Progression – not perfection

By: Richard Bruce

As we leave the winter months behind we feel a surge of renewed energy. It’s like a seasonal instinct to get out and forage, so this is a great time to start getting active and enjoying your feel-good cravings.

A great place to start is to check your health and fitness, you can start with the basics using what I call my four pillars of health: movement, nutrition, sleep and mindset.

Don’t try and change everything up at once – be realistic with yourself. Life can be busy, and this should not be about adding more, it should be about making small but conscious shifts in your routine that help you start to make better choices that you can build from over time.

Review which of the four pillars needs most attention. For example, if you’ve been getting to bed at midnight, working out once a week, and only eating things resembling greens on a Monday, then simply start the first week with focusing on sleep. Maybe get to bed an hour earlier. Getting more, or better quality, sleep will do wonders for your physiological wellbeing, and your mindset.

If it’s difficult to get to bed earlier, at least give yourself the chance of better sleep by switching your mind off and preparing your body for sleep well before you hit the pillow. Turn off screens and technology an hour or two before bed, lower lights, slow everything down. This calms the nervous system and gets your body attuned with your more natural circadian rhythm. So by the time you reach your bed, you’re not crashing out, but your mind and your body are ready and set to slip into a deep restorative sleep.

Then move to your next priority – nutrition or movement, for example. Move a bit more in your everyday activities, especially if you’re generally sedentary. This will make your body function much better, everything from circulation right through to brain function, digestion, and much more, will start to improve with more movement. Add more activity over time, with the aim to add another workout or activity if you can.

The point is, with every intent you turn into action you are creating small achievements that lead you to feeling good and maintaining a positive mindset towards your goals. You will start to feel empowered, look healthier and you’ll likely start to set some new healthy habits that will last longer than just the spring/summer season.

Equally important is not to kick yourself if you can’t always keep things perfect, acknowledge a bump in the road and just keep getting back on track until you succeed. You want to consciously inch towards your goals, not perfect them. Healthy habits form over time, they cannot be forced into set timeframes.

On that note, let me leave you with this: the ‘rushing syndrome’, in my opinion, is very real. Over-scheduling and over-commiting leaves no room to relax and just be.  Give yourself, and your kids (if you have them) the chance to regularly just stop and go with the flow. Enjoy the freedom of having nothing to do but just waste time, enjoy each other’s company, present and in the moment, and without any technology in sight. My family and I have some of our best times when we have nowhere to be.

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