It is never the right time

It is never the right time, the perfect time, to take action.

Such a thing does not, perhaps cannot, exist.

There is only now. This one imperfect moment.

It isn’t January 1st. It isn’t Monday. Or a day when you will have more time or when the kids are older or when work is a little less hectic.

If you want to get fitter, lose weight, make those changes to help enhance your wellbeing, the time to begin is now. Today. Not tomorrow.

Because all too often tomorrow becomes next week becomes sometime becomes never.

The right time, the best time, is simply now.

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Being Good

‘No thanks, I’m being good’.

So said me this week, to the offer of cake from a colleague.

I am being good.

Too often we categorise food into either good and bad with nothing in between.

Good stuff is green, fresh, nutrient rich, healthy.

Bad stuff is sugar, fat, processed, carbs. Or whatever the latest diet craze has banned.

We then go on to to define ourselves the same way. Depending on what we have eaten we are therefore either good or bad too.  In my language to my colleague, it wasn’t the food to which I was assigning a binary value, but me.  I was by extension, being good or being bad based on whether I said yes or not.

It’s an unhelpful narrative.

You aren’t what you eat.

The words you say to yourself matter.

cake

Running Tourist.

I love to run on holiday, especially when there’s a chance to run by the sea.

There’s something about the air, being somewhere new, not being entirely sure of your route.

Yesterday was hot. I set out with a vague idea where I would head after a glance at Google maps. I ran through a housing estate before stumbling upon a beautiful cove and following a coast path for a little while. Not wanting to simply retrace my steps when it was time to turn for (holiday) home, I picked a random road that looked like it was heading in roughly the right direction.

Shame about the giant hill in the middle of it. Half way up, I had to stop for breath. Heat and hills aren’t my favourite combination. Another, much fitter runner cruised past me. He clapped me on the back.

‘Carry on, you can do it.’

And he was right, I could.

Fresh Starts

There’s a poem that speaks to me. It’s called Everything Changes by Bertolt Brecht.  A slightly tired copy, picked up from a café, is pinned to the noticeboard in my kitchen, where it often catches my eye.

Everything changes. You can make
A fresh start with your final breath.
But what has happened has happened. And the water
You once poured into the wine cannot be
Drained off again.

What has happened has happened. The water
You once poured into the wine cannot be
Drained off again, but
Everything changes. You can make
A fresh start with your final breath.

Today a colleague reflected that when it comes to your wellbeing, sometimes life just throws you a curve ball and our all good intentions disappear. And then all you can do is pick yourself up and carry on.  It made me think of Brecht’s words.  You can make a fresh start with your final breath.

reflection

We’ve all been there. Made resolutions we have not kept.  Joined a gym and not gone.  Started a diet and eaten all the cake.  Planned to give something up, and then fallen off the wagon.  Intended to find that elusive better work life balance… and then just found more work.

But we can always begin again. Start over.

Just because we didn’t quite get there last time, something got in the way (or we got in our own way, doesn’t mean we can’t make tomorrow the day we focus on our wellbeing.

You can make a fresh start with your final breath.

 

Go run

I’m not a runner, I hear you say.

I didn’t think I was a runner either, until I ran.

Being a runner doesn’t mean completing marathons or even joining a local running club.  It doesn’t mean competing or living a certain kind of lifestyle.

It simply means having some trainers and running in them.  Running isn’t for everyone  but it is great cardiovascular exercise, it’s free, gets you out in the fresh air and almost everyone (certain health conditions aside) can do it.

Parkrun is a free, timed and local 5K that takes place in thousands of locations all over the world on Saturday mornings.  If you search online you will be able to find your nearest group – and I cannot recommend it more highly, especially for new runners.  You will find a warm and welcoming community.  There will of course be the superfast runners, but there will also be people walking, joining in with dogs or pushchairs, and no one cares if you aren’t very fast.

If you don’t want to join a group, the Couch to 5K app is great.  You can simply plug in your headphones and follow the instructions that include running and walking combinations, slowly building your abilities until you can run the whole way.

Starting to run might sound like big and scary thing to do. It might not sound like ‘you’.  But you don’t know what you are capable of until you try. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

If you try running, remember that slow is just fine.  You are still lapping everybody sitting on the sofa.   And at an event like park run, DFL (Dead F***ing Last) is always better than DNS (Did Not Start).

You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go.

running

Get up, work out

I have never really thought of myself as a morning person. It usually takes me a couple of cups of caffeine before I feel like a human being.

So a few years ago when my then Personal Trainer suggested morning workouts, I more than wavered. I had a whole range of excuses….. which he listed to not one bit.

So I regularly found myself in the gym at 6am. Terrible, right?

Actually, not so much.

I am now a convert to morning exercise.

Today I awoke to early morning sunshine. A light breeze coming through the open window.

No hesitation. Trainers on, out for a run.

Fresh air, light, nature. And me.

After the run, stretching out my muscles.

I’m awake, energised, ready for the day.

I feel epic.

No need for the coffee fix today.

Don’t think you’re a morning exercise person?  If that is what you tell  yourself, then that is likely to be true.

My advice: try it….. you might just be surprised.

 

morning

Mind-set

Last night I went for a run. For the last few months I’ve been doing a variety of run / walk combinations.  I set off, with one eye on my watch, counting down until the first chance to walk.

And then I decided not to.

My legs were protesting but I know from experience I always struggle for the first kilometre or so before I warm up enough to find my rhythm.

I decided not to stop and walk.

So I didn’t.

Once the decision was made it didn’t even occur to me again at any point during that run to walk.

A reminder that when it comes to this fitness stuff, your mind-set matters. The things you tell yourself about what you can do and what you can’t, become your reality.

Decide. And then do.

brain

Move in the moment

move

Many of us are time poor. We have long commutes, jobs that spill into our homes, children, housework, life stuff.  This can result in our own wellbeing sliding down the to-do list.

Lately, I’ve seen wellbeing coaches and so-called thought leaders talking about taking time out to do nothing and just be, their hour a day mediation practice, going off the grid and back to nature. I get that this might well be good stuff for wellbeing….. but some of us just don’t have the ability even if we have the desire.  (If anyone has any ideas about how you can just be when you have two young children running around I am listening).

For some of us when it comes to our wellbeing, it is about fitting in what we can, when we can.

And here’s the good bit. All movement counts.

You’ve seen the advice I’m sure, about taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking instead of getting the bus to up your step count, standing up to take a phone call….. but all these small activities add up.  Have a walking meeting. Walk round the block at lunchtime.  Move your body.

You don’t have to join a gym. You don’t have to run 10K. You just have to move.  As much as you can, when you can.  This is enough. You are enough.  Even if you aren’t living the perfect, Insta ready, wellness guru lifestyle.

Build it in.  We follow habits and routines.  So if you normally take the lift, you will take the lift, unless you stop and think to take the stairs.  Take a moment to reflect.  Where could you build in a little more movement into your day?

Move in the moment.

 

 

 

Let’s stop talking about willpower

I don’t have any willpower.

Or so someone said to me recently.

Like it’s a thing that you are lucky enough to be born with. Something that can be big or small, present or not.  In your DNA.

Newsflash. It’s not your willpower. It’s you.

When we think that is it our willpower that is driving us, we surrender control. We other it.

It’s not me don’t you know. It’s my willpower.  It is a cognitive convenience.

Instead of willpower, think instead about choice.

If you eat the chocolate, it isn’t because you have no willpower, some malign force conspiring against you.

It is because you choose to eat it.

Only by owning our choices and recognising that they are ours and that we do have control over them, can we truly take responsibility.

It starts with you.

Hello sunshine

The sun is shining.  It’s made an early appearance this year, and I’m glad to see it.

sunshine

I love exercising outdoors. Every year I watch the sunset get later and later, waiting for that day when I get home in the full light with enough time to grab my bike and go out for a ride.  It’s all too easy to hibernate in the winter.  Dark morning and evenings along with the cold don’t exactly entice you to do much.  Whilst I do run in the winter, I also  find it so much more difficult to get my legs moving well.  But more light and more sunshine makes all the difference.

Walking, cycling, running…… all so much nicer outside. Fresh air in your lungs. Stuff to see.  Sunlight on your skin.

Time to re-emerge, get off the sofa.

Get outside. Breathe deeply. Simply move.

Put the Spring into your step.

And enjoy it while it lasts!