I’ve just gotten back from a wonderful 15 day holiday in Tuscany and London. It was such a good time that we extended our original 11-day trip by another three nights, delaying the inevitable return to reality.
But now that we’re home, I find myself sitting here, in the dark hours of Monday morning, feeling a little unsettled — how do I get back into the swings of things?
“Starting” is an overwhelming thing. Starting back at work after a holiday, starting a new job, or starting a healthy living routine are all tough transitions to make. But they’re not impossible. Just as you eat an elephant one bite at a time, you also must break down new tasks into manageable pieces.
Take weight loss for example. Losing 50 pounds is, for most people, an intensely overwhelming weight loss goal, perhaps one that feels impossible. How do you even begin the process of losing 50 pounds? The idea feels so big, and the effort required feels so vast, that many people will stop before they even start. But what if the weight loss goal was only five pounds, not 50? Five pounds seems quite manageable, accessible with just a few small tweaks here and there. Losing five pounds is the first bite — you realize that yes, you can lose weight, and actually, it wasn’t all that hard to do. So you move on to the next 5 pounds, and then the next, until eventually that 50-pound weight loss goal isn’t out of reach after all.
The same concept works for starting pretty much anything new. Here’s how it plays out in fitness, nutrition, and self-love:
Starting A New Exercise Routine
It’s a bad idea to take a high-intensity exercise class on your first day at the gym — doing so will likely crush your fitness spirit. The better play would be to start with simple stretches, some bodyweight strength training, and gentle cardio. After a while, your fitness will improve, and it won’t be long until you’ll right at home attending various classes and taking on new physical challenges.
Eating More Vegetables
As a novice cook, it may not be wise to buy ten unknown-to-you vegetable varieties and attempting to cook an Ottolenghi style feast. Instead, toss a head of broccoli and a couple of zucchini in a pot of boiling water, drain thoroughly and dollop some butter on top. Heck, use the microwave if that makes it easier to get more greens onto your plate.
Loving & Accepting Your Self
You can’t expect to love your body and life after reading one self-help book. Changing the way you think is often the most difficult new habit to start, but I’ve made it easier for you with my free, five-day Soulful Self Love Challenge.
This slow and steady approach may not seem sexy but it is effective, and it’s something to keep in mind the next time we feel overwhelmed with the idea of starting.
You know what, I’m glad that I wrote this post this morning. Talking to you has helped me rethink my initial waking instinct (to take the world by storm) and quelled my initial waking panic (how on earth was I supposed to do that). It has allowed me to sit here and watch first light break across Los Angeles, my metaphorical elephant by my side, writing this post, and returning to reality one step at a time.
See you next week!