We talk a lot about building healthy habits like weekly meal prep, drinking water, scheduling time for exercise and going to bed earlier to get at least 7 hours of sleep. We stress the importance of making these habits part of our daily routine.
Many of us can stick to these habits in the short term, but once progress starts to slow down it becomes difficult to celebrate micro-changes as we start to approach attainment of long term goals. While things like a half pound gain in muscle mass or 0.5% loss in body fat are still amazing accomplishments, it is easy to begin to feel discouraged.
When progress starts to slow it is sometimes easy to lose motivation. We may find that we start to engage again in some of our previous habits, like adding in more desserts, skipping workouts, or opting to skip meal prep for the week ahead.
This is when it’s more important than ever to exercise your “NO” muscle. This “NO” muscle is your mindset and it is powerful! As you work hard to create routines with nutrition and make things like meal prep and eating real food part of your foundation, it’s important to stay focused on the ultimate goal of long term health.
When we make a point to say NO to things that will steer us off track, enjoying things like the occasional dessert will not derail us or our progress. When we create more mental toughness, we accomplish our long term goals, maintain our progress, and decrease our risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes as we age.
So, what are some exercises to strengthen your NO muscle? Here are 3 ideas:
- Change your terminology: Practice using more empowered statements such as “I choose not to eat” rather than “I can’t eat” to improve your odds of making healthier food choices.
- Stand up for yourself: If someone offers you a choice that you know is not healthy, it is ok to practice self-care and respect your own feelings, rather than fearing you may offend someone by saying no to their offer. It is ok to politely say “No thank you” and stay on track with your goals.
- Go into each situation with a plan: Whether it’s going to a party with a healthy snack, like a tray of cut-up vegetables, or researching the menu before you head to a restaurant, go into each situation with a plan to stay on track with your goals. Your mind is better primed to make good decisions and say no to temptations when you have a plan.
Be on a mission to create the healthiest version of yourself. Create a consistent mission for yourself to do something healthy each day. Have a motto of “I’m choosing to make a better choice” and demonstrate it. The more you practice, the more this becomes a routine that will feel effortless over time. Exercise your “NO” muscle and #livewithvitality!