A Google search of the word diet yields 288 000 000 results…and in 0.14 seconds, no less. PubMed hosts hundreds of thousands of diet-related articles…published in the last decade alone. My local bookstore has close to 4000 books with the word “diet” in the title. Every day, we receive newsletters or emails, read articles and blogs, listen to television, radio shows and podcasts, see tweets, pins, posts, instagrams not to mention ads and billboards…
That’s a whole lot of information.
And information we’re asking for: we’re typing the words into the search engines, we’re buying the books at the store and we’re feeding the viewer ratings for the shows on TV, radio and online.
But it’s as though this overload of information comes with a quicksand effect: stand in it too long and you’re left stuck and spiralling.
You know the feeling: “I know what I’m supposed to do…but I just don’t do it”. Something has you stuck and it can be a painful and paralyzing experience.
And when it comes to wellness, we all know at our core that we should be eating less processed foods, eating more vegetables and sweating every day…
Yet, we’re always on the hunt for new information, more knowledge, before applying the basics that we know to be true.
Unfortunately, your health can only benefit from what you do, what you act on, not from what you know.
So, in case you’re feeling stuck…
5 steps for snapping out of idle and jumping into action
Step 1: Clean up the information pollution
You’ll never take action if information overload has you stuck in your tracks trying to take it all in. Instead of soaking information mindlessly, do some quality control, slow down the flow by turning down the faucet: clear your inbox and all other information sources of spammy content with no added value.
Step 2: Remind yourself why you should
Exercising is a classic example of something we know we should do, but don’t.
From experience, doing something “because it’s good for you” isn’t a strong enough incentive for change. To act on something, you need to want it enough. And to want it, you need to be fuelled by real motivation. And for real motivation, you need to dig a little deeper.
The goal is to snap out of “idle” by unrooting your motivation and finding your true “reason why”. Here’s an example:
I should exercise because…
…My doctor told me to.
…It will help manage my blood sugar.
…It will keep me in good health.
…It will give me more energy.
…It will allow me to keep up with my kids.
…It will make me feel better about myself.
…It will make me happier, make me a better parent and better spouse.
Now that’s a much better incentive than “because it’s good for you” don’t you think?
Step 3: Start small
…and don’t wait until tomorrow.
The longer you wait to act, the more likely those goals and that motivation are to dissolve and the deeper you will sink into your comfort zone. And this my friend, is the space that yields the least change. I mean, why would you want to change? It’s called the comfort zone for a reason.
My physics is a little rusty, but I remember Newton’s first law of motion: an object in motion, stays in motion.
So just start. Even with a small step, as insignificant as it may seem in the scope of things, find it in you to take the step that will get you out of quicksand and into motion.
Step 4. Have it tailored
Work with a coach, a professional, someone with the ability to look at you objectively and guide you towards positive change at a pace and in a way that works best for YOU.
Because the fact of the matter is this: what you hear and what you read in mainstream media may be useful, in theory. But in practice? Maybe not.
Mass information may never serve you because it was never written for you. It doesn’t consider your reality. Your schedule. Your struggles and successes. Your willingness to change. And this lack of specificity may be what’s holding you back.
Get the help. Have the information filtered, tailored and digested to fit your needs. Save all the time and money you would spend on information that may never serve you and invest in yourself by partnering with a professional.
Step 5: Show your fear who’s boss.
Sometimes, the quicksand that’s holding us back from taking action and living more healthfully isn’t information overload or lack of motivation..it’s fear.
- Fear of being judged
- Fear of failing
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of succeeding…
Sure, change can be a scary thing, but are any of these fears worth passing up an opportunity to reach your goals?
It’s up to you. The only way to know for sure is to look at fear rationally. Figure out what you’re truly afraid of and how you can address it, fearlessly.
Fear of being judged:
“I’m new at the gym. I feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing and I hate the thought of people watching and judging me.”
- I’ll avoid peak gym hours and go when it’s quieter.
- I’ll buddy-up and go to the gym with a friend who makes me feel at ease.
- I’ll hire a personal trainer to show me the movements and give me the confidence to do things on my own.
- So what if they stare?! I’ll look like a goof and I don’t care. They were beginners at some point to.
Fear of failure:
“But what if I’m no good? Or what if it’s too hard and I can’t stick to it? I’ll just get disappointed again.”
- I’ll set small goals that I know I can handle.
- If it’s too difficult I’ll have it scaled down and get better progressively.
- I’ll tell all my friends and family about my goal to make me accountable and ask for support.
- Ok so I skipped a week. No big deal. I’m back on track today.
Do you ever feel stuck not doing what you know you should? How do you snap out of it?