At first will need to consciously consider your upcoming barriers, which is what we will do now. With practice, you will automatically do this and that is the long term goal, to make all of these new practices and behaviours your new way of life.
Please spend 5 minutes reflecting and writing down what your likely barriers will be on this journey. Break them into 4 or more categories – psychological, physical, social and environmental.
Then brainstorm by yourself, with a family member or friend or health professional – strategies to either remove this barrier now or if you cannot remove it; then strategies or techniques to manage them when you come across them. You can further separate the solutions into short term and medium term meaning those that you can do straight away and those that may take some time to organise and manifest.
Being prepared means being preparing your mind with the right expectations, preparing your body for some possible initial work that gets better with time, preparing the people around you to support you and not limit you and preparing your environment to assist you, not sabotage you. So let’s go through these in more detail.
Let’s talk about being mentally prepared because this is probably the most important one.
First – Prepare yourself and commit yourself to this new journey.
Second – Prepare yourself for barriers and challenges. Barriers will be present, maybe it is money, or time pressures, or partners, or whatever. The best way through these is to reflect on your next steps and what the likely barriers will be. Then prepare yourself for them early, before you hit them, so you are ready and more likely to succeed. Perhaps a barrier is not having much time to prepare and cook food, or that your partner doesn’t want to join you on this journey, or you know that any chips in the pantry will trigger your cravings. Whatever it is, and I will ask you to review these in the next activity, prepare for them now and review them regularly.
In regards to your mind and body, there will be hard times, internal battles and physical discomfort at times, usually in the beginning until you have learnt a new way of life. Learning how to deal with that, for example, the ability to tolerate and accept emotional and physical discomfort is a key skill for living “well”. When we go to the gym and our muscles hurt the next day, there also comes with that a deeper sense of satisfaction. There is a quiet sense of gratitude and tranquillity that comes as a byproduct of successful internal and external struggle. Those moments are the blessings and the signs of a beautiful life.
Socially we need to prepare those around us. We need them those around us to either support us or get out of the way. That goes for partners, kids, parents, friends. I will cover this in more detail later, but keep it in mind.
Environmentally we need to change our environment so it facilitates our progress. If you have a pantry full of chips and chocolate and rely solely on willpower to fight those urges then you will fail. You may need to refresh your pantry and fridge, you may need to buy some walking shoes and leave them at your front door or in your car to remind you, you may need to download some videos or podcasts to listen to keep you motivated. Change your environment to support your journey, not hinder it.
I will cover these points again in various ways throughout the course and I cover a lot more about this in the health coaching course, so if you want to know more you can check that out. But I say it now so you know that preparing yourself for success at many levels of your life will mean you have multiple levels of support. If one fails for whatever reason, maybe your partner buys some chips for the pantry, but you have prepared in others ways, perhaps by telling them to congratulate you for not having any or keeping them separate or mentally preparing how to deal with cravings then it won’t matter as much. But if you don’t prepare, and then those challenges come, which they inevitably will, then you are far more likely to stumble and fall. This is the power of preparation.