The time to make a change can present itself in many ways. Perhaps there’s been a health scare. Perhaps the numbers for blood pressure, glucose levels, or cholesterol are too high. Perhaps there is a big change such as a marriage, a divorce, a move, a job, or a baby that acts as a catalyst. Perhaps there have just been too many days of feeling blah and tired. Whatever the reasons, deciding to make a change is the first step. Sometimes when this decision is made, the obstacles present themselves right away.
Resistance to change is a common human response. It can be helpful to address this tendency head-on, and to acknowledge ambivalent feelings, the likelihood of procrastination, and the inclination to avoid something hard. Taking some time to journal all the reasons why it is time to focus on health, and then taking time to think of all the deterrents, can help put those things into persecutive and prevent turning molehills into mountains.
Here are five common excuses that come up when people are considering making the kinds of lifestyle changes that have a lasting impact on health.
I don’t have time.
Scarcity mentality can rob a person of motivation. The saying that we all have the same 24 hours is both true and false. It is true that we all have the time we have. It is false because life circumstances are incredibly variable, and there’s only so much control anyone has over all of those variables. There can be children or other caregiving responsibilities, illnesses, mental health challenges, disabilities, financial constraints, demanding but beloved jobs, or demanding and necessary jobs. It can help to reframe the scarcity. Instead of, “I don’t have time to exercise,” it can be, “I don’t have time to be sick.” It can help to identify the pockets of time that are available, and make choices to use that time to further those goals. The benefits of healthy lifestyle choices, whether that means finding time to move or finding time to sleep, are often exponential. Not only does sleep and exercise benefit the body, they are also essential for mental health and metabolism. Spending enough time sleeping can paradoxically increase productivity and efficiency during waking hours. Spending twenty minutes taking a walk can increase creativity and problem solving skills that make work time more effective.
I don’t have money.
This is another scarcity mentality, with many of the same constraints as time. Financial considerations can be both immutable forces and also a matter of perspective. Reframing can be helpful here as well. Instead of, “I don’t have money to eat well,” it can be, “I don’t have money to drink, smoke, eat out all the time, or be sick.” Sometimes there are substitutions that can be effective, such as choosing healthy snacks or fruit to spend money on rather than vending machine or gas station snacks. Sometimes there are larger patterns to put in place, such as choosing to purchase a quarter of good beef from a farmer instead of buying meat one piece at a time at the grocery store. While the upfront cost may be more, the average cost per meal will often be lower than grocery store prices. Creativity is often key to reimagining scarcity scenarios, with both time and money.
I don’t know what to do—I’m overwhelmed by the options.
In this information age, there are a plethora of options available all the time. Decision fatigue is a real thing. Is low carb the answer? Keto? Joining a gym? Buying a sleep tracker? Using an app? The thing to remember is that any of these tools can be helpful, but they may not always be necessary. The pillars of health are actually very simple: get good consistent sleep. Eat a variety of nutrient dense real foods. Drink plenty of water. Move in a variety of ways every day. Manage stress responses. Health is a journey for life, and taking a first step does not mean taking every step. If you can identify a single thing to start doing and a single thing to stop doing, you can begin to make changes. After a month or so, when those things become habits, another thing can be added. Incremental growth and change are still growth and change.
It feels selfish.
Focusing on health can feel selfish, and other people can feel challenged by a new focus and different decisions. The bottom line is that taking care of health so that life is full of vitality and energy is a decision that allows people to fully show up for the other people in their lives that they love and care about. Real love is expansive and abundant. It spills its benefits into every aspect of life. Taking care of mind and body is an act of love that demonstrates love for both the person taking action and the people around them.
I don’t want to think about it.
This might be the most insidious excuse in this list. Sometimes fear creates a powerful barrier to change. It can be fear of the truth, of having to face the consequences of past decisions or of the consequences of life patterns that a person doesn’t always have control over. These are deep issues to face. Sometimes the fear is of failing, and of the dire consequences of failing to take action. Sometimes it is fear of the unknown, or fear of being helpless and unable to change something. An honest assessment of these fears can help clarify things. Facing these fears and acknowledging them can help root out what parts are true and what parts are false. This is an area where support is key. Having someone to lovingly hold space and encourage the examination of these thoughts and feelings can be life-changing.
At TruBalance, we center our patients’ goals, experiences, and well-being. Since everyone’s life is different and everyone has different mountains to climb, having personalized and specialized care can make all the difference. Our weight loss experts are here to inspire, educate, and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you can use to transform your life and take your health to the next level.