5 Yes-No Questions to Investigate Obstacles
People who proactively seek health & wellness ALWAYS face hindrances. It's just an expected part of the process. If we want to keep keepin' on with healthy habits, we have to look and strategize for obstacles. When we don't, they can easily overwhelm our best intentions.
Feeling really bogged down by interferences to your personal wellness routine? Investigate obstacles with these 5 questions designed to help you forge a path into continued good health.
At the end of the day, do you find yourself listing the reasons you skipped healthy habits?
YES? If so, this points to one positive fact: You CARE enough to MAKE excuses. The problem, however, remains that this easily & obviously becomes a habit of procrastination. “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow/Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,” according to Macbeth. We ALL have reasons to avoid exercise, etc. Most people generalize these as lack of time and an over abundance of stress. But the people who “do it anyway” make progress. They also tend NOT to generalize. They know exactly what gets in their way and troubleshoot specific obstacles. So, if you’re stuck in the excuse loop, explore what really lies behind each. Having no time, for example, usually just means a workout wasn't prioritized, that perhaps you perpetually plan to do it late day, which is unfortunately the WORST time to exercise. Excuses and distractions pile up during the day, steam rolling plans to work out and leading you back to where you started—which means once again explaining away why the day's workout never happened. Biting the bullet, setting an alarm, and tackling it early lead to success in this example. Explicitly define each of the excuses that reappear daily and ENGINEER a path forward.
Are you trying to “get back to normal?”
YES? Okay, so what exactly is “normal” again??? If EVER there were a year when this idea has not applied, it’s this one. If you’re almost a year into this pandemic with all of its massive societal side effects (not to mention health distress for so many), and it still strikes you as surreal, you’re SO not alone. But honestly, perhaps in a more subtle way, life never really rolls on predictably, does it? As much as we’d all love the security of such an existence (a very human desire, by the way), ALL of life is change. Heck, aging incrementally each day probably best demonstrates the most universal way we all experience the relentless forward roll of life. People who move ahead with goals meet themselves where they are, where their lives are, TODAY. Waiting for the world to change to better suit us only delays the progress that just may lead us to feel a whole lot better.
Are you living in the past?
YES? While this seems similar to the above predicament of waiting for the future to become like the past, this particular yearning usually reaches much further back into one’s history. Many of us reminisce about our healthy peaks and long to be transported back into... prime physical shape, impressive levels of discipline, energy that seemed to raise the roof. And we don’t have to be very old to look fondly backward, since high school is often the source of these memories. Two problems—First, we often glorify the past and forget that we faced many of the same obstacles then, just disguised as other things (like homework or huge work deadlines). Second, and more to the point, there’s no going back. Even an elite athlete will tell you their body differs off-season. Recalling why you made strides back then can indeed help, though. Each of us possesses character strengths that endure. Ferret these out. Employ them to your advantage.
Do you have guilt & unreasonable expectations of yourself?
YES? Has anyone ever told you you’re a perfectionist? I feel qualified to ask, as one in recovery! We adamantly believe that striving for and expecting ONLY the absolute best from ourselves will power us forward. How’s that working, LOL?! Staying fit and well is a messy process. Injuries, illness (physical and mental), emergencies, crises, and even vacations CONSTANTLY interrupt it. If every obstacle infuriates, you’ll spin your wheels. Where do spinning wheels go? Nowhere. What do they gobble up? Energy. In other words, perfectionism exhausts and paralyzes a person. Everyone differs, but I’ve found that a few things work for me: forgiving myself (or not even having to) for things beyond my puny control, aiming for rather than demanding positive change, and trying to view the entire process more objectively. WAY more enjoyable.
Does anyone besides you share your passion for health & fitness?
NO? Find someone. If that person doesn’t live with you, they DO live somewhere. Online healthy living communities as well as professional health coaches abound. You also probably share similar pursuits with at least ONE friend or relative. I pound this theme constantly for a reason. We humans are designed to live in community. If ever there were a time to “find your tribe,” it’s now. Include a member or two who totally get your goals. You can carry each other forward.
Obstacles will ALWAYS arise. Challenge & question them with some mindful exploration. Like x-ray vision, it will help you SEE AND ADDRESS stumbling blocks. Hope these questions have helped to ignite your inner wellness investigator.