The point of no return. Does this sound familiar?You have an area of your life where you are not doing whatever it is you know you should be doing. In fact, you have NOT been doing what you know you should be doing for so long that you have decided that you have reached the point of no return – the conviction that things are beyond hope and the belief that taking any action at this point would be an exercise in futility.I feel fairly confident that most of us have at least one area that this applies to and, more likely, several areas (some examples: regular exercise, eating healthfully, getting enough sleep, managing our stress, decluttering our homes, smoking, drinking, watching too much tv, and feeling isolated).This past weekend, I came face to face with a concrete example from my own life. Five years ago, I bought a car that was only six months old – the newest vehicle I have ever owned. I vowed, this time around, to be as devoted to keeping it clean as I knew I would be to maintaining it mechanically. Well, you can guess what happened or didn’t happen next. Much to my chagrin, I began to notice that the dirt and grime on the car’s exterior seemed baked in. My heart sank. Despite my original good intentions, I had missed the opportunity to maintain my car cosmetically, and now it was too late. I half-heartedly brought it to an automatic car wash but, sure enough, the toughest spots remained. I felt defeated and disappointed but not surprised.But then I heard this tiny voice inside me say not to give up quite yet. So, I decided to take a stab at washing the car myself. I went to Target (wearing a mask and social distancing, of course!), purchased a bucket, sponge, and towel and went to work in the hot mid-afternoon Atlanta sun. And guess what? It took A LOT of elbow grease (and climbing on a step stool so that I could reach the roof) but those pesky spots came out! Can you sense the satisfied grin that stretches across my face as I recall the wonderful feeling of triumph I experienced?! Not only can I now take pride in how my Corolla looks, but I truly believe I have prolonged its life by keeping any rust at bay.The belief that it is too late to change one’s behavior has many names. You can call it a thought distortion, a limiting belief, negative self-talk, or a self-fulfilling prophecy. These are the stories we tell ourselves that keep us stuck. They may serve some purpose in the short-run, but they do not serve our long-term best interest – our desire to be vital, healthy, and happy people.So, now it’s your turn.
It’s Wellbeing Wednesday, so here’s my invitation to you. If you are a bonafide couch potato who long ago gave up any hope of becoming more active, I want you to take the following simple (but not easy) steps:
- Imagine a future version of yourself where you are energetic, move with ease, and have a deep conviction that you are doing what you need to do to support your health and well-being.
- Start talking back to your belief that you have reached the point of no return. You will have to be quick and alert; these kinds of thoughts are so ingrained that they often come and go without us even noticing. What can you say when you hear the siren call to remain on the couch?
Here are some suggestions:“Moving even a little will improve my health”“Once I start moving, I know I will start to feel better”“Moving regularly will give me the energy to do the things I enjoy most”“I want to be the best version of myself, not only for myself but for the people who mean the most to me”
- Start taking small steps to increase your physical activity. You are setting out to create a new lifestyle so focus on activities you actually enjoy or believe can come to genuinely enjoy over time. Recruit family and friends. Build slowly but surely. Pay attention to all the positive ways moving makes you feel. Celebrate your efforts.
- Finally, believe that you have not reached a point of no return. There is time to positively impact your health and well-being. All you need to do is get started. We are all capable of change. Including you.
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