“People don’t decide their future. They decide their habits, and it’s their habits that decide their future.”
Here’s how it goes. You are crushing your goals, life is awesome and then without realizing it, as time passes, you find you gained 30 pounds, stopped exercising consistently and are seriously discontented with the life you are living. You think to yourself: “What the heck happened?”
Welp, it didn’t just happen overnight. You didn’t wake up one day and say “Hey, I am going to stop exercising permanently, gain 30 lbs. and throw this hard work out the window!” It happens slowly, over time. Sometimes, you don’t even realize that the teeny, tiny choices you are making each day are inching you further from your goals little by little.
I heard this cool analogy on a podcast and thought to myself “Wow, this so relates to what I teach my clients about the importance of how small things done with consistency make big impacts on our lives.”
So, here it goes: If you think of a canyon, they’re formed over millions of years. Over time, wind, weather, and water slowly wear away at the surface of the earth to form canyons. If you tried to see a canyon forming, you wouldn’t see much happening. A similar activity might be watching paint dry-booorrrrring! What’s my point here? A canyon is an example of how a massive change has been made. Anyone sitting there watching for this change, wouldn’t notice a thing. In fact, maybe people are walking right by some future canyons right now and don’t even realize the change that’s occurring. Will this wind really lead to a massive hole in the ground that tourists will travel from far and wide to come visit?
Canyons didn’t just appear. They formed. They formed slowly. And they formed over time.
The smallest, tiniest, most seemingly insignificant choices actually have a bigger impact than we realize. When we skip a workout, eat unhealthy, order that Nachos Grande appetizer and Brownie Sundae for dessert and think: “Tomorrow I’ll make super healthy decisions!” take on too many responsibilities (even if they are things we like and enjoy), and don’t prioritize self-care, it’s easier than you think to find yourself standing at the bottom of a canyon that you created looking all the way up, scratching your head, and saying to yourself “Well, this wasn’t the plan.”
Of course, you don’t have to be perfect. Life will happen, we are all human after all. There will be times where you realize you overbooked yourself, didn’t plan accordingly for healthy eating or found yourself 4 episodes into a Netflix series without even realizing it.
You are on a path. You have goals for yourself. When you’re on your path, you’re making choices that align with your goals and things feel great. However, it’s easy to get distracted and slightly veer off that path. What’s important is you notice when this is happening and take charge of your life by self-correcting. We form canyons when we veer off our path but don’t take time to pause, reflect, set our sights on our goals and values, and self-correct. One skipped workout one week is no big deal. It happens. When it turns into consistently skipping a workout you had planned to do, then skipping two because; “What’s the big deal? I’m too busy, one or two less workouts won’t make a big difference.” Then before you know it, exercising can become a thing of the past. Take a pause. Notice where you are and what has you veering off the course. What is the wind or water in your life that is very slowly creating that massive change? Make a realistic plan to get back on your path and follow through. The more often you check in with yourself, the easier it will be to self-correct and get yourself on the right track.
Okay, so how can make sure we are staying the course and creating and living a life we love?
1. Set small realistic goals that support your big goals. You should be able to consistently hit these goals at least 9/10 times. If you have a goal to improve rather than maintain, challenge yourself by setting a new goal once you have been successful at reaching your previous goals for a set amount of time. Remember, be sure you are setting goals you are confident you can complete a minimum of 9/10 times. Otherwise, you NEED to scale back. Setting goals that are too big and we don’t hit consistently, leave us feeling frustrated, helpless and incapable of change.
2. If something seems to be getting in the way of your goals, figure out what that is and make a choice. Ask yourself: “Is doing “X” worth giving up “Y?”
3. Create an environment that supports your desired lifestyle. For example, if you tend to skip out on fruits and veggies because you are eating chips all day. Get the chips out of your house.
4. Get clear on your values. What is most important to you in life? How are your actions lining up with your innermost values?
5. Get support. Change is hard. We live in an over-stressed, overworked society that makes fast food, processed food and an inactive lifestyle easy. We have to work hard and be intentional to overcome these obstacles. Fill your loved ones in on your goals and ask for their support. In addition, hiring a coach can help big time. If you are struggling to reach a health goal or have found yourself following diets or exercise programs that you are on again, off again, on again, off again, I would love to help support you on your journey. I offer one-on-one coaching for health, fitness and nutrition goals. I work with clients online and locally. If you have more questions or would like to get started, reach out! You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org