How often do you do something just to do it? Compare that with how often you do something because it affects someone else, someone else told you to do it, or someone else will notice that you have done it. Odds are greater that you were motivated by the latter. Since when do we have to seek others' approval for all of the things we do? There is something so humble in getting the job done without the positive reinforcement from someone else. It's like we should behave like no one is watching!
A lot of health and wellness should be done "in the dark." What that means is, doing the work that no one else can necessarily see. Your loved ones can see you leaving to go to the gym. Fellow gym goers can see you working hard to succeed. Relatives will see the fruits of your hard work come fourth of July when you've lost some weight.
What no one sees is that you've cut down your sugar intake. No one sees you staying faithful to your diet, even on stressful or busy days. No one sees you taking the stairs instead of the elevator. No one sees you parking further away in parking lots to increase the amount of time you have to walk.
Little things are just that when we don't pair them with other little things. Small changes done in succession, and on a consistent basis, will get you where you want to go - you just have to exercise one more thing - patience. Little things like keeping a food journal may seem insignificant, but the results of keeping a food journal aren't. You become more aware of which foods are nutrient-dense, you learn the value of what good nutrition can make you feel like when you keep an active schedule, and most importantly - you'll see changes in your body composition.
I'd like to share some examples of things that I have done in the "dark" that I feel have made positive impacts in my life over the past few weeks. I recently quit drinking pop! For many of you, that may come as a shock that I even drank that stuff in the first place, but even personal trainers are humans! For years, I told myself that it was my "weekend treat" and I rationed myself two 12-ounce cans on Saturday and Sunday. I'm not entirely sure what made me decide to stop, it was something that I just felt I didn't need to do anymore! The results I have seen have not been ground-breaking, but I feel much better on Saturdays and Sundays than I ever did, as well as Mondays and Tuesdays! Obviously, the ton and a half of sugar that I'm not drinking anymore has helped with that, and I haven't weighed myself recently but I feel leaner.
Now, those four pops on the weekends may not seem significant, but I also made recent changes in other areas of my life. For instance, I no longer am drinking Pedialyte. If you don't know, Pedialyte is a drink that is high in electrolytes and is most commonly used for children, but adults drink it too in cases of dehydration. What I knew at the time, and didn't think was too significant, was that Pedialyte is relatively high in sugar content. On a scale of water to gatorade, it is halfway to gatorade. Since then, I have moved on to an electrolyte drink that is still high in electrolytes but has very little sugar. Combining this recent change with stopping pop intake, you can imagine that life is a little less sweet for me, but I don't mind it.
The important part, for me, was to find something that could replace what I had lost. It is not about quitting everything cold turkey. It is about finding out what works for you and makes you feel better. I don't look at this transition as something I am robbing myself of, it is merely an opportunity to find something that makes me feel better!
Hopefully I have inspired you to take a closer look at those things that you do - and are significant - but others don't necessarily see. Small changes can have big impacts down the road. So when it comes to changing something, do it for yourself and not necessarily for those around you. Whether they see it or not, make sure it makes you a better person. Dance in the dark, behave like no one is watching, but push yourself to be greater. All ways.
Jack is a Tri Fitness Coach, and his credentials include NASM CPT, B.S. in Kinesiology, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. If you’d like help setting and achieving your health and wellness goals, please contact Jack at email@example.com to set up an appointment.