Has your life ever felt like Groundhogs Day (a great, old Bill Murray movie if you have not seen it), the same thing happening over and over, day after day? It happens to all of us, and it can creep in like a fog. When this happens life begins to feel tedious, monotonous, and one can simply coast through the day. This feeling can pervade into every part of one’s life; work, relationships, hobbies, and especially exercise. When these daily events become drab and boring, often times we choose to abandon that particular thing in our life. This can be a conscious or unconscious decision.
So how, specifically dealing with exercise and diet, do we get unstuck?
- MAKE SMALL CHANGES/ADD VARIETY. Often, people get stuck (or plateau)with their exercise regime it is due to lack of progression. The easiest way to overcome this plateau is to simply change your workout by either switching the order of the exercises you currently do, change the days of the week you work certain body parts, and alter the number of reps, sets, weight, etc within your workout.
- FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. Most people do not enjoy exercising; it can be challenging and painful and uncomfortable. Having a accountability partner not only gives you someone to lean on and go through the process with, they can also make exercising more fun. Check out this article for data on accountability partners: http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/choosing-weight-loss-buddy#1. Another way to increase accountability is to use a diet and exercise tracker. These tools not only help increase activity levels, but also help with making proper dietary choices/track calories.
- CHEAT…ON YOUR DIET. That’s right, I said it. Have a craving, satisfy it. Studies show that people who deny themselves from having a cheat day or meal will end up binging more in the future. Here’s an example: You want a cookie, you tell yourself that you can’t have that cookie or you will ruin your diet for the day, time passes, you think about that cookie more and more, one day you cannot fight the temptation and instead of eating one cookie you eat an entire sleeve. Of course you cannot do this every time you want to cheat on your diet, but if you focus on the 80(clean)/20(not so clean) plan, then you can allow yourself one day a week to indulge. It’s the best of both worlds☺.
- KEEP A POSITIVE MENTAL OUTLOOK. Getting stuck happens to all of us; it is how we deal with it that defines whether we stay there or not. By staying positive, I believe, we can overcome any obstacle. A negative, defeatist attitude not only makes the situation seem worse, but can also lead to even more problems. If we are looking at the example of exercise, this is what I have seen: a person gets stuck/plateaus, they keep going through the same motions expecting different results, get defeated and give up on exercise all together, then lose any gains they have made. Now, if during that same process, one stayed positive, then they would realize that it is not the end of the world, ask for help/look for ways to change, and can restart their progression.
Getting stuck is a part of life, but as you can see there are ways we can all get unstuck. While I used diet and exercise for my examples, in reality, these steps can be taken to help break through any “stuckness” in your life.