With four months left in 2015 to get organized, it’s time to focus on what we need to start doing. Right? Exercise more, eating better, and focussing on our goals comes to mind.
But, what we should stop doing…?
Here are three things to stop doing to make the most of the last quarter of the year.
* * *
First: Stop bankrupting our bodies.
Time is not the currency for our bodies. The currency for the body is energy:
- What we put in our bodies (energy from food).
- How we move our bodies (energy from exercise).
- How we allow our bodies to recover (energy that comes from re-fuelling our tanks with rest).
If we don’t manage our energy to create balance with nutrient rich food, intelligent, purposeful exercise and thoughtful periods of recovery, we end up bankrupt. Loaded with aches and pains, anxiety and depression, bad skin, excess or not enough body fat, sleepless, sexless nights and unbearably long days, bankrupt bodies leave us feeling empty. Bankrupt bodies can’t heal themselves and are often full of medications.
As adults, we are in charge of our health. Period. In order to reach our goals, we need to stop bankrupting our bodies and therefore, our minds and our spirits. Here’s how:
Stop Doing #1: Blaming others for the state of our health.
No one is shovelling junk food into our mouths and we’re not forced to suck down cola (diet or otherwise) intravenously. What we eat and drink is up to us. We put the food into our carts; we order meals off menus. And, as caretakers, what the people we live with eat is up to us too. We buy the food. If we’re paying attention, hopefully, we have more in our fridges than the pantries. Pantries have food that does not rot; fridges are full of food that rots. We want to eat more food that rots than does not.
If we are stuck on the not-so-magical-misery-tour of what, when or why to eat, we can learn. At any age. In my experience as a nutrition coach, everything gets better when our food gets better.
Have you heard the one that no one can do our push-ups for us? It’s true. Our bodies don’t care if
- our spouse isn’t on board with our new exercise routine,
- we are not the athletes we once were, or
- that we work too much.
By design, our bodies need to move daily. And not just for an hour of yoga, a 45 minute run or a punishing, high intensity interval training session.
We must move more. This won’t happen by accident. To make more movement happen, most of us need to make appointments with ourselves and keep them. This might mean signing up for exercise classes, or setting our timer at our desks and getting up to stretch every 20 minutes. It could mean walking with our co-workers at lunch hour or after dinner with our partner.
It could mean walking by ourselves…
Our bodies need to rest. Working out every day is an example of ignorance on fire or, possibly, some sort of exercise addiction.
Without question, most of us need to move more daily. But, unless we are going to the Olympics and we have a team of therapists (both physical and mental), coaches, and chefs, training hard every day is dumb. If we ignore the bodies need for recovery, we’ll do one of three things:
- We’ll succumb to bitterness burn out.
- We’ll get injured.
- We’ll give up and quit altogether.
Down time won’t happen unless we schedule it. And, practise it. That’s right, if we’re type A or naturally high energy people, we need to practise relaxing. And we need to teach our kids that it is OK to relax.
Re-fuelling is not lazy—it’s smart and it’s crucial.
Again, the key here is energy management to create a balance. Think Goldilocks theory—not too much of anything, just right and subject to change.
If you need help, ask for it.
Stop Doing #2: Being surprised(!) by change.
Did you read the part above about being subject to change? I recently read a great article by Rob Hatch and in it he said this:
It really is remarkable how we let ourselves be surprised by certain changes.
Such a simple statement…The heatwave eventually ends, school starts, the snow piles up, the house gets dirty and we run out of fresh vegetables. And, we age a bit more—every day.
I think people who age the most gracefully are the ones who embrace change. At Custom Fit (and personally), I am borrowing a concept from Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism (which I highly recommend). My new mantra is:
Less but better.
Practicing less but better helps us enjoy and manage change proactively. Again, think about the Goldilocks theory to find the answer(s) to less but better.
Stop Doing #3: Succumbing to the vomitous, mind-chatter of our excuses.
Our excuses are not helping us. And, aren’t they boring? I spent some time re-reading old journals on my holidays this summer. Wow. My excuses left me living life backwards for too long. They left me stagnant and stale.
For me, the shift to move forward happened when I started practising something that might seem counterintuitive:
Many of us are not actually completely still unless we are asleep. (Watching T.V. does not count!)
Think about that for a moment…
The conscious practice of stillness is powerful stuff. The quiet that comes with stillness helps us to hear our thoughts (and to dream up new ones) to move forward. Stillness, and the silence that comes with it, turn the volume down on our excuses. Being still—not moving or doing all the time—helped me to get clear on what I wanted. The first thing I realized I wanted was not more doing!
For me this meant:
- getting up earlier (which meant going to bed earlier)
- learning to meditate
- practicing yin yoga
What a relief!
Last week, I wrote about how through chaos comes clarity. As as society, we are busier than ever. And, we’re sicker, fatter and more wasted than ever before too. Perhaps if we consider the less but better concept and make a stop doing list, we can be more productive and lead more fulfilled and happier lives.
What do you think? Is there anything that you need to stop doing to finish strong in 2015?
On Thursday nights at Custom Fit, we practise stillness together in our Yin yoga class. The class remains a CF favourite and anyone is welcome to join us.