Many folks feel challenged by the demands of daily life when starting a health program. It’s tempting to wait for the perfect time to lose weight and get healthier. In reality, life doesn’t pause, and neither should your health and fitness goals.

Small efforts add up over time.

Even in the best of times, fitness and health won’t be overhauled overnight! In the end, success will come from putting in the work and not giving up. The trick – if you can call it that, is finding the balance between commitment to the pursuit and self-compassion or kindness. Push just enough to continue to grow and progress, but not so hard that you fall off the wagon and feel demotivated.

“Some people are great when things are going well, but they fall apart when things aren’t”.

Angela Duckworth

How to continue making efforts toward your goals by striking a balance between commitment to the pursuit & self-compassion.

Commitment: Consider small shifts that can easily be repeated daily or on a regular basis.

There’s value in maintaining a habit. When it feels extra hard, remember that even small and scaled-back versions of your health habits are better than nothing. A 5-minute workout is better than no workout. A side salad with your burger is better than a burger with no salad or a burger with fries.

Consider how you might scale your current lifestyle and/or eating habits up OR down based on what’s going on in your life. Like the heat setting on the knob of your stove, think about how to turn things up (or down) by 1 point. No more than that at a time.

Not only are you keeping the habit intact by engaging in a scaled-back version, but you’re also telling your brain that you DO show up for yourself even when it’s tough.

Self-compassion: Being kind to yourself is true compassion. Letting yourself off the hook is not compassion.

Compassion can be practiced by refocusing our efforts inwards while accepting that it won’t be perfect.

Rather than focusing on an outcome like weight loss, which is usually out of our total control, try focusing on the process of becoming the best version of YOU. For example, what lifestyle changes could enhance your health and well-being right now, especially when you’re feeling stressed, tired or anxious? A 10-minute workout or going to bed 30 minutes earlier is an important act of self-kindness that when prioritized, deepens your resilience and strengthens your mind & body for further change. 

Seek to better understand the things that you can do consistently that contribute to YOUR long-term success. Then, no matter how difficult it becomes, you can scale your approach up or down accordingly.

Photo by Moja Msanii on Unsplash