“What have I done?!”
The question my pounding brain asked my body as my stomach quietly tore itself to shreds following the great baklava consumption of 2016. It was another team party, and I couldn’t resist the homemade sweets calling from the dessert table.
Why did I decide that was a good idea?
After some contemplation time, and a fast the next day, I found that I had reasoned with myself. I had “deserved the right to eat anything I wanted because I had been doing so well with my healthy habits”. I really deserved that sick day….
This type of thinking is at the heart of all stunted, stalled, or yet-to-begin healthy changes. We call these kinds of reasoning invisible scripts. They are assumptions that are so hardwired into how we see the world and our choices that we don’t even question them. They involve an inner voice telling us what we should do, need to do, or can’t do.
The invisible script that I practice in the above example is that I “deserved a day to eat way too much because I had been eating well and working out”. Why is that a reason? Who made that a law? My experiences growing up, cultural cues, and narratives I’ve heard preached told me it was acceptable even though my body reminded me otherwise.
What are some of the most used invisible scripts that get in the way of healthy habit formation?
I would love to start, but I don’t have enough time. I’m so busy.
There is current research that ONE MINUTE of intense activity is as helpful to your physiology as 45 minutes of moderate activity. One minute. We can all make time for that. If it’s eating better foods that you need to focus on there are tons of quick healthy meals you can whip up within 10 minutes and meal prepping throughout the week can make that time even shorter. Working people of the world, and especially Americans, have been conditioned to wear busyness as a badge of honor. The less time you have, the more important you are. We have it all backward. The more time you can spend on yourself, and more importantly, your health; the better you will be able to show up in every single other area of your life.
I want to eat healthy or join that gym, but it’s so expensive.
I frequent the oasis that is Whole Foods Market. If I had a dollar for every time someone cracked a joke saying “…you mean Whole Paycheck..?”, I would have more than enough to make another run to Whole Foods. Everyone has heard the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that is what eating healthy whole foods is doing for you. You are reaping the immediate rewards of energy and recovery that proper nutrition provides you, while helping prevent poor health down the line. The same goes for joining you local gym or fitness classes that you love. You get much more energy and vitality from the fitness you are gaining than any money you are investing. Let your money actually work for you. You are playing the short game and the long game. We need to rid our CHEAP and scarcity psyche that keeps us from our optimal health.
I know exercise is good for you, I just don’t know what to do.
The excuse that sucks so much wasted time from our lives. There is this thing called the internet and a search engine called Google. It can find almost anything you could ever want. Want to do crossfit? There are workouts and websites for that. Want to get better at handstand walks? There are courses for that. You might have a case of information overload. In that case, get a personal trainer, join a fitness class, or your local boot camp meetup. Start your fitness journey by having someone tell you what to do. Just get started!
These are just three of thousands of invisible scripts that have been muttered as reasons to not start living a healthy life. When it comes down to it, they are just psychological excuses. They hold you back from the energy, vitality, and amazingness you could be experiencing.
Take a moment today to reach deep down and explore what invisible scripts you might be telling yourself about your health and fitness. Journal about them for 20 minutes. Call them out! When did they start? What can you do to break through them? What relationships are enabling these scripts to take hold? How can you get around cultural expectations? Make a plan to crush those scripts and execute past your previous excuses.
If we all realized that taking care of ourselves allows us to show up our best for everyone else, the world would have so much more positive energy.
Get curious about these scripts and realize that understanding them leads to getting past them.
Call out your invisible scripts that surround your health! Take the next step today.
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