedule. “I don’t have time,” is my least favourite excuse because that’s exactly what it is. If something is a priority, then you can find time. If this means getting up an hour earlier in the morning to fit in a gym session, or skipping the après after skiing, perhaps these are some sacrifices you need to make. Remember, hard work gets great results! 

Not only will increased activity improve your fitness, people tend to start exercising more regularly because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. Here are a few benefits of exercise on your mental health:

  • MORE ENERGY DURING THE DAY & BETTER SLEEP AT NIGHT.

  • RELEASES ENDORPHINS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD.

  • RELIEVES TENSION & STRESS IN THE BODY.

  • HIGHER SELF ESTEEM.

  • IMPROVES MOTIVATION, MEMORY, & MOOD.

  • PROMOTES POSITIVE CHANGES IN THE BRAIN: 

    • Neural Growth

    • Reduced Inflammation

    • New Activity Patterns that Promote Feelings of Calm and Well-Being

  • BOOSTS PHYSICAL & MENTAL ENERGY.

And the list goes on! Take a look at the Help Guide website to find out more about the mental health benefits of exercise.

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm

Whilst your BODY is a key component of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, you must be able get your mind there first. Get your MIND prepared this New Year by following some of these tips and techniques so you can make your fitness journey far more enjoyable and successful! Keep an eye out for part 2 of my 3-part blog on MIND, BODY & SOUL.

Yours in Health,

Robyn Carney

Personal Trainer - robyn@whistlergym.com | @robyncarneypersonalytrainer | 604.932.1984