3 Things that you DON’T want to be thinking this year!

It’s that time of year when many of us like to set some resolutions or goals, or at least refresh our mindset and change our focus. New Year is a great time to put a different perspective on things, and a fresh start can be really helpful. But there are also things that you want you avoid thinking or saying, because without you even realising it, they can also have an impact on how your year pans out and what kind of successes you achieve. To help you keep on track, in this video and blog I share 3 things that you don’t want to be thinking this year…  

1. “I haven’t got time to eat healthily, exercise and look after myself” is definitely something you do not want to be thinking this year. Of course, there will be seasons where things get a bit hectic, unplanned things come along, or circumstances change. In these times, it’s just not possible to keep all the balls in the air and look after ourselves as well as we’d like, at least for a short period of time. However, if the situation goes on for a while, you need to question whether that is that what God wants for you.

You probably know some really busy people that also seem to have found a healthy balance; they look after themselves, feed themselves well, exercise and do some self-care. It is possible to be busy and incorporate these things into your life, but sometimes you need to prioritise self-care, just as you would if you were caring for other people. Perhaps this is the year where you prioritise looking after yourself, and in doing so you will also have more energy to look after others around you.  

And don’t think that you need to find big chunks of time to exercise, or plan lots of healthy meals, or to teach yourself new recipes. Finding chinks rather than chunks of time can be just as effective: little snippets during your day where you can have a quick walk, stand up while you’re on the phone, or do some quick 5-minute kitchen exercises. You don’t have to join the gym, drive to the gym, change and shower at the gym to follow an exercise programme; there are lots of things you can do to fit some exercise in to those chinks of time you can carve out at home.

Perhaps you need to rethink the idea of fast food. Fast food is often perceived as (and often is) an unhealthier option, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Fast food could be egg and beans on toast, a piece of fish from the freezer with some roasted vegetables, or a stir-fry. So, when you go to grab something from a supermarket or even from a petrol station, can you go for those healthier fast food options or can you have them readily available at home?

It’s important to set yourself up with good systems that you can rely on when you are busy. When you’re planning meals and doing food shopping, whether you’re new to that or familiar with it, it’s a good idea to have a ‘default week’ planned out already. That way, when things get really crazy, you know that you’ve got 7 meals that are easy and relatively healthy that you can produce if you need to, or that you’ve already got in your freezer.

So, what systems can you set up now to make it easier to continue to look after yourself when things start to ramp up? We all have different responsibilities, different pressures, different seasons but everyone is given the same number of hours in the day, and with the right systems and defaults set up and in place, even really busy people can still achieve some balance.

2. Don’t think that you’re going to ‘try’ to do something. I hear so many people say ‘I’m going to try to come on Monday’ or ‘I’m going to try and go out for a run on Wednesday,’ ‘I’m going to try walking before work’. And I usually find where the word ‘try’ is being used, it means that person will put in a tiny bit of effort, but then as soon as an obstacle comes along, they’ll stop. Instead of saying you’re going to ‘try’ to do something, can you say that you ‘are’ going to do something? Can you make that commitment to yourself? Be brave and say it!  Because you’re much more likely to do it if you commit if you do.

Think in terms of who you do want to be, not who are you trying to be. For example, are you trying to be a runner, or can you just be a runner by going for a run? Are you trying to eat healthily, or can you eat healthily? Are you trying to read your Bible daily or can you read your Bible daily? What can you own and claim now that you are doing? This distinction is important because how you identify yourself greatly impacts your actions. Rather than thinking that you’re going to try to do something, think that you are going to do something.

3. Don’t think that you can’t eat / drink / watch / [insert as appropriate] something. Most commonly this thought pattern is associated with trigger foods, that send you off on a little bit of a binge, but it could be any habit that sends you into a vicious circle. At this time of year you often hear people say, ‘I’m not going to eat that’, ‘I’m not going to drink that’ or ‘I’m not going to do that’. But really you need consider 3 options for dealing with this kind of thing:

  • Either you stay in the cycle that it perpetuates, and you carry on having that food or that drink or watching the program – whatever it is for you; or
  • you never ever do it again; or
  • you learn to live with it and turn it into something that you just like eating, or you like drinking or you like doing, and that’s all the control and power it has over you.  

With the third option, this is easier said than done, but going cold turkey doesn’t really teach you much and don’t enable you to practice healthier behaviours. If you’re never going to do this thing again, then going cold turkey is fine, but if you’re planning to reintroduce it again, then stopping completely is not the best solution.

For example, if chocolate is a trigger food for you, can you practice having a small amount of chocolate each day? Perhaps have it in a controlled environment, around other people, or only when you’re out, perhaps at a cafe restaurant? Or plan to have some just before you are about to do something else. Practice including it in your daily life, but in smaller quantities and in controlled ways. And as you practice, you will trust yourself more not to binge. The key this year is to learn how to live with and manage these triggers, and in time it is possible to be free from their hold over you.

We cover this and other related topics in our 12-week Healthy Whole and Free Course; our January course is now underway, but we’ll be starting the next one in May. There’s more information on this and other courses and events here. We’d love to help you break free in this area!

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