One of the things I hear from a lot of people I talk to is reasons they “can’t” exercise, eat healthy, sleep more, drink enough water, etc. Name the healthy habit, and I can give you 1000 reasons I’ve heard for why people can’t do it. Some of these reasons are valid. Some are less so. What they all have in common—at least from my perspective—is that they’re focusing on totally the wrong thing.
My Soap Box message for today is: Stop focusing on what you can’t do and why you can’t do it, and start looking for what you can do and doing it.
When you’re focused on the things you feel like you should be doing that you can’t do, you’re likely to feel guilty. Negative feelings about areas you’re “failing” in can lead to withdrawal, compensatory behaviors, shame, depression, etc. Nothing good has ever come from being focused on “shoulds” and “can’ts”.
Shifting your focus to what you CAN do can be life-changing.
So maybe you’ll never sit down at the table to eat a lovingly prepared, balanced breakfast of whole foods. What CAN you do? Can you make a quickly prepared, balanced protein shake and drink it on the go? Can you put together a healthy breakfast the night before so you can eat it in the time available the next morning?
Maybe you’re never going to walk or bike to work because you can’t shower at work or you live someplace where it’s completely impractical or impossible. Maybe you can’t even power walk or do yoga at lunch. What CAN you do to get more activity into your workday? Can you park far away from work and walk from the back of the parking lot? Can you take stairs instead of the elevator? Are standing desks or yoga ball chairs an option for your workspace? Is there a fitness class you can start attending on your way home?
Maybe you’re a parent and will not get a real night’s sleep until your kids are out of the house. Maybe coffee is the only thing that keeps you from crashing every day. Can you also drink plenty of water? (Maybe you dread the extra bathroom trips…) Still—water will help with your mental processes, it’ll rehydrate you after all that coffee… it should even take some of the edge of your fatigue.
The point is: there’s probably a lot you CAN do that’ll be, at least, “better than.” Maybe it isn’t what whatever guru is advocating in whatever trendy lifestyle book/ show/ article/ website, but if it takes you even one step closer to feeling better and being healthier, go for it.
A huge part of the service I provide is helping my clients see where they CAN improve. If you’ve read this far and are shaking your head because I obviously don’t know your life, try me. Bring me your can’ts and your shoulds, and I will send you away with some CANs!