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Staying Focused When Things Derail

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Growing up on motivational books, I’ve always thought the key to success was willpower, discipline, staying the course through all distractions and temptations. Now, I realize that success is about the habits you’ve formed. It’s your default when willpower and discipline are gone.

 
What are your defaults when you are feeling tired, stressed, sad, angry, busy, hormonal, etc., all of life’s derailers. There the situations that made you stop your exercise program, the times when your diet goes out the window. Our defaults are our habits.

When you consciously nurture good defaults, you’ll always be on a path to success. If you have bad defaults, you’ll always be falling off the wagon, having to psyche yourself back up to attempt to get back to where you were.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling bad, most people’s default is to eat high carb, high sugar foods? What if the default was to fast when you feel bad, or do a whole foods cleanse diet for a few days?

My old default when I got derailed or felt overwhelmed, was to stop exercising. Now that I’ve started the 100 days of physical activity challenge, getting derailed had no effect on my exercise. I’ve created a habit, and a mindset of, “I do a minimum of 10 minutes of exercise every day not matter what.”

Often times when things become overwhelming, I find it very hard to focus on anything. What if my habit was to put on my headphones, turn on my [email protected] app and stay focused on writing for 20 minutes?

How does any of this help when you become derailed in life? Well, objects in motion tend to stay in motion. When life throws you a curve ball, it’s so easy to sit down and not want to get back up, that’s when depression sets in, that’s when it will take more momentum to get going again.

 
Having routines and habits set up that keep you moving every day, it’s harder for depression to set in, it keeps you goal oriented and looking to the future.

Tony Horton said in a podcast interview, that we often stop exercising when life get’s crazy, but in fact, that is when we need exercise the most.

What if it was your default, when things get stressful, you exercise even more. Or instead of staying up late wasting time worrying, your default was to go to bed earlier, to rest and recover and be fresh for the next morning.

How about when things get busy, or you’re feeling run down, your default was to eat nutritionally dense foods instead of nutritionally void foods. So many of our defaults are really counter intuitive. It seems once we get overly stressed, we fall off the wagon of anything that might actually help, and we jump on the wagon of everything that will help us dig ourselves into a deeper hole.

But fear not 🙂 you can change your defaults. In fact, just by reading this, you will now be more aware of your defaults. Conscious awareness is always the first step in change. Now when you start to have feelings of overwhelm, there is a greater chance your first thought will be, “I should drink more water to help with this stress.” Or, “I should eat more nutritionally dense food to give me the energy to deal with this stress,” instead of your default of, “Where’s the pop”, or “I need chocolate”, or “more coffee”.

You might still go for the pop, chocolate or coffee but your starting to think differently.

Write out different areas of your life and what defaults you would like to have. This is where affirmations can have a great impact. It’s not difficult at all for your mind to accept an affirmation like, “when I start to feel stressed, I naturally drink more water”. Or “when I start to feel a cold coming on I crave fresh vegetables or a salad because I know it will give me the extra nutrition I need”.

Figure out what your current defaults are and decide what you would like them to be. If you would like to work on exercise, I suggest taking the 100 days of physical activity challenge. It’s a minimum of 10 minutes a day of exercise. Once you get a streak going, it’s something you do whether you feel like it or not, it becomes a daily habit, a default.

And because of that, it doesn’t matter how busy life get’s, it’s just something you do. You will see that exercise really does feel better when you need it the most during stressful times.

 

My current defaults when overwhelmed:Wanted defaults when overwhelmed:
Overeat junk food.Eat non-packaged whole foods, or Fast for a day, or do some cleanse like a few days of fruit and veggie smoothies.
Tell myself I’m going to stay up late and get a bunch of stuff done, which pretty much never happens.Go to bed as early as the kids will let me, so I can be well rested, waking up early.
Set daily task completion goals (example: I need to write 1 blog post a day or add 5 products a day).Set consistent time completion goals. (Example: I will spend 20 minutes writing a day and 10 minutes editing a day. I will spend 10 minutes a day, adding products.)
Eating as a form of procrastination.Cleaning as a form of procrastination.

 
I’m excited to take note of defaults I don’t even know I have. I hope you are too. Let us know some of the defaults you’ve discovered about yourself.

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