5 Common Mental Barriers to Living a Healthier Lifestyle & How to Overcome Them
“I get so overwhelmed with all of the information out there regarding weight loss! I don’t know what to focus on.”
“I’m afraid if I really commit myself to living a healthier, happier lifestyle, I’ll fail.”
“I really want to lose weight, but I feel stuck.”
“I’m worried I won’t achieve my goals in the time frame I have in mind and then I’ll head into a downward spiral.”
“I’m worried if I succeed, my friends and family won’t be there for me anymore.”
Any of these scenarios sound familiar?
These are huge roadblocks my clients face every day. They are also barriers I have worked through myself. When it comes to health and fitness, majority of the really hard work happens mentally. My husband often says, “your mind is as strong or as weak as you will it to be.” And honestly, that hits the nail right on the head.
Usually what is stopping us from living a healthier, happier, more vibrant life is one of the following:
- An unwillingness to commit (and potentially a weaker desire to achieve our goal than we’d like to admit).
- Fear of failure.
- Worrying that our loved ones will shut us out for pursuing our goals and dreams (and/or achieving them).
- A victim mindset (blaming our circumstances on others/external forces we cannot control).
- Feelings of overwhelm (and/or a sense of “analysis paralysis”).
So what can you do to turn things around?
For starters, think about which of the above mental roadblocks resonate with you. Which of these stirs up some emotion? It doesn’t necessarily have to be “Ooooh! That’s totally me!” It could be something like “Nuh-uh! Not me!” or “How dare she think that of me!” Any one of the above may make you angry, sad, frustrated, embarrassed and/or ashamed.
Start to dig deeper into the mental blocks that resonate with you and the emotions you feel around them.
Where are they coming from? Are they stemming from a fear of failure? A fear of being alienated or no longer loved? Are you mad at me for calling you out on your BS because it is easier to stick with the stuff you know (and are therefore comfortable with)?
- If you’re playing the victim, it’s time to take responsibility. Stop resisting ownership of your life and actions, constantly explaining away your circumstances. You may not be able to control the cards you are dealt, but you are certainly responsible for your response to them.
- If you’re worried about failing, take comfort in the fact that there really isn’t such a thing as failure. A “failure” is more like a setback when you are working for the long run. You simply brush yourself off and keep on going. “Failures” are simply lessons we learn from, one misstep at a time. And in that case (although we can’t always see it) they are kind of like blessings, aren’t they?
- If you’re concerned that you will be alienated by loved ones at any point, know this: the people who love you most will be there for you no matter what (and if they aren’t, then good riddance). What’s more: most likely they are already cheering you on, you just don’t know it yet. And finally, if they do try to hold you back, know that they are simply afraid of the unknown, and want to protect you. That’s okay. When you succeed, you can show them what they are capable of, too!
Please know that these barriers & the solutions I list above won’t “click” over night. It takes a long time to fully let these truths set in. For many of us, myself included, they will be things we learn over and over again. That’s okay. And to be expected. But what you can do right away, is take action. By taking these problems head on, we can start to overcome them.
So what action should you take?
- Get consistent. Start exercising as often as you can… consistently. That may be 2 times a week to start out. That’s totally fine! When you nail that goal down, you can work on fitting in 3-4 times a week! Find healthy foods you enjoy and eat them often. A few of my favorites? Smoothies. Eggs & toast. Salads. Play around with a few, and then start eating them on a regular basis. Commit to one healthy meal a day that you know you already love, then build on that success.
- Use the knowledge you already have. Stick to the basics: eat more fruits and veggies, limit processed foods, drink lots of water, move more. This is the stuff that, if you follow 80% of the time, will get you results!
- Focus on habit change. If you haven’t read it yet, please check out my article on ditching bad habits for healthier ones here!
- Practice patience with yourself (and a bit of self love) during the process. Simply do your best. When you mess up, forgive yourself for your mistakes and move on. We are in this for the long haul, after all.
- Continue to put yourself, and your health, first. It’s what really, truly matters and you will feel so much better when you do!
And finally, just a few little reminders: a) there is no judgement here and b) we’ve all got sh** to work through. We are in this thing together. If you have questions, concerns, want to talk through a problem you are having, I’m your girl. Comment below, send me a DM on social media or send a lengthy email to [email protected]. I’m here to help – and more likely than not I have been through a similar situation and can totally relate!
Let’s do this thang!
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