On a very basic level, a lifestyle change starts with the question, ‘will the reward be worth the sacrifice?’ The sacrifice (or perceived sacrifice) being the effort you have to make, time you will have to devote etc and the reward being how much better you’re going to feel, look and perform as a result. When you’re starting out (or even an old hand at something but stuck in a routine), what seems to be a relatively small change for some may seem overwhelming to you! ‘Just start by running 5km’ or ‘just exercise for 30 minutes per day’, or ‘just cut out bread,’ may not sound like much, but when you’re venturing into the unfamiliar, uncomfortable territory of change, they can seem like pretty big sacrifices. Ironically, often we put the pressure on ourselves:- we focus so heavily on the outcome, the perfect body, that we feel we need to do as much as possible as soon as possible to achieve it. It’s all or nothing, and if our bodies and minds don’t like it, we must just toughen up, right?

So, it’s day one of the NEW ME quest and you decide to ‘just run 5 km’ having never run before (or the last time you ran was in the school cross country). When you hit the road, within minutes, your heart rate is maxing out, your back starts to ache, your lungs feel like they’re going to burst-you’re feeling physically and emotionally defeated. You wake up the next morning, unable to walk, and decide, this running thing is not for me, or, you soldier on, convincing yourself  ‘I can do this’, but I will do it tomorrow, which somehow never seems to arrive.

Every successful transformation I have been involved in starts from humble beginnings. It starts with a focus on a process not an outcome. Yes, outcome goals are important, but the process is going to get you there. The key component of that process is to plan a course of action that will develop an unwavering belief in your ability to achieve at what you set out to do. This may initially be the smallest possible baby steps:- For some people it starts with 1 exercise per day, yes, that’s about 1 minute per day, others can handle more. If you are not 90 to 100% confident in your belief to do any more than one exercise per day consistently, then that is your starting point, and that is perfect! (Just know it is the starting point of a progressive process).  As you grow in confidence and belief; you start feeling more energetic and stronger; exercise starts feeling more like a reward, not a sacrifice, one exercise will become two and then three and before you know it, 5km will be ‘just 5 km.’ I have seen this happen time and time again-I have applied this principle with clients, from body transformation winners to those that have gone on to run the Comrades Marathon, and it works!

So the message is:- stretch your comfort zone, step out of it sometimes, challenge yourself, but don’t thrust yourself so far out of your comfort zone that the sacrifice outweighs any reward and you don’t know which way to turn! This will only cause you to revert back to your default setting of inaction and procrastination (we all have this setting). So, make a small change, but do it NOW-change only happens NOW, not tomorrow. Be confident that the change you make, whether it’s one exercise a day or deciding to eat one extra portion of vegetables is something you feel confident about achieving. This is day one of YOUR transformation story, we look forward to hearing it!