We all have that friend. You know who I’m talking about. The I-get-up-every-morning-and-run-five-miles friend, the I-eat-all-organic-food friend, the I-do-yoga-five-times-a-week-friend. You know that person, the person who oozes happiness and wellness…Well, that’s not me. In fact, that’s not most people.
I’m not saying that it is impossible to lead this lifestyle- obviously many people do. I just think it can be overwhelming to compare yourself to these pinnacles of wellness. I mean, I’m lucky if I get time to run ONCE in a week at this time of year.
I’m going to pass on some great advice that was given to me: Give yourself a break. Acknowledge the good, healthy things you DO, as opposed to all the things that you don’t. Would I like to go to yoga three times a week? Yes. Is that realistic right now, with my current schedule? Not really.
So, I’ve decided to take the What About Bob approach to wellness: Baby Steps.
Baby Step #1: Set realistic goals for yourself.
Last semester I set a goal for myself- I was going to eat 5 servings of fruits/veggies every day. Did I do it? Yes. Am I doing it now? No. But boy, it felt good when I was regularly reaching that goal. So maybe I modify it- instead of EVERY DAY, maybe I get that recommended daily value 3 days a week instead. Or maybe I try to eat a fruit/veggie with each meal instead of sticking to the goal of five. The point is, set a reachable goal for yourself. Don’t set yourself up for failure, set yourself up for success. And once you realize how easy that goal was, change it up. Go a little farther. And use your friends to keep you motivated.
Baby Step #2: Set a deadline.
I challenged myself to run a 5k sometime before I finished graduate school. Then, I actually signed up. Well, the potential for wasting $25 dollars, not to mention potentially humiliating myself if I walked the whole time motivated me to start running. Setting that deadline helped me see a tangible end point- running took on a new purpose. And surprise surprise, I found out it made me feel awesome.
Baby Step #3: Give yourself a break.
Didn’t reach that goal today? Missed the deadline? It’s OK!! Without realizing it, your journey to get to those endpoints actually helped you get healthier! Acknowledge the good things you do for your body every day, not just the times when you indulge in the unhealthier behaviors. Wellness is holistic- it is about being healthy inside and out. Does this happen all at once? Just like everything else in life, no, it doesn’t. Wellness is not and all or nothing endeavor. So find joy in the small changes you have already made, and keep challenging yourself to more baby steps each day.
Who knows, you may be that happy, healthy, fit friend to someone else one day.