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Maybe you’re a bit like me. I’m so used to things not going my way that sometimes I protect myself by messing things up before anyone or anything else has a chance to mess it up for me. And sometimes that includes health-related things.
Many times, we sabotage our health based on subconscious reasons, but we justify it mindfully. Simply put, we screw up our health without even realizing it, but we come up with some really “good” excuses for doing so: “It’s been a rough day; I deserve this chocolate bar … and maybe this one too. Besides, chocolate is full of antioxidants, so I need to eat more”; “I’ve already messed up my eating plan for the day, why not make a McDonald’s run for dinner tonight to save time?”; “I’ve gone a week without smoking a cigarette. One won’t hurt too much now.”
If you feel like you’re starting to sabotage your own success (either as it concerns health or otherwise), read on to find out how you can stop, and how you can learn to start treating yourself better.
Take a step back and look at what’s happening in your life from a stranger’s point of view. You can even start a journal and write down.
One of the best ways I’ve found to stick with any diet program in the past was by writing down everything I ate and drank – EVERYTHING – and then recording how I was feeling when I ate and/or drank it. Then I could go back and say, “Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that Snickers bar in the afternoon. I wasn’t really hungry. I was just tired and felt like I needed a sugary pick-me-up. I probably should’ve reached for an apple and a glass of water instead.”
That’s why I created this food, water, exercise, and emotion tracking journal. It helps me stay on track every day … or it at least helps me identify when and why I’m derailing, so I can avoid doing that in the future. You can buy it on Amazon for $5, or you can get the PDF version for free when you sign up for my email list.
Be Accepting of Feedback
Getting feedback and open, honest criticism of your health habits is probably the last thing you want, but it can give you a great opportunity to improve your health by realizing what you’re doing wrong. More often than not, you’ll find that the feedback was actually helpful, but only if you don’t take it too personally or overthink everything.
Note: You should only receive this sort of feedback from someone you know you can trust. Someone who won’t go blabbing about it all over town (or among your circle of friends). You might also want to seek feedback only from people who you know will be gentle (but honest), if you’re one of those people who has a hard time accepting criticism. After all, “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)
If you want to talk to me about your health struggles, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’ll be happy to give you a free email consultation (up to six emails back and forth – after that, I’ll have to start charging a modest consulting fee).
The grass that’s much greener on the other side of the fence is that way because of the hard work that went into it. However you envision success (whether it’s losing 20 pounds or being filthy rich), when you imagine the success (the end result) you’re likely not thinking about all the hard work that goes into getting there. Most people don’t. Remember: “overnight successes” are usually years (like, 10 to 15) in the making.Click To Tweet
Be realistic about your health goals and break them down into mini-goals. These can be either daily or weekly – it’s up to you. Write down every step you need to take in order to get there, and don’t leave out the times when you fail to reach one of them. Trust in the process. More importantly, trust in yourself, especially if God has called you to do something (then you should trust in Him even more than you trust in yourself). You will reach your goals if you’re truly committed to them.
Be a Little “Selfish”
Some people think that when they sabotage their health, they’re doing it for the good of others around them. For example, a mother may feel she’s putting her kids’ well-being before her own when she doesn’t take the time to eat right or exercise. Or a father thinks that by working all the time and not taking the time to take to care of his health, he’s doing it for the good of his family. My husband’s stepmother put off dealing with her own cancer because her mother was sick and she wanted to take care of her first. You can imagine how that turned out. She’s doing okay now, but she could’ve gotten it treated much sooner (and probably better) if she’d just put herself first. Her mother is dead now.
There’s a reason they give you that instruction on airplanes about putting your own oxygen mask on before you try to help anyone else.
There's a reason they give you that instruction on airplanes about putting your own oxygen mask on before you try to help anyone else. Click To TweetIf you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help anyone else. It just won’t be possible. Take care of yourself first, and you’ll be able to do more for others (and you’ll probably be able to do it more effectively).
Believe in Your Own Worth
Throughout our lives, we’re bombarded with messages about ourselves (from the media, from our friends and family members, from coworkers, and even sometimes from people we’re just passing by on the street).
The negative messages are the ones that stick with us the most. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to break free from these comments. They turn into tangible monsters that haunt us in every decision we make. They may have been ordinary, run-of-the-mill comments that someone made without giving it a second thought (and certainly without intending to harm us). But still, these negative messages dominate our waking hours and dictate our life decisions.
It’s important to move past the negative comments and the limiting beliefs they’ve created within you so you can live life to the fullest.
For an excellent guide on this subject, I recommend this book.
Be Kind to Yourself
It’s no big deal if you feel uncomfortable in a certain situation, or if you’re not completely certain what to do. Take a deep breath, realize that every single person gets the same heart-gripping fear every once in awhile, and take the plunge, What’s the worst that can happen?
Either you’ll fail miserably, which will be somewhat embarrassing, but not the end of the world. Or you’ll stand up, take a deep breath, learn from your mistakes, and try again. But just maybe you’ll succeed, be proud of your accomplishments, and move on to the next task with courage. Remember: Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to feel fear and do it anyway.Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to feel fear and do it anyway. Click To Tweet
Bolstering your courage takes practice and time. Commit yourself to the process and the time it takes you to get there. Fear of failure is normal; it’s the “not trying” part that really makes you miss you out on all life has to offer.Take the time to make goals and put yourself before others, if need be Click To Tweet
Take the time to make goals and put yourself before others, if need be; it’ll make you a healthier, more balanced person. Pretty soon, you’ll discover that you have more time and energy to do the things you need to do, whether it’s for work or family. And maybe you’ll find out that sabotaging your health just wasn’t worth it.