What aspect of self-improvement should we focus on? In point of fact, are they really separate entities or are they tightly intertwined, so much so that we cannot let any of these become less than another?
Week by week, we tend to focus almost solely on the physical. What do I weigh? How did I eat? I didn’t exercise enough. How was my sleep? Everything becomes linear; we become only our physical selves rather than balancing other aspects of who we are.
We cannot let our learning skills slide; it’s important that we continue to grow in knowledge, whether that be specific to your profession, or just general learning. Reading is so very important at any age; as you read something that gives you joy you grow in confidence. Learning does not stop after we finish school. That is the beginning. In point of fact, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. However, working on improving our knowledge in any area creates confidence and will spill over on how we attack our physical selves. I find more and more people reading and learning about nutrition and exercise and that gives them more power to find what works for them.
Are you stuck on exercise? Well, there are many videos and books to help you figure out what will work for you, probably even motivate you to try something different. As a very small example, I was listening to a podcast by Dr. Peter Attia and they asked him what exercises he would do now so that he would be ‘prepared’ for age 60 or 70 and beyond. He came up with ‘a goblet squat lifting 30 pounds’ so that he would have no trouble lifting his grandchildren. Pushups, so that he could get out of a pool without having to use a ladder, and an overhead press, so that, when older, he could lift his bag into an overhead bin on a train or plane. These are called functional moves, yet we forget or simply avoid them, not thinking of the independence and joy they will give us if we have strength and mobility as we age.
Emotional. How many of us work on our emotional selves? I mean really work. Often we are stuck in our own anxieties and worries and we don’t make use of available material to help us reconnect with ourselves. This is so very important because it is those very feelings of worry, anger or depression that make us turn to food. At very least, learn easy meditation techniques that (even if temporary) quiet the troubled mind. There is so much out there. I discovered ‘Daily OM’ with a multitude of courses one can take which might help clarify your inner self or co-dependence, or self-esteem.
All of this, of course, is to help ground ourselves, learn about ourselves and be happy with who we are.
If all we do is focus on food, we may be fine for a while, then aspects of life deflect us and we find ourselves saying those all too familiar words “I can’t get back on track”.
Start your day with purpose. Get up 10 minutes early. Do 10 squats. Make some tea or coffee. Write in a journal who you are and what you want to do today. Maybe read one short chapter of a book that motivates you. Listen to a TED talk on the way to work (now there is a site with tons of information on any topic you want—or learn something you knew nothing about).
We are more than the scale, or the next meal or snack. Don’t forget the complete person you are.
You can do it. Just never stop trying.