As we barrel headfirst into a new year, I’m always inspired by the energy people have around creating new goals - the excitement of possibility and the hope for something new. However, the sad fact is that these goals often fade after a few short weeks. According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February. The excitement and eagerness of the new is quickly tempered by the bland comfort of the routines that we’ve established for ourselves - especially if those routines are not healthy. People get stuck.
As a Professional Health & Nutrition Coach, I am fueled by helping people get “unstuck” in a loving, nurturing, and healthy way that lasts. To do this, I’ve developed what I call the “three pillars of life”. I live and coach by these guidelines every single day, and I’m happy to share them with you now.
1. Manage your mind.
2. Nourish your body, mind and soul.
3. Move your body.
1. MANAGE YOUR MIND
All action starts with your mind. Nothing can be thought, said or done unless our mind tells us to do so. Our minds are the most powerful tool we own, but when left to its own accord, the mind will run wild like an unsupervised toddler. Its main purpose is to keep us safe through familiarity. Anything new or different can be perceived as a “threat” and we create stories to rationalize falling back into routine. You know what I mean - the incessant chatter of words and thoughts in our head like “You won’t be able to stick to this diet anyway, so give it up now.” or “You have always hated to work out, let’s skip this class.” So much of it is negative, fearful, or self-defeating. These stories only serve to keep us in the same safe pattern that we are already in, day after day. Stuck.
Here’s the good news: through awareness, reframing and practice we can use the routines of the mind to our advantage. We can change our thoughts, which in turn changes our behaviors! So if you want out of the hamster wheel and onto a new path, one that leads you to a mind working in your favor and results that are lasting, then start with your thoughts.
2. NOURISH YOURSELF
When I speak of nourishment, most people automatically assume I’m talking about food. Food is one foundation of life, but there are many ways to nourish ourselves without taking a single bite.
Nourishment comes in all forms and is unique to each person. When we nourish ourselves from multiple angles, our entire being begins to thrive. We naturally treat ourselves better and feed ourselves from a place of kindness rather than restriction. We move our bodies lovingly rather than as a punishment for what we ate. We stimulate our soul through our individual practices of spirituality, education, rest and receiving from others.
Finding the right combination and balance for your particular needs will take trial and error. Each day presents new challenges that must be addressed, so staying flexible while being steadily committed to nourishing yourself is key.
My advice: if this is a new concept for you, start small. I call them “1-degree shifts”. Pick one small agreement (like not putting sugar in your coffee or reading one chapter of a book each week) and focus solely on that. Give it attention, time and energy and when it’s become your new habit, pick another. Remember, what you appreciate, appreciates!
3. MOVE YOUR BODY
The final pillar of health is to move your body. There are countless important health benefits to exercise. Unfortunately, what I see all too often is exercise coming from a place of fear. Fear of gaining weight. Fear of not fitting into your clothes. Fear of being judged for how you look. Fear of not being strong, fast or lean. When we move from a place of fear, we are not honoring ourselves, we are harming ourselves. This is where injury, burnout, resentment, and reinforcement of negative thought patterns occur. Remember, the mind creates thoughts, and thoughts create our actions. If we view movement negatively, associate it with fear, and hate every minute of it, we can’t possibly be in state of positivity and self-promotion. Quite frankly, this sucks!
I spent years - and I mean YEARS - punishing my body until one day it was just done. Adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, low thyroid and mental exhaustion forced me to slow down. It was over the course of a year that I had to reevaluate and manage my mind around movement. Now it’s called just that – movement. Exercise can feel like a chore, but movement is a gift.
So I encourage you to spend some time with your thoughts around this. Why do you workout the way you do? Are these your beliefs or someone else’s? Were they given to you or did you create them? Are they serving you or holding you back? Once you have a clear picture of what YOU believe, find movement that enlivens you! Something you look forward to and feel energized after – regardless of what the latest craze is out there. People are judging you anyway so you might as well do what you love no matter what others say! Move with love, appreciation, confidence and enjoyment from the heart, and move often!
In conclusion, don’t stop making New Year’s goals for yourself. Just be aware that making changes to your routine is hard. To stick with it, you’ll need to tap into the inner strength that drives you from within – to seek out a stronger, healthier, more confident version of self. Each time we take a tiny step into the unknown, we are growing taller, stronger, more assured. Don’t lose sight of your goals. Don’t forget the three pillars of health to help you get unstuck. And don’t hesitate to reach out for help if it’s needed.
With love and gratitude!
Rachel Leigh (Gerlach)
Professional Coach / Functional Nutrition Therapist / Movement Specialist
720-556-3113 | 4155 E. Jewell Ave Suite 714 Denver, CO 80222