When I started out as a personal trainer I was well and truly a prescriber. I dished out nutrition plans and prescribed workouts. I just thought that giving the right information was the job of a trainer or coach.
Thinking about the mind and how it affects our ability to eat well, adhere to exercise and to live a happy life was so far out of my radar at the time.
I mean, if someone just tells you how to eat and what exercise to do then you’ll get great results, it’s just a basic formula, right?
Now, when I look back on the way of thinking I had and that many trainers still do, I understand the logic. Who wouldn’t want that simplicity to work?
The problem arises when we forget that we are all human.
We humans lead busy lives.
As well as having a lack of spare time, we have kids, social lives, deadlines, hobbies, good mood days, bad mood days and habits so ingrained within us that we are completely unaware of them.
We also know what foods are good for us and that cronuts are not so good for us, but we eat them anyway.
Just trying to stick to a nutrition plan without considering any of the above will likely lead to failure and frustration.
We are complex
Working on habit changes as opposed to strict food plans goes a long way to helping this issue.
Working on habits is still a process and we all have some sort of vision of where we want to be with our bodies and health.
When we constantly set out to achieve goals that are dear to us, does achieving them actually create lasting happiness or is it just a temporary feeling.
This is directly linked to health, fitness and getting in shape.
For example, It’s all too common to set a weight goal, achieve it, then push the boundaries of the goal to a greater weight loss without having a true awareness and appreciation of the success.
Of course, I’m not saying we should all stop setting goals. Creating goals is useful to work out where we want to be and a way to plot how we can get there.
What I am saying is, what’s the point of achieving a goal if it doesn’t give you a deep feeling of happiness or fulfilment in life.
We’ll end up forever chasing goals and achievements without developing a strong sense of happiness and appreciation in today and in this very moment.
We all want to be happy.
By practising happiness we can not only grow our fulfilment in the now, we can create a positive platform and a better environment to make changes in our lives.
This applies not just to nutrition and fitness but to all aspects of life, like your relationships, career, business and the things that are most dear and meaningful to you.
Appreciation over expectation
Over the last year or so I’ve started to make happiness more of a priority in my life.
It sounds strange, but practising happiness is a thing.
A deep sense of happiness doesn’t just happen by accident. It happens when you have a strong sense of fulfilment and you can achieve it in many ways.
There are tonnes of ways you can do this, some of which include: getting into a flow state (when you’re 100% focussed on a task), practising mindfulness, exercising, raising your self awareness, letting go and so on.
For me though, I think there’s one practise which is the easiest to incorporate into everyday life and has big rewards.
Gratitude, or simply having an appreciation of things, moments, experiences, people in our lives helps us to check in with ourselves now and again.
By having a process that helps us to recognise and raise our awareness of the things in life that we are grateful for, we can start to appreciate just how lucky we are.
Gratitude combats anxiety and fear.
Gratitude helps us to take stock, to stop and reflect on our situation.
Gratitude helps us to think about what we’re so appreciative to have right now in our lives (our family, our health, coffee, snowy mountains, steak, and the small things)…
..and not dwell on what we expect from life (a better car, a promotion, no hassle, no obstacles, a bigger house, results with no effort).
Trying to improve anything in life generally starts with raising your awareness of it. That’s exactly what this gratitude habit aims to do.
Raise your awareness of the positivity in your life which you can appreciate.
- Grab a notebook
- Write down 3 things you are grateful for today.
- Big or small.
- Do this daily in the morning or evening or both.
- Try this for one month.
Eg. I’m grateful today for the support from my partner, the kindness of the stranger I saw today, the fresh coffee smell this morning.
This can be anything big or small, but I recommend a mix of big (having my partner in my life) to the small things (having a warm drink on a cold day).
See how this practise affects your outlook on life, your mood and your general happiness levels.
When writing down your gratitude list, try and internalise the thought. Really think about what your writing, visualise the thought and picture it like a video.
Smell the smells, hear what was or wasn’t said and truly feel what was going on. This will help to make the gratitude feel more real and generate a greater sense of appreciation.