Fall, Self Guidelines, and Power Promises

Are you a the type to set power promises or self guidelines? This fall is a great time to consider your type. The start of the school year and coming of fall created a sense of new beginning for many. Did you jump on the train? If yes, awesome, let’s keep the momentum going. If you missed that train, here in Chicago, leaves are changing. It is the perfect time to start making healthy changes. Take yourself for a daily walk, drink an extra bottle of water, start a gratitude journal.

Fall brings a crisp-ness to the air that makes outside exercise enjoyable. The fun colors makes for happy moods, which can help in making healthy choices.  If you have difficulty breathing outside when allergens are high, now is a great time as the cool weather has arrived. Dress in layers, cover your neck/mouth as needed, and enjoy.

Not only is healthy a lifestyle, it is also a mindset. A focus on all the healthy things you get to eat. A focus on how your body is changing for the better. A focus on an increase into your mental health and well being. You are becoming stronger, both mentally and physically on your health journey. I bet you will find yourself doing all kinds of things that you didn’t think possible before you started.

Sometimes, we need to start over. Even if you have kinda been on the train, sometimes off the train lately. You may still need to start over. When your heart isn’t in it, you can talk yourself out of many a healthy choice.

Chris and Heidi Powell speak about creating a Power Promise to yourself. I really like this process probably for the same reason I resonate with Gretchen Rubin’s quote, Make your future self proud. A power promise is a commitment to yourself so easy that you can’t help but succeed. Talk about setting yourself up for success!

There is that quote about, What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? I’d like to ask you, what can you do that will make you feel great. We are talking simple here. If you currently have 6 diet cokes and a 12 oz bottle of water a day, you power promise will not be 0 diet cokes and 100 oz of water. I would say, have no more than 5 diet cokes and 18 oz of water. This way, you have succeeded, even if you have Diet Coke, even if you don’t hit the recommended amount of water.

Think about something you will commit to this week. Remember to keep it simple and to set yourself up for success. You want to set only one promise for yourself too. As many of you know, I tend to be more all in when I make changes. I am the exception to the rule, as it is harder for most people to be successful long term. The key, though, is to know yourself. I know I am not a, I walked for 10 minutes the first month and 15 the second type of person. I also know that type of person is far more common in every day life. That is why I am encouraging you to set a Power Promise.

In full disclosure, I did set guidelines for myself. When I set off on my health journey, over ten years ago, I made several rules, all at once, for twelve weeks. I chose to do 45 minutes of interval cardio six days a week. I lifted weights for an hour, five days a week. I ate every three hours. I only ate food I prepared at home, I had no alcohol. I stopped going to the gas station for bottled starbucks frappuccino. I told myself at the beginning, I would make realistic lifestyle changes after those 12 weeks were over. (Side note, I dropped 33 pounds in the first 11 weeks).

Don’t get lost in the details. I once had a friend on a weight loss journey ask me for advice. She had recently stalled in her weight loss efforts. She had been craving a late nite banana, and wanted to know if I thought it might be her culprit. In our course of conversation, I learned that she was having a banana, in a bowl of Raisin Bran with milk, in her bed, after 10 pm. It’s a total case of being focused on the wrong thing. Meals, and snacks, should be eaten while sitting at a table. No electronics, no distractions, just enjoy the process of eating and maybe some conversation. A bed should be for sleeping, not for homework or working or eating. When you create space for work, space for sleep, and space for nourishment, it makes it easier for your body to know what you are supposed to be doing in that space. The second part of the wrong focus was the food. The banana was not the unhealthy food choice. When it comes to food, whole real food will always be better than processed food. Eating a banana at the kitchen table would not of had the same mental and scale effect on her as having a bowl of cereal in bed was having.

Back to my early journey for a minute. When I said I only ate food I had made home, that was the healthier part for me. I was working in restaurants and eating there, and only once or twice a day. When I started cooking all my own meals, I’d make tuna helper. I would double the tuna. This made it healthier for me that what I had been consuming. I would make macaroni and cheese, the Kraft box kind. I would toss frozen broccoli into the pot. This was healthier for me that what I had been consuming. I was not concerned with what was the best macaroni and cheese, I wasn’t reading labels to see how much sodium was in the different kinds of tuna helpers. I was just making what was a better for me choice. Often times, you just need to get out of your own way. Don’t worry about making some Pinterest worthy, sponsored blog level perfect meal plan. Just make healthier food that you cooked last week. And eat what you make. Once you find a great for you plan, no need to keep changing the food every week, either. You got this, you can do anything once you get out of your own head.