Have you ever been swimming in the ocean, and all of a sudden you get caught in a riptide?
It’s pretty scary when it happens. You see the safety of the shoreline getting farther away and you start paddling HARD towards it. You’re giving it everything you’ve got fighting against that incredibly strong flow of water pulling your away from where you were and where you want to be, but it isn’t working. You’re losing ground, getting frustrated, and getting tired. What the heck do you do now? Give up and die? NO. You change direction. Literally. Stop swimming toward the shore and swim parallel to it. Making that alteration in your approach lets you swim out of the riptide current and gets you back into safer water where you can regroup, and recover your energy, and then you can make it back to where you want to be.
So what does riptide advice have to do with getting healthy? Well, have you ever felt like no matter how hard you tried to get to your goals—whether they were weight loss, or strength based, or running times or whatever you were trying to achieve—but you just kept sliding farther away from them? Instead of losing weight the numbers were creeping up the scale. Instead of adding plates onto your bar at the gym you were struggling to lift what previously felt easy. Instead of posting faster 5K results you were in the back of the pack and feeling like lead. What do you do now? Keep on keeping on? Give up? Or maybe, try the riptide approach and change direction.
If you’ve been working towards a goal for a significant amount of time, but you’ve been experiencing the opposite of what you’d hoped then it’s time to try something different. They say insanity is repeating the same actions over and over and over, yet expecting different results. I say stop being a part of the insanity and be willing to try something new and different.
In order to make a switch in your approach you have to examine what you’re currently doing and figure out what you can change. That takes time and effort, but ultimately it’s worth it if it helps you achieve your goals. There is never a one-size fits all approach to health. What works great for one person might be a total disaster for someone else, so don’t be fooled into mindlessly following a plan that your friend swears by. Maybe it will work great for you too (Hurray!) or maybe you need something completely different. That doesn’t mean their approach is bad, or that you’re bad, it just means we all have different bodies, and minds, and not everything works the same for everyone.
Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started if you’re stuck in a metaphorical riptide.
1. What and when are you eating? Always skip breakfast but eat a big dinner? Switch that around for a while and see what happens. Or the opposite. Or make lunch your big meal with breakfast and dinner smaller.
2. Run everyday? Cut that back and add in strength training and yoga or pilates 2-3 days a week.
3. Never do cardio? Find a form you like (hint: Zumba is lots of fun, and a total butt-kicking cardio workout) and do that once or twice a week
4. Are you a night owl who dreads the alarm clock? Try getting to bed earlier for a few weeks and see how that works in conjunction with helping you get to your goals. Netflix will still be there for you later.
5. Are you a ‘yes’ person? Try turning down some requests that eat up your down-time or overload your work plate. It’s good to be involved socially, and a go-getter at work but we all need quiet time to de-stress our systems and allow our bodies and minds to relax.
Swimming hard toward your goal can be great, but sometimes a change of direction is needed to really achieve success. Don’t be afraid of that, it’s a temporary necessity to get you where you want to be.
Let me know if you try any of these, or something else entirely! I love hearing how you are working toward your goals.
If you or someone you care about needs one-on-one support and help in setting and reaching your goals, I am accepting new clients. Click on over to my Coaching page and learn how to get started working with me.