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One of the hardest things to get past on our health and fitness journey is realizing that we have to prioritize ourselves so we can be who we need to be for the people we care about. On this episode, we discuss ways to know when your priorities are out of whack and what you can do about it.
Today, I want to get into a mindset. Topic that is actually probably one of the most important obstacles that many people face when they're looking to get healthy and fit, and it's not something that goes away without a little bit of work.
And so the question comes up is, are you prioritizing yourself?
Are you probably prioritizing your health and fitness? And it's it sounds like a simple thing, but it's actually a very deep, deep emotional mental adjustment to to have that kind of mindset where you are prioritizing yourself. So I want to dive into it a little bit. But before we go too far, we can start with something as simple as a little quiz. And so there's only three questions to this quiz.
So don't think we're going to be on here for a long time. It's not but three questions. And I want you to rate yourself from a one, which is this is completely untrue to a six – this describes me perfectly. OK, so again, one is the low end of the scale is completely untrue. Up to six, this is a good description of you. How how you actually feel, how you think.
OK, the first one is: I put others wishes before my own or else I feel guilty.
The second one is: I give more to other people than I get back in return.
And then the final one is: I'm so busy doing for the people whom I care about, that I have little time for myself.
All right, now add up those scores and think to yourself about what that number means, and I'll tell you what it means if that number. Is higher than, say, five or six, you might have a problem. You're not prioritizing yourself and what you're basically doing is self-sacrificing. You're taking others and saying they're so much more important than me that I can't do the things for myself that are necessary for me to be healthy and fit.
And I'm not going to jump into the whole airplane put your mask on thing. But this is a concept that unless you break through this effort of prioritizing yourself, if you are a self-sacrificer or you're really going to struggle to get healthy and fit and stay healthy and fit because it's never going to be the priority you need it to be.
A lot of people love those simple rules of the 80-20, and I try to tell people 80-20 is perfect when you're in maintenance mode. 80 at 20 is great. You can stay healthy and be healthy. The problem is for most of us, we're not already healthy. We're not at the weight we want to be at. We're not as strong as we need to be. And as a result, we need to put in more than 80%. If you don't prioritize yourself, that's just not going to happen.
So the first thing we have to look at when we are having this conversation is to actually think about the inner voice that we have, that voice that that tells you how you feel about something that's happening. So an event happens, maybe your alarm doesn't go off and you're late for work. You're going to be late for work. What does your inner voice tell you about that event? And that inner voice is the story, it's the story of our lives from an internal perspective. It often doesn't actually reflect reality.
And I want to take you through and this week, or at least for the next few days, I want you to think about some of the words that that inner voice is using, some of the things that you probably think. And the best way to kind of break that down for me is this phraseology called “absolute words.” And so I want you to pay attention to that inner voice over the course of the next day or two and maybe a little longer and see how often you use words like have to, need, must, ought to, should.
If you find yourself using those words a lot, those are absolute words. That means that your inner voice is feeding you something and saying this is an absolute necessity. You have to do it this way. And if that's the case, then you're not going to change. You're not. Whatever you think you have to do, you will do whatever you think you should do, you will probably do. Whatever you need to do, whatever someone else needs or you think is needed. And then obviously the word must if you must do something, it's something you've got to do and therefore you do it.
If you're not using those absolute words for your own health and fitness, then you're likely using them for other things. And if you are, that's a clear indication that you're not prioritizing your wellbeing. It's just not happening because these other haves, musts, ought tos, and shoulds are getting in your way.
So what's an easy solution for us with regards to these absolute words?
Well, one, when you catch yourself doing this, using those words and it's not toward you, it's not something that you are doing for you. Like I can say, I have to work out today. Obviously, that's not a bad phrase. It is an absolute. The absolute is about me taking care of myself. But if I say I've got to get the food for the kids, I must take them to the ball practice. I must do this and then I must make sure I get this report done at work. If I have all these other musts in my life, it'll be very hard for me to make sure that I go through it. So if I catch myself using one of these absolute words.
Again, there have to, need, must, ought, and should.
If you find yourself using those words with relation to someone else or something else besides your health and fitness, you need to stop and take a step back. And reevaluate if that is an absolute. In many cases, it's not. The world is not going to end if you don't do something that you had to do, that you should have done, that you ought to do, the world might not end. And so taking a moment to take that half step back and evaluate that statement that you just your inner voice just told you that is getting in the way of you being healthy and fit.
It's time to rephrase that and going through the practice of where your is telling you, you know, you must be home by 6:30pm so you don't have time to work out. Well, do you have to be home by 6:30pm. Just ask yourself that question. What happens if I'm not there? Then dinner's not ready at 7:00pm. Dinner's ready at what, maybe 7:30pm? Maybe your spouse can assist you by making dinner tonight. Maybe you go ahead and you order from a food company that delivers healthy choices and you order food in for the family.
So in many cases, when you catch yourself using an absolute word that is not geared towards you being healthy and fit when you really, truly need and want to prioritize yourself in your health and fitness, you've got to change the script. You've got to stop evaluate whether it's true. And I'll tell you, in most cases it's not true.
You're not going to get fired for being five minutes late for work. You're just not. Now, you might if you're constantly late. But for most people out there, a lot of the absolute words we have in our head are actually not true. They're stories that we're telling ourselves. They're stories that we're living to. And as a result, we're not getting the health and fitness that we deserve.
So I just used the word there, and I'm actually getting to a point in my life where I really kind of love words and those kind of things that they mean and what they bring up and how we relate to them. And so I'm using the word deserve.
And I can say with absolute clarity, you deserve self-care. You deserve to be able to take care of yourself. You deserve to be healthy and fit. So what does self-care actually look like?
Well, first and foremost, it includes self-love. I've asked many of my clients if they love themselves enough to do this for themselves. And it was funny because one of the first clients I ever had, her name was Sandy. She said she wasn't sure. Now, the problem came up and Sandy didn't follow through with everything we were doing, despite seeing good results at first. And I break it down to that point, she did not have the self-love necessary to make a change, to do the hard thing.
And so self-love is that expression where you care about yourself as much as you care about anyone else. It doesn't mean that you don't love other people as much because love is not this finite thing that we have that if I give this to this person, I don't have any left for me. That's not how love works. Love is infinite. And so you should be exploring yourself and understanding that if you don't start from my point of self-love, the commitment's never going to be there and you're not going to see the results. So if you find yourself having these kind of conversations where you're not liking yourself and that inner voice is actually a butthole. You need to work on your self-love. You need to actually sit down and start talking yourself through why you're worthy, why you deserve this, why you would love yourself. And I'm 100 percent sure you're going to come up with a ton of great reasons why you should love yourself and then you should love yourself.
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The next thing that comes in is you need to be frank and honest and you need to be frank and honest with not just other people. You need to be frank and honest with yourself. If the inner voice is, like I said, being a butthole, be honest about it. Understand, I have kind of a crappy self-image right now. What are the things I can do to improve that self-image? What are the things I can do to make that inner voice nicer?
Eliminating some of those absolute words is a good first step for that, but you've got to have this inner honesty. You've got to be honest with yourself and understand what's going on. And then, yes, you have to be frank and honest with the people around you. If you're going to do something for yourself, it often means that there's things that you would have been doing for someone else that you're now not able to do. They're going to live. They're going to be fine. But change in your life often means change in others.
I talked in my book, The Wellness Roadmap, about understanding the baggage that you have when you're traveling and how that can affect your path. Now, what I didn't say in there, but it should have been implied is you still need to have a vehicle. You still need to be moving forward. Your pace might be a little different, but you still have to be frank and honest with the people around you that the changes you're making are important to you and should be important to them, because in 99.9% of the cases out there, your why is them? You want to be healthy and you want to be fit for your kids, you and you and your grandkids. And you want to be there for your spouse and you don't want to be an obligation later in life to them because you want to be able to take care of yourself and you want that opportunity to be the person you're supposed to be.
And they should want that for you, too. So being honest and frank with them as far as what you need to be successful, is going to go a long way towards not having them resenting you for going to the gym every day or resenting you because you're not baking as often as you used to bake. Those types of things. So being frank and honest with yourself and others is a very important step towards self-care.
The next is consistency and frequency. You can't do something once and say, OK, that's my self-care for the month. It just doesn't quite work like that. Yes, going and getting a mani-pedi for some people are getting a massage is a great luxury for many and doing it once a month might be plenty. It would be for me. But to actually do what's necessary for you to be healthy and fit, it needs to become a part of a lifestyle that is frequent enough that it will elicit change. So if you're going to say lift weights, you can't lift weights once and say, well, gee, I don't understand why I'm not muscular. I don't understand why I didn't put on much muscle or because you didn't do it enough. Okay? So there has to be a frequency to it that is enough to stimulate a change in your body, to stimulate change in you.
And then the consistency part just means that doing something over and over and over is where you're going to get your real results. I had that conversation with Dr. Pontzer not long ago, and we talked about how you're not going to be able to lose a ton of weight really, really quickly without your body reacting to it at some level. And, so that reaction, which your body is going to do to change up your metabolism, that's going to happen. It's going to happen for all of us. Our bodies were made to do that so we can survive. But the consistency of doing the little things over and over and over, over time is where you kind of make this.
I was having a conversation with my clients the other day. And one of the things I said to them was the Grand Canyon was not built by something major coming through there and digging it out. It was that slow trickle of a small river over many, many years, millions of years, that made the Grand Canyon what it is today. And so you need that little trickle. You need that consistency to see monumental changes in your health and fitness.
So if you have a long journey to take before you're healthy and fit, you need the patience. But you also need that consistency. You have to keep showing up and you have to do it enough where your body recognizes the stimulus and reacts.
And then the final bit on the self-care, what it looks like. It's about an investment. If you're not willing to invest some time, effort, and money into yourself, you're not likely to see the results that you really want to have. Now, the biggest investment is going to be time and effort. You're going to have to make change and you're going to have to spend some time doing this. It's not just going to happen. As I mentioned before, we have a frequency and we have a consistency that has to happen. For that to happen, you have to invest time and effort towards making these things happen.
And then the money part can be a little bit of money. It can be as little as you're investing in some good quality shoes, or it can be as big as saying I'm going to build a home gym and I'm going to spend thousands of dollars to do that. For most people, the investment is somewhere in the middle of that. A small gym membership isn't all that expensive and it's hiring a trainer. When you look at the results that you get often isn't that expensive. If it's going to get you down the road faster.
My wife is working on building up a bed and breakfast, and the guy that was working it was him and his son. And he said, I've got these two other guys to come in and help. And she's like, sure. And the whole thing was by investing a little bit more each week, she's going to get the job done faster. So now she's got four people working instead of two. So the work's getting done faster. And that's what you have to think about with regards to where money can play a role in helping you with this whole thing.
So to kind of wrap this all up, if you did that quiz, that self-sacrificing quiz and you scored, twelve, if you scored thirteen or if you scored eighteen, then you have a self-sacrificing problem. And if you find that your inner voice is not your best friend, you've got a priority problem. Those are two internal things that you really have to get a grasp on.
And a couple of the ways that you can easily see this happening beyond just doing the quiz I talked about is to look for how often you're using those absolute words. They are using absolute words to define what you're supposed to do for someone else and not for yourself, something that would pull you away from doing something for yourself. Those are those trigger words. Those are the things that will tell you where you need to address your time and effort and you need to go and take that step back and analyze what that actually means. Is it actually true in most cases you're going to find it's not.
And then finally, self-care takes an investment. You have to love yourself. You've got to be open and honest with yourself. You've got to be consistent. You've got to put in a frequency of things happening so you can see change. And that typically takes an investment of time, effort and/or money.
So I hope you took something valuable from this lesson. If you did, I'd love to talk to you about it in more detail on the Facebook group. You can go to https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, and we can have a great conversation there about your inner voice, about whether you are prioritizing yourself so you can get the health and fitness you deserve.
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|– Anne Lynch||– John Dachauer||– Margaret Bakalian|
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