Editor’s Note: When it comes to health and fitness, we know that eating right and exercising more are essential components. But we humans are emotional creatures; knowing the benefits of food and exercise is not enough to spur us into action. It’s only when we shift our mindset about our health that we start seeing solid results. In her second post, Natalie’s personal health coach, Karen writes about how to overcome the mindset blocks that hold us back from becoming healthier and more successful.
What if you could change just one thing and become healthier, more energetic and productive?
What if it didn’t involve diet or exercise or discipline?
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Eating well and exercising are critical for health, vitality, energy and even productivity. However, they don’t even come into play until you work on the most important aspect of your — mindset.
As entrepreneurs, you know how important it is to have the right mindset to succeed in your business or career. But what about your mindset when it comes to your health habits? Have you ever thought about how your mindset affects your health, energy, and productivity?
In my practice as a nutrition health coach, I see many people being held back from their health goals by their mindset. I have seen them become healthier and more successful just by shifting their mindset. So I am going to share with you the 5 most common mindset blocks that might be holding you back, and how to overcome each of them.
Mindset Block #1: The “All or nothing” mindset
Have you ever skipped workouts just because you couldn’t dedicate a whole hour to a gym class? Or decided you would start eating healthy tomorrow because you’ve already had two sodas?
This is the ‘all or nothing’ mindset, which is wrecking your attempts at becoming healthier. You might be familiar with the term perfectionism — wanting to make sure your blog post, or product, or design is perfect before it’s out in the world.
The ‘all or nothing’ mindset is closely related to perfectionism. I see almost everyone falling prey to this mindset because most people don’t realize that all healthy habits have a positive impact, no matter how small it is. All these benefits will add up in the long run. Letting go of the ‘all or nothing’ mindset can help you finally make progress toward your goals.
Overcome the ‘all or nothing’ mindset by starting small & staying consistent
Set yourself up to win by starting small and staying consistent. Especially, if you have tried, but failed to maintain the healthy habit you’re trying to build.
Start with an action so small that you just can’t not complete it.
It may be just 5 minutes of yoga or meditation every day, going for a walk, or maybe just adding veggies to a couple of meals each week.
Doing these small healthy habits consistently will train your brain to believe that you are someone who follows through on your intentions. This will help build the habit muscle, and you will be able to build better and healthier habits over time.
Mindset Block #2: The “I’m busy” mindset
We all know stress is bad for us, yet we wear it like a badge of honor. We are almost addicted to the feeling stressed. We use “I’m busy” as an excuse for everything. Perhaps it makes us feel valuable, important or useful. But stress has a massive negative impact on your health, energy levels, and productivity.
Have you ever noticed how work seems effortless when you’re feeling good, in control, and enjoying what you’re doing?
But when you’re stressed out, everything seems so hard. Writing a blog post (or even an email) takes hours, you keep rewriting the same sentence over and over without making any progress.
Stress is unavoidable and unpredictable; however, we can choose how we greet it.
Don’t let “I’m busy” become your crutch for not becoming healthier and more successful.
What would change for you if every time you thought, “how is this happening for me,” instead of, “why is this happening to me?”
Could you see stress as an opportunity for growth? A fun test for your stress management skills?
Stop believing that you’re ‘busy’ and watch health and happiness come flooding into your life.
19 tips to overcome the ‘I’m busy’ mindset
Try one of these stress management tips next week and see how you feel:
- Ask yourself, “what can I do about this?”
- Smile often, even if you feel silly just start smiling. It decreases stress hormones and increases happiness!
- Practice gratitude daily. It can transform your health, mood & business.
- Create a weekly practice around stress management. Try yoga, walking, meditation, tai chi, prayer, etc.
- Stop, drop and belly breathe. Deep belly breaths are your body’s secret ‘off switch’ for your fight-or-flight response. So set a timer to go off throughout the day and when it does, take 4 deep belly breaths and switch your relaxation response back on.
- Exercise — it’s a proven stress buster!
- Eat real food and avoid foods that actually increase cortisol (your stress hormone) production in your body like sugar.
- Schedule, schedule, schedule. Discipline creates freedom and can really help you feel in control of your life and business.
- “No” is a full sentence. Try it out.
- Make time for things that bring you joy. Make a list of these and schedule at least one per week.
- Get some sleep. Being tired is stressful.
- Think about the five people you spend the most time with. Do they make you feel motivated and alive, or drained and exhausted?
- Laugh more.
- Play with animals.
- Give generously.
- Express yourself creatively. It releases endorphins and other feel-good neurotransmitters
- Have sex — hey, it works.
- Alleviate loneliness by calling a friend or family member. Or join an online community or mastermind.
- Take radical action — ask yourself what does my body need to heal? Listen to what it says. Maybe you need a new career, maybe you need to get that online biz off the ground, or you just need a change of scenery.
Mindset Block #3: The “I’m not good enough” mindset
Have you ever stopped and thought about the stories you might be telling yourself over and over again? Do you ever catch yourself saying, “I’m not good at sales,” or “I’m not good with numbers?”
If you have been working on improving your mindset for your business or career, then you may already be aware of some of these negative beliefs and stories running in the background.
But how about the negative beliefs you have with regards to your health? What sort of things do you say to yourself about your body? Are these stories helping you or holding you back?
The stories we tell ourselves, create our subconscious identity.
Thoughts like, “I am not the kind who can live on green smoothies,” or “I am just not athletic enough to go running,” are only holding you back from becoming healthier.
Although, willpower can help (and is needed) to start new health habits; eventually your actions will reflect the beliefs you have about yourself. Your subconscious works to align your actions with your personal beliefs and identity.
But you can use these stories to your advantage too. If you start believing that exercise makes you happier and more productive, you will make it a point to move more each day; you will make time for exercise.
Healthy actions and habits become easier once they are aligned with the belief that you are someone who makes healthy choices. So get rid of the “I’m not good enough” self-talk.
Swap the negative self-talk with a positive mindset to become healthier
Start becoming more aware. Write down the things that you are telling yourself about your health, including diet, weight, body image, activities, mental health, etc.
Include the positive as well as the negative stuff. For example, gluten does not work for my body; I am a yogi; I am fit; I am a strong athlete; I am overweight, etc.
Then write out a positive affirmation about your health and place it somewhere that you will be able to see every day. When you hear yourself thinking or saying the negative saying negative things, replace it by repeating a positive affirmation such as:
- I am someone who takes one step every day towards becoming a runner
- I am someone who is making healthy food choices each day to reach my weight loss goal
Remember, your self-talk creates your reality. Be aware of what you are saying to yourself.
Mindset Block #4: The “Waiting to be happy” mindset
Society teaches us that happiness is conditioned based. For example, once we get that promotion, once we lose the weight, once we get to a certain point in our lives, then we will be happy. This message is all around us.
But what if it’s actually the other way around?
What if getting into a positive mindset and doing what we love leads to becoming healthier, more productive and successful?
A Harvard research study carried out by Shawn Achor showed that when our brain is positive we:
- are three times more creative
- experience 31% higher levels of productivity
- are 40% more likely to receive a promotion at work
- achieve a 37% higher level of sales
It was also shown that we experience more energy and see more opportunities when we have a positive mindset!
So instead of waiting to be happy (once you’ve achieved a certain result), tune your mindset to be more positive.
Create a daily happiness habit, don’t wait for it
Happiness habits have been linked to greater success and energy. So much so that Shawn Achor wrote a book on it, called The Happiness Advantage. So stop believing that you will be happy once you are successful or once you are healthy; start being happy now, and it will help you achieve your goals.
The best part is, these habits only take a few minutes to do. So pick one that resonates with you and try it out for 7 days:
- Keep a daily gratitude journal. You can use the 5-minute journal or just write down things you are grateful for in a notebook. Just make sure that each day you’re writing about specific things you’re grateful for.
- Get daily exercise. This one helps your health in many many ways! Just do it!
- Meditation. Start with just 5 minutes each day. An app like Headspace is a good way to start if you are a beginner.
- Perform random acts of kindness such as buying a stranger a coffee or giving out compliments. It will not only make you feel good; I’m sure you will make the stranger’s day too!
Mindset Block #5: The “Superhero” mindset
If you’re not happy with where your health and energy levels are at the moment, then the fastest way to get to where you want to be is to get some accountability.
In fact, Stanford University found that simply receiving a check-in phone call, that asked about study participants’ progress every two weeks, increased the amount of exercise participants did by 78% on average. In the study, participants who received those bi-weekly check-in phone calls were still exercising at the increased level even after 18 months.
Talk about sustainable results!
Accountability can supercharge your results if you’re having a hard time doing it yourself. And it doesn’t have to be a coaching program. Even having an exercise partner or someone you can share your food diary with can help.
In fact, a 2011 study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that the exercise habits of people you know have a positive influence on your exercise habits. So who you spend time with can have more of an impact on your health than you would think.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people, either through a group program or class, can help you reach your goals faster. So get rid of your cape, stop being a superhero, and leverage the power of accountability.
Overcome the “Superhero” mindset by staying accountable
Think about what would help you stay accountable and hit your health goals.
Do you have a friend who could go to the gym with you? Can you talk to your partner and start making healthy dinners together? If not, then look into whether a coach or a group program might be a good fit for you.
I want you to know that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Ask for accountability.
Speaking of accountability, there’s no better place to start than joining us (Natalie, Karen, and Sarah) for a free online workshop that will help you become healthier, more energetic and productive.
In this workshop, we will be talking about the simple health habits that will boost your energy and make your business thrive. You’ll learn about superfoods (that will give you more energy than the energizer bunny), how to make stress work for you (not against you), and making healthy habits stick (which will help you be more productive). Check out the details of the free online workshop by clicking on the image below.
About our Guest Contributor: Karen, the founder of RealEnergyFood.com, is an integrative nutrition health coach who is passionate about helping people boost energy levels & improve their health through finding the right foods that work for their unique body. With a Science degree from the University of Western Australia and certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Karen works with clients all over the world through one on one coaching and group programs. Karen’s mission is to help people get energized and achieve food freedom so they can concentrate on the important things in life. Find out more at RealEnergyFood.com.