Have you ever taken a break from working out or eating well and suddenly realized the days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months and maybe even the months into years?

Lol. I think we’ve all been there to some degree or another. What we think of as a simple “pause” usually turns into a “stop” – and often, it’s for legitimate reasons: maybe you just welcomed a new baby, or you’re caring for aging parents, or work is overwhelming, or school is starting up. We say “when that’s over, then I’ll get back to it.” So, you turn the health and fitness dial back down to zero “for now.”

The problem? 

1. Turning the dial to zero often results in negative feelings about ourselvesand our perceived (lack of) success in our health and fitness journey. The mental beating-up we feel often robs us of more energy than would actually be needed to do that health and fitness thing.

2. When we go into “all or nothing” mode, we usually end up more toward the “nothing”.

3. Life is full of ups and downs: emotionally, physically, logistically…there’s never a perfect time to start. And there will always be something that justifies stopping.

4. Consistency is a lot easier than starting over (again and again).

So, what do you do when life gets thrown at you and, when it comes to this exercise and eating well-thing, you’ve cranked the dial down to nada?

Turn it up a notch.

That’s right; just one notch. No need to crank it to 10…but can you move from zero to 1? From a 3 to a 4?

We talk a lot about this in our exercise coaching and in our nutrition program – identifying those small WINS that really do add up.

  • Didn’t set a PR in your deadlift today? That’s ok; you made it to the gym in the midst of a really stressful day at the office. WIN.
  • Haven’t lost any weight yet? That’s ok; you ordered your burger sans fries. WIN. 
  • Baby consuming every minute and the gym is just not an option right now? That’s ok; you deliberately chose the stairs and prepped some chicken to add to healthy dinners. WIN.
  • Summer eating and drinking feeling out of control? That’s ok; you packed a water bottle and included an apple and some sliced peppers for a snack at work. WIN. 
  • Netflix sucking you into the couch every night? That’s ok; you didn’t munch on the popcorn you usually have while late night vegging. WIN.
  • Didn’t go for that 30 minute walk-jog today? That’s ok; you took 5 minutes to run up and down the driveway. WIN.

We call this getting “1% better” – and, while you *could* do a lot more than that, we see the most sustainable results happen when these baby steps are recognized first. When you can pat yourself on the back – even for what may feel like small accomplishments – you’re building a foundation of positivity, support and love for yourself. And it’s not until you notice and celebrate these seemingly-small WINS that you can truly experience the big ones.

“Greatness is a lot of small things done well everyday.” -Ray Lewis

So, today, if your exercise + eating well dial is turned all the way to zero, how can you go from nothing to something? You’re only one intentional choice away from 1% better: a lacing up of the shoes, a grocery list written out, a water instead of a second beer, a half hour earlier bedtime; something is always more life-giving than nothing. Keep winning, friends!

Cheers to 1% better,
Team Valeo

PS – read the full article from Precision Nutrition, from which these thoughts are inspired: The Pause Button Mentality.

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