Wellfie Wednesday Tip #116: Change Takes Time

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week is to serve as a friendly reminder that making change in your life certainly takes time, especially if you want it to be long lasting.

Change can be a funny thing too, because sometimes your reasons behind making a change can play a significant role. Such as whether those reasons are self driven or created by an outside influence. Traditionally, change that is self driven will be of greater success. And than continuing change usually requires some form of motivation, again internal motivation traditionally the strongest, but we all certainly benefit from an outside push or support system.

Now one of the main reasons I think that change, permanent change for that matter, takes time is because success can be found with achieving small victories, one win at a time. And if it’s a big lifestyle change you’re going for, lets say a combination of eating healthier, exercising more, and getting quality sleep, that takes time. If you were to try and change everything at once, you’d most likely become overwhelmed and than potentially frustrated because your not attaining that complete transformation you had hoped for. But if you took the time and let your small victories and changes add up, you will have a better chance of lasting change. And know that the time is takes to reach your goal will never be the same as someone else.

So pick one thing today to improve upon, something small, and share it! Thanks for all of the support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

  • WW Crew

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #96: Path of Resilience

Happy Wellfie Wednesday and welcome back! This week with is brought to you by Patrick (@TheFuelPhysio). And we hope the topic is something that is applicable to everyone.

     This week I want to talk Resilience and making sure you are aware of your ability to "bounce back" when faced with difficult experiences. "Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors." (1) So essentially how you react when unexpected or unwanted situations come your way. Do you get trapped behind new road blocks or roll with the punches and adapt to a new environment? 

     The American Psychological Association has some great resources on Resilience, including strategies and places to seek help. I'll go ahead and share with you their "10 ways to build resilience," (1) but be sure to check out their site for more in-depth information for each of these: 

  1. Make connections
  2. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems
  3. Accept that change is a part of living
  4. Move toward your goals
  5. Take decisive actions
  6. Look for opportunities for self-discovery
  7. Nurture a positive view of yourself
  8. Keep things in perspective
  9. Maintain a hopeful outlook
  10. Take care of yourself

     I have personally come across several instances recently that have tested my resilience. With starting a new business and planning for a wedding, things never go exactly as I originally hope. But I have learned to accept that things are not always in my control and change can be a positive thing that usually puts me on a new path, but often a path with greater reward. 

     It is important to remember that success comes with having a great support system of friends, family, and loved ones to help you along the way. Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt@kuhnalyssa_spt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew

1. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx

 

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #83 Let It Go(al)

Happy #WellfieWednesday!! This post is brought to you by @AaronPerezPT. Enjoy!

     I often use my contribution to #WellfieWednesday blogs as an excuse to nerd out and dive deeper into a wellness topic. This week is a bit different. I had some random thoughts at the gym a couple weeks ago that are sticking around…so that must mean something. I figured why not attempt to make the rambling voice in my head coherent on paper, and then I immediately regretted this undertaking (insert face palm emoji). So, here goes nothing…

     If you’re anything like me, cracking your back a few good times on a foam roller is your pre-workout supplement of choice. So, as I performed my pre-workout ritual my mind began to ponder,

“What the hell am I doing here?”

     Not in a meaning of life kind of way, but rather, I once again have no plan for today’s workout so let’s figure this out in the next 30 seconds kind of way. This is a common musing from my simple head, but unexpectedly, I delved deeper,

“No, but really, what the hell am I doing here?”

     You see, I treat exercise like almost nothing else in my life. I rarely have goals related to exercise, and hardly ever have a plan even as I’ve already begun a workout. Yet, it’s one aspect of my life I’m most consistent with and enjoy. Isn’t it odd I commit so much time to something I have no specific goal or plan for? In contrast, I spend far more time goal setting for professional aspirations and daily/weekly productivity. I create game plans. Sometimes, I even take the time to write them down. Often, I’m left frustrated at the results. 

     I wondered if my approach to exercise could be applied to other aspects of my life. Then, I thought, well, my relationship towards exercise wasn’t always this way. In high school, I created monthly routines and tracked progress. I spent hours upon hours learning and went to college for this stuff. Maybe I’m able to just enjoy it now because of all the work I’ve put in. I think that’s a fair point, and maybe the early “grind” of goal setting, planning, failing, and trying again is a necessary step to reach a level of enjoyment without expectation. Or, maybe I’m just grasping at straws to rationalize an otherwise lackadaisical approach to fitness. After all, I definitely believe in the benefit of solid exercise prescription and periodization. I try to practice that in programming for patients and fitness clients. Maybe I’m just coo-coo. Right now, you’re probably asking,

“Where the hell is this going?”

     I’m not really sure. But, in a last ditch effort to make this post worth your while, I’ll try to piece together some inspiring conclusion. Goals are great, but should probably come with a warning label: Use responsibly. Common side effects may include frustration, blaming, guilt, and nihilism.  Don’t fall victim to “paralysis by analysis.” Complexity is execution’s kryptonite. Avoid obsessing over the future and outcomes that are not entirely in your control. Be present. After all, if your dreams do come to fruition, you’ll want to enjoy that moment. So, when setting goals I think I’ll start asking myself,

“When I achieve my goal, what will that feel like?”

“Now, do I really need to wait to experience that?”

If you’ve made it this far into the rabbit holes of my thoughts, God bless you. And Happy #WellfieWednesday !!!

     Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt@kuhnalyssa_spt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew

 

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #81: Boost Your Willpower!

     Welcome back! Happy Wellfie Wednesday! This week is brought to you by Patrick @TheFuelPhysio, though partly a variation of a piece Eric @Eric_in_AmERICa did back in 2016, Improving Willpower. I felt this topic was something pertinent to mid-January, as I’ve already started seeing a small decrease in gym attendees.

Eric originally gave a very applicable scenario to most, especially with the start of a new year.

“You decide that you’re tired of feeling out of shape and want to improve your health. You drive to the grocery store and load up of fruits and vegetables, plan out your meal prepping calendar and get your Tupperware ready, dust off that gym membership that’s been hanging on your key ring for months, and curate the perfect playlist of songs to help motivate you through those tough workouts you’re going to crush 5 days a week. You’ll probably have a six-pack just in time to hit the beach next month…

Then the weekend comes and some friends are getting together for drinks, or you’re tired of cooking all week, and inevitably you find yourself eating pizza, throwing away the fruits and veggies that went bad too fast, and regretfully feeling your six-pack dreams wash away (they’re over-rated anyway, right?)”

     His scenario was on point, as most of us want to drastically change all at once and get immediate results. Though, in most cases, we are creatures of habit. That being we don’t usually like change and reverting back to the old ways of eating or enjoying long hours of television are simply easier.

     However, behavior change and the willpower to continue on don’t happen overnight, it takes time. So as your moving through the rest of this month, remember the concept of “Small Victories” – looking at daily occurrences as an opportunity to fuel positive changes. Passing on that extra cookie – victory. Having a water at lunch instead of a soda – victory. Taking a nice walk around the neighborhood – victory. Each of these small victories will inevitably produce a snowball effect, creating a more powerful decision making process throughout your day and loading you up with positive reinforcement, improving your willpower and putting you one step closer to a healthier life.

     Don’t give up! Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt@kuhnalyssa_spt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #58: Change Talk: Six Sources of Influence

     Happy Wellfie Wednesday! A few weeks ago, Aaron discussed #ScienceSecrets for health and longevity. The point of that post (#SPOILERALERT) was that knowledge alone is not enough to change behavior. Willpower alone is also not powerful enough to change behavior. So, what are the key ingredients to behavior change? That’s the topic of today’s post!

    Humans are hard. We’re amazingly complex in every facet of our being. Our behaviors are no different. Even our most mindless actions are the result of several sources of influence. Unveiling the sources of influence that affect our behavior can simplify our complicated lives. More importantly, awareness of these influences allow us to address each for a comprehensive behavior change plan. So, let’s reveal six sources of influence.

From the book Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success

1 & 2: Personal Motivation and Ability

     Willpower is usually where behavior change starts and often where it ends. Think about the times you’ve tried to make a lifestyle change. What inspired you to act? Was your motivation strong? If you got all the way to action, it’s likely your motivation was indeed strong! Which can then make it all the more upsetting when we fail to sustain our efforts.  Don’t fall into the willpower trap. Strong desire can be the spark that gets the fire started, but we need more than motivation to keep the fire burnin’.  

     So, tap into your personal motivation. Dig deep to find out what’s driving your desire for change. And get weird. I mean use descriptive language and paint a vivid picture of what the future looks like if you don’t change versus if you do change. Then, add some skill to your will. Be mindful of crucial moments. These are moments where you are most tempted to behave in ways that contradict your best intentions. Develop sayings and rules to follow during these crucial moments. Turn bad days into good data. Remember, progress over perfection. 

3 & 4: Social Motivation and Ability

     Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “You are the average of the five people closest to you.” There is some truth to this. Humans are social beings. Much of our behaviors are influenced by our social connections. For example, obesity is in part a social disease. Sometimes our close friends might actually be accomplices to unhealthy behaviors. Recognizing this is half the battle. The other half can be more challenging. Crucial conversations can turn accomplices into friends. These discussions may be difficult to have, and you can’t expect everyone to support your change efforts. Ultimately, you may need to separate yourself from the unwilling. At the same time, you can discover new friends and support groups to encourage you. Think about a game of tug-of-war. You want as many people pulling towards your side to increase your chances of success. 

5 & 6: Structural Motivation and Ability

     The last sources of influence deal with our economy and environment. Humans are incredibly intelligent, and yet, indubitably irrational. That’s a lot of “I’s” (Shout out to the synonym function on Microsoft word). Our behavior is often influenced more by short-term pleasure than long-term consequences. Inverting the economy improves our likelihood to perform beneficial behaviors. Incentivize good behaviors, and raise the price on bad behaviors. Importantly, your incentives don’t need to be big. Your intrinsic motivation should be the primary incentive. Also, put some skin in the game. Humans are far more motivated to avoid loss than to receive a similar gain. In fact, there is a website dedicated to this “loss aversion” strategy https://www.stickk.com/ with all sorts of success stories.

     Finally, consider your environment. Our environment has an enormous influence on our behavior. It often works its powerful influence in subtle ways. For example, a larger plate size encourages us to eat larger portions. Similarly, the built environment has an influence on how physically active we are. The key is to first become aware of how your environment affects your behavior. Then, change your space to support your goals. Distance yourself from temptation. While “Out of sight, out of mind” may not always work, it will be much more successful than having frequent stare downs with temptation. Enhance your environment by providing visual cues of desired behaviors. For example, having your gym clothes already laid out in the morning may cue you to get up and put them on rather than keeping them in the closet. Write down your change plan. The simple act of writing it down dramatically increases your chances of success. It will also allow you to make changes. Expect to make changes. We are rarely successful with behavior change on our first attempt.  

Summary

     The goal of all the above is make the healthy choice the easy choice. Addressing all six sources of influence will greatly increase your likelihood of success. Check out the short YouTube video below to find out more! Reach out to the #WellfieWednesday crew and let us know what you’re working to change! Thanks for reading, and best of luck to you! And be sure to tag the WW crew members in your post (@PBernerSPT@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

Change Anything Stats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBIQLmESeU8&t=2s 

- WW Crew

Wellness Wednesday Tip #2: Improving Willpower

Happy Wellness Wednesday friends!

     Let me know if this scenario sounds familiar. You decide that you’re tired of feeling out of shape and want to improve your health. You drive to the grocery store and load up of fruits and vegetables, plan out your meal prepping calendar and get your Tupperware ready, dust off that gym membership that’s been hanging on your key ring for months, and curate the perfect playlist of songs to help motivate you through those tough workouts you’re going to crush 5 days a week. You’ll probably have a six-pack just in time to hit the beach next month…

     Then the weekend comes and some friends are getting together for drinks, or you’re tired of cooking all week, and inevitably you find yourself eating pizza, throwing away the fruits and veggies that went bad too fast, and regretfully feeling your six-pack dreams wash away (they’re over-rated anyway, right?)

How’d I do?

     If this sounds familiar, trust me you’re not the only one. I’ve found myself in this scenario too many times to count, which is why for this week’s #WellfieWednesday I wanted to give a tip on willpower.

     When it comes to making changes in your life, I’m a big fan of the concept of “Small Victories” – looking at daily occurrences as an opportunity to fuel positive changes. Examples include choosing not have one of those cookies someone brought in to work (victory), skipping the soda and having water with lunch (victory), going for a walk after work instead of sitting on the couch (victory), getting out of bed without hitting snooze (ehh not-so-small victory).

     Each of these small victories produces a snowball effect, creating a more powerful decision making process throughout the day and loading you up with positive reinforcement to continue to make healthier changes in the future. I’ve found this method to be much more effective because it frames the challenge of improving your life in small successive steps, rather than facing one giant abstract goal of getting “healthier”.

     Give it a shot this week and let me know what you think. Reach out on Twitter to me (@Eric_in_AmERICa) or Patrick (@PBernerSPT) and send us your selfies of you doing something to improve your wellness (aka Wellfie) tagged with #WellfieWednesday to keep the word spreading. 

- Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT

- Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT