Whenever you start a new lifestyle practice such as nutrition, fitness, meditation or mindfulness it's important to understand more than just the program itself. It's critical you know YOURSELF. What are your motivations, short/long term goals, strengths, weaknesses, influences and character traits? It's important to know your patterns and channel them to help you make the necessary choices on a daily basis. One process to get to know yourself, specifically your patterns, is to ask these simple questions:
(These questions are based on a nutrition plan. You can replace the last word for any program.)
1. How do you currently eat? (situation)
2. How would you know it's time to change how you eat? (purpose)
3. What would you need to know in order to feel comfortable changing how you eat? (comfort level to embrace change)
These questions will help you discover a realistic path to a new nutrition program that works for you. They uncover your need to feel comfortable with the plan. Some needs or concerns in this example might include: Will I enjoy the food? Will I feel deprived? Will I see results? Will it fit into my daily routine?
My concern when I started Paleo six years ago was, "Is this the right nutrition plan for me?"
With that question I knew I needed to experiment in order to find the answer. Then I leveraged one of my known patterns to see it through.
My pattern example:
I've always been motivated by self actualization. I would choose programs or activities where I confidently envisioned self actualization. My comfort zone was realizing/experiencing my full potential and achievements. I put this pattern to work for me when I started Paleo six years ago. I felt confident in my ability to put the necessary effort into the nutrition plan knowing it would result in personal growth and self improvement. This pattern drives my desire to refine and challenge my paleo/keto diet.
Once you know more about patterns you can begin to increase the probability of your success.
It's important to uncover your motivations, which can be learned through the second question above. It's identifying the purpose of the program for you. You will reflect upon this throughout the program to maintain your commitment and dedication.
With that, your goals will be identified. It's what you ultimately want out of the program. It's most beneficial to have a goal that is measureable.
Lastly, know your strengths and weaknesses. These will be called upon when negative influences are present. Lean on your purpose, consequences and accepting your decision might be unpopular.
I'm about to participate in Whole30 challenge. I'm joining to inspire, encourage and be an accountability mentor. I enjoy this program because it recognizes different things work for different people with a bias towards natural foods. They have many helpful guides, resources and support channels. This program provides all the tools they will need. The only missing component is to know themselves in order to be successful!