Moving through busy lives, we don’t often pause to question where we are heading or how we are getting there. We can sometimes feel pushed and pulled along by stressful work situations, family commitments and the daily tasks that keep life spinning. We can even start to wear ‘busy’ as a badge of honour to show how valuable and irreplaceable we are.
Stress, including negative or limited thinking, has a big impact on how we feel and that in turn impacts how likely we are to stick to a healthy lifestyle or slide back into old ‘default’ habits.
For many, food has become the soft blanket that protects from the stress and pain of life, numbing out the bad along with the good. When we have new goals in life however, such as losing, and then maintaining, weight, we need to find new ways to address the same situations and find a more positive process and result.
Our mindset is what we believe to be true and we don’t tend to challenge it. Such as, “I’m no good at running, so I can’t do it”, “I have to do everything before I can relax” or “I’m so busy, I deserve this treat.”
When we take a moment to listen to ourselves we can start to hear some of the things we might be believing to be true, whether they are or not, and regardless of whether they are in fact helpful to achieving what we want.
These limiting beliefs about ourselves (and the world around us) can often mean we stay the way we’ve always been, in that ‘default’ habit, and can’t easily sustain the changes that would serve us better.
Taking a moment to check your current mindset can help you to get clear on what’s really important at the moment and where you might be feeling limited, small or stressed, in order to find better solutions and hopefully a renewed kindness to yourself too.
How To Manage Your Mindset like Your Calendar
(3 questions to get clear quickly)
What is really important to me this week?
Any good calendar starts with realistic scheduling. Gain some choice back in your life calendar by prioritising. Perhaps it’s an important meeting or a special school recital. Perhaps it’s your daily walk and taking time to plan and prepare your meals so you can eat good food during the week.
Where are my stress points and what am I telling myself about them?
Planning also needs preparation for what's ahead. Identifying your stress points can help alleviate issues and support better productivity. A stress point could be trying to get from the meeting to the recital in time, or other commitments crowding in on your allocated time for the things that you need to support your health.
You might be telling yourself “I don’t have enough time” “I’m not as important as they are/this is” or “I’ve never done that so I can’t start now.”
Is what I’m telling myself true?
Finally, who wants wasted minutes and missed meetings cluttering up their day? Our minds are designed to make great leaps in order to process all the information at hand. Questioning these thoughts taking up space (and time stressing about them) can help us to see them for what they are and to find new solutions. Even if something is 'true' or a fact, we can start to see what choices we have available.
“I don’t have enough time” Is this true?
Have you simply over committed your time and need to go back to step 1 and reprioritise or reschedule?
“I’m not as important as they are/this is” Is this true?
It might feel like it, but we know that actually we are just as important as anyone else. Perhaps some self-care is needed to even things out, or some boundaries put in place. Perhaps you need to recognise you are making a choice rather than just doing something out of feelings of obligation.
“I can’t start now” Is this true?
Perhaps there is something you need to learn, or need to start at a basic level before expecting yourself to be a pro. Perhaps you’ve put unrealistic pressure on yourself and need to ease into a new habit for it to stick.
Making room to get clear on your mindset in the same way you manage your calendar can also make a big difference to how you feel heading into your week (Mondayitis be gone!). Studies by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck showed that developing a‘growth’ mindset- being open to doing things differently, creates more motivation, resilience and even greater productivity. All the things we’d like for a healthy and fulfilling life, free to move forwards once again.