Why the "I will start tomorrow, next week, next month" doesn't work
You have to start Now!!!!!
“I’m cutting out booze on January 1st.”
“I’ll worry about getting fit after I give birth.”
“No sugar starts next month. Now give me a slice of that apple pie!”
Human beings sure do like the idea of making changes at the “perfect time.”
But is there ever a perfect time?
Let’s say you’re planning to start working out once you get back from your vacation, but then the moment you return your job gets stressful. So you tell yourself as soon as you get through a couple deadlines, you’ll start up at the gym. But then the moment work eases up, your parents come to town…And on, and on.
It’s time you stop waiting for the perfect start date to make a change. Time you stop disguising your procrastination with whatever ‘craziness’ is going on in your life, because as nice as the idea of a clean and perfect start date sounds, all delaying, postponing and pausing change does is ingrain in your mind a pause-button mentality, not to mention it teaches you that you’re only able to focus on healthy eating and fitness when things are perfect in your life. And as we all know, there’s really no such thing as a perfect time. So, this wait-for-the-best time approach ultimately just sets you up for failure in the long term.
The pause-button mentality comes from having both a perfectionist and a short-term mindset. Think about it…
We often tackle change in a very limited sense: 30 days of clean eating, or a 6-week fitness program, both of which have a clear start and end date and are short-term in nature. This short-term period of time allows us to be perfect for a little while. We slam down the gas pedal as hard as we can for a couple weeks, all the while burning rubber off our tires until we eventually crash the moment something changes in our life, such as getting busy at work, and then we get thrown off course again. This is why yo-yo dieting and inconsistent fluctuating fitness levels are so common for so many people.
This start-stop, pause-bottom, wait for the perfect time approach to health and fitness isn’t what we’re after at (INSERT YOUR GYM NAME HERE): We’re after the long-lasting change that allows you to live a healthier life most of the time. It’s not about being perfect all the time because just like people, a perfect time doesn’t exist. Instead, we want you to seize the day and make the most of the present moment. Doing this on a consistent basis will lead to a more consistent, healthy life, under your regular day-to-day imperfect conditions in life, as opposed to the rare occasion when everything is tickety-boo.
Again, we’re not looking for perfection: We’re looking for good decisions as consistently as possible!
I know, I know, it can be crazy to think about trying to improve your eating habits or beginning a new workout program if you just found out you’re pregnant or you’re in the middle of searching for a job or you’re off to Mexico next week, but it’s actually the best time because it’s REALISTIC to what life is like. If you can make changes now, you’ll be able to keep and add to those changes in the less crazy times.
Here are some tips if you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you just can’t embark on change at the moment:
Fitness: Come up with a manageable, workable plan: Maybe it means you can’t commit to 5 days a week of fitness like you would like to do in an ideal world. If one, two or three days is all you can commit to right now, then do that!
Nutrition: Make small diet changes: If it’s not realistic for you to eat perfectly right now, make a commitment you know you can handle, such as eating out just once a week or food prepping healthy dinners on Sunday, or cooking dinners five days a week instead of getting take-out.
Expect to mess up: You’re not going to be perfect. If you mess up and miss a day at the gym, get back on track. Not Monday. Not next month, but now. Messing up doesn’t mean you need a clean and perfect date to resume. That date is now.
Even if it’s not what you want in a perfect world, some change is better than waiting until April when the timing will allegedly be perfect. Because the truth is, things won’t be perfect in April either.