• Amy Gorman

Choice or chore?

I’ve written a few times recently about how you speak to yourself, the image you portray within your own head and the impact on your success. Basically, if you tell yourself you’re no good often enough, guess what? You’re going to believe it!

Equally, if you tell yourself you don’t want to do things, you won't do them. Sometimes a bit of fake it til you make it is required to trick yourself into new habits and behaviours. With that, comes consistent results.

How many of your thoughts around eating well, exercising, getting to bed early, leaving work on time, and generally looking after yourself start with “I have to do this”?

What about, “I get to do this”?

Let’s be real for a second. The opportunities you have to take good care of yourself are a privilege. One that many do not have either due to time, finances or other circumstances.

Are you in a position where you feel the things you do to make you feel better - go to bed early, prepare food in advance, go to the gym, set aside time to meditate/de-stress/read - are a struggle and an obligation?

If so, let’s review them and change them.

It could be that you have a mental block around going to bed at a reasonable time.

This could sound like: “I have to go to bed now (10pm), because I have to get up at 7am, because I have to go to the gym before a day full of meetings with no break and no time to go. I never get to do anything for me, or just chill out.”

What this sounds like is:

  1. You don’t want to go to the gym, or it’s not a priority

  2. So you resent going to bed at a reasonable time to switch off and sleep well

  3. You have no control over the hours that make up most of your day at work

  4. You’re left feeling helpless

  5. You’re in a rut and something needs to change

Instead that same process could be, "OK, it's 9.30 now, I'm going to wash my face with my nice face wash and read the book I'm really enjoying. I've got a session in the morning with my gym buddies and I want to be on top form. I'm making sure I get that in before a busy day, so I've prioritised me first thing. It's a bit of a tricky day with meetings but I'll do my best to switch off in the evening and I've got some nice food ready for lunch."

Maybe over achiever, but look at the difference!

What can we change here to make it more enjoyable:

  1. Find a different gym, coach, or training programme (I can help with both of those if needed!)

  2. Train with friends - or make friends with people at your current gym

  3. Look at your environment to see what needs to be changed here

  4. The bedroom is untidy, so it makes you feel unsettled and like you’d rather not spend time there - dedicate an hour, get it tidy!

  5. The day has been too busy and you’ve not wound down yet, so you couldn’t possibly try to go to sleep - add in some mindful practice like journaling or meditation

  6. You have too many thoughts in your head that you know are going to keep you up anyway, so why bother going to bed - write a list before you go to bed so you don’t forget the things you need to do, or journal

  7. There is generally so much to do, that you must stay up longer - how much time did you spend scrolling aimlessly (Social media, text messages, junk email) and not working efficiently today? Could you cut that out?

  8. You really want to watch x movie/TV show and that’s worth feeling like crap tomorrow for - again, time management, get the work finished sooner and the movie on sooner, so you can get to bed.

  9. Block out at least 15 minutes a day to step away from the screen, fill up your water bottle and eat - this is your time in the day. If it can be more, then brilliant!

  10. Create boundaries. Do something in the morning you look forward to, and/or in the evening. Life is for living, not just inputting hours on a time sheet.

  11. We spoke about global health a few weeks ago, what is amiss in your life, and how do you change it?

5-minute timer:

  • Write down all the things you say you have to do

  • Is that really how you feel? Or are some of those get to’s?

  • How can you change the have to’s?

The more you tell your brain you want to do things, the more it will believe it and prevent you from getting into that negative head space and cycle.

One other possibility to look at: are you eating enough overall, or enough of the right things.

Often when we don’t eat enough it can leave us feeling tired, under-recovered and lethargic, then unsurprisingly not wanting to leave bed. Or, as I’ve seen in many clients, a shift in the amount of protein they eat can lead to shifts in hunger, satisfaction, drive and energy. Many times, clients have started to nail their protein intake, then let it slip from a few days or a week and messaged to say they’ve noticed how exhausted they are without it. Is that person you?

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