Progress 2022: Healthy Habits for Mental and Physical Fitness | News
When the motivation to be healthy or fit inevitably fades, good habits and mental fitness can keep everything on track. Building discipline can lead to success.
“I define motivation as a feeling…feelings come and go,” said Steve Tackett, licensed professional clinical counselor at Ashland. “You can’t really create motivation all the time.”
Rather than trying to find motivation at every turn, Tackett said it was important to remember the reason behind goals.
“If you only do things when you’re motivated, you’re probably going to set yourself up to fail,” Tackett said. “Because the motivation is just going to go up and down, it’s really going to come back to your goals…whether it’s fitness, whether it’s trying to be a better parent, a better person, whatever it is. .”
This is where discipline comes into good habits.
“Discipline means teaching,” Tackett said.
Just as parents discipline to teach, habit building is about teaching routines to achieve goals. It’s not about punishment, he says.
Before building habits and routines, goals should be set. When setting goals, Tackett recommends the acronym SMART, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Get detailed, Tackett says.
Beyond the acronym SMART, Tackett works with people to examine the reason behind their goals. He works to help people find the intrinsic motivation behind what they hope to achieve.
Intrinsic motivations are often more successful than external motivations, such as looking good in the mirror, Tackett said. Once the goals and the reasons behind them are clear, habits can be created to achieve those goals.
Tackett said looking at what has worked for someone in the past is a first step.
To create better habits, Tackett explained that it’s important to look at the habits you already have in place and the reason behind them. This is especially important when trying to break bad habits.
There’s something to be gained from habits, good or bad, “there’s a kind of reward,” Tackett said. Determining the gain helps people understand why they continue in their habits. He said it takes some soul-searching, recognizing what bad habits exist and being honest about why they exist.
What someone is doing right now is either helping them achieve their goal or not, Tackett explained. He said identify what works and what doesn’t. From there, it’s baby steps. Establishing new habits can take four to eight weeks.
“You’re not going to do this overnight,” Tackett said. “You have to practice to do it. »
Tackett advises making new habits practical so that it’s easier to stick with them. He gave an example: If the habit is to add a workout into the day, Tackett said it’s best to plan around your current habits.
If someone is a morning person, adding it early in the morning like 5 a.m. is likely, while an evening workout is unlikely, he explained. Meanwhile, those on the opposite would struggle with the new training time. Night owls would be more likely to succeed by adding evening training.
Tackett frequently works with people to establish routines. They don’t need to be rigid, but general guidelines, he said. Tackett also advised planning things to get done.
Although it sounds opposite, Tackett’s advice here goes hand in hand with the morning versus evening workout example. A general schedule might be a workout around 6 or 7 p.m. or a walk after work. Add the habit in a way that doesn’t make many changes like once.
Tackett said to start small and focus on getting 1% better each day. Focus on small wins.
“You can’t compare yourself to others,” Tackett said.
However, other people can help along the journey. Accountability is another way Tackett encourages people to continue with their new habits and routines.
“Find people who will be in your corner,” Tackett said. “Let them know what you’re trying to do…but they have to support you. You don’t want to go after the friend who is super negative all the time.
Negativity from others or from within can derail goals.
“Everything we put into our bodies and into our minds matters,” Tackett said. “I always tell people, you focus on the effort. Make it measurable in terms of your effort, not necessarily by measuring results, because results will come in time.
Rather than looking at the number on the scale, count the healthy choices made.
“That’s why I tell people not to trust the mirror or the scale because your body will determine when and where it loses weight if that’s what you’re trying to do,” Tackett said. .
Everyone needs good sleeping habits, diet, social habits and regular physical activity, Tackett said. However, these can be different for everyone.
People should have a sleep schedule that allows for eight hours of sleep, ideally between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m., Tackett said, and three or four days of physical activity for at least 30 minutes that raises heart rate and eating habits. regular. . Tackett said he’s not a fan of diets.
Nighttime routines performed at around the same time of night will train the brain to fall asleep, Tackett said.
Maintaining sleep, eating, social and activity patterns are “almost like muscle memory, except for your brain and your emotions,” Tackett said.
There is no perfect step-by-step solution with a linear result that Tackett can give. He said that when he worked with people, he gave the outline and they filled in the rest of the image according to them.
Much of this comes from daily personal care.
This can be done in several ways. Some may include yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and breathwork. Tackett said it’s a common misconception that the purpose of these practices is to stop thoughts from the mind. He said it was the opposite.
“What you’re doing, whether it’s guided meditation or whether you’re sitting watching the sunrise, what you’re doing is staying fully engaged in this moment,” Tackett said.
It’s about focusing on the moment. The mind will wander. Tackett said it was inevitable for everyone.
“I tell people, just acknowledge where your mind has gone and come back, so that you pay non-judgmental attention to the moments while you’re doing it, that’s really helpful because you can actually rewire your brain,” Tackett said. .
Tackett said it can help relieve anxiety. Athletes use these techniques to center themselves and help them react in the heat of battle, Tackett said.
“When you’re anxious, when you’re stressed…your brain isn’t focused, like the front part of your brain, the prefrontal cortex, it’s not active,” Tackett said. “So when you focus on your breathing, it will automatically trigger that front part of your brain. Your brain kicks in and turns on – the part of your mind that deals with stress, anxiety, all that stuff is turned off.
He compares it to a light switch that needs to be turned back on.
“I don’t think our culture or our society teaches us to breathe and be present,” Tackett said.
When breathing exercises, mindfulness and meditation are brought up, people often think of Buddhism and Eastern philosophy, Tackett said. He said prayer is a formal practice of meditation. Eating or exercising mindfully are also examples. Connect to your environment, Tackett said.
Tackett said it will affect general well-being. People can be more focused and present. They increased oxygen in the body, which leads to physical and mental benefits.
“It’s going to help regulate your heart rate,” Tackett said. “It will help manage stress better, but we’re going to have to start small.”
The benefit is mental fitness that leads to physical fitness.
“They’re intertwined,” Tackett said. “You might be in great shape, but if your mental health is in trouble, it’s going to get you. If you’re too stressed and you have a lot on your mind, it doesn’t matter how you eat or how you you exercise sometimes, because your body will interpret that you are in danger because of the stress, which will then make you cling more to fat, etc. But we also know that if you are depressed or anxious, physical activity helps also.
Physical activity contributes to mental health due to the release of endorphins, or feel-good chemicals, in the brain, Tackett said. Poor mental health can lead to back pain, stomach issues, headaches and more.
“If your mental health is good, your physical health tends to be better, and vice versa,” Tackett said.
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