January 22


Change your habits to change your life – is your mindset ready?

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If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. It's time to change your mindset and your habits will follow. We need to secure your understanding of what motivates you. Find those triggers that lead to a positive life change.

We're all unique, there's no right and there's no wrong. It's all about your journey of self-discovery - new experiences, that path you choose and the choices you make.


If low self-esteem and social pressures to eat have brought you down in the past, caused you to put on weight or you just find it hard to say "no" it doesn't matter. You're free to make up a whole new set of rules for dealing with situations in the future. Your circumstances might not change, the people around you might not change.

But you can change! Your mindset can adapt if you let it, and your habits will shift with it.

The Ultimate anti-health plan for 2020

2020 Anti-health plan - what habits and aspects of your mindest do you need to change?

What if I told you this was the plan you had to follow?

What if someone told you that for 2020 you had to follow the ultimate anti-health plan. By this I mean:

  • Slow down your metabolism by stopping exercise
  • Go crazy and get addicted to sugar - eating sugar-rich foods whenever and wherever you can
  • Eat more calories than you need - the more high calorie and fat-filled foods you can cram into your day, the better
  • Ignore your body's natural instincts - eat when you're not hungry and eat past the point of fullness.

You may well be laughing out loud at these. You may, however, also be thinking that you do one or more of these regularly.

But don't worry, it's not your fault!

We can simply blame the supermarkets and their endless 'buy one get one free' offers. Restaurants for putting too much salt and sugar in their foods. Advertising for the constant messages of temptation. Even your parents for making you eat everything on your plate!

But the truth is, your current habits have been programmed into you by your mindset, and we can change.

Ready to change? 2020 could be the time to take responsibility for your habits and mindset

We all know that food and how much or how little we move our bodies can affect us. But it's so easy to know the facts and yet not make the changes we need to make to feel healthier.

When you have a chronic health problem, it seems even harder sometimes to find the energy and motivation to change. When you are feeling completely and utterly ill, the last thing on your mind is deprivation and exercise.

We think of eating healthily as 'deprivation.' How messed up is that?

Somewhere, we have been wired to see the chocolate, cakes, ice cream and chips as some kind of 'treat.' Something that we deserve. We see 'healthy' foods as a boring and bland option. Those who exercise regularly can be seen as 'mad' or as the exercise 'freak' among the lazier population. How ingrained has this mindset become within you, and is eating junk food one of the habits you'd like to change?

What if you had, say, a chocolate bar and an apple sitting in front of you and you could have them both? Would you eat the chocolate first and leave the apple behind? Until it got all wrinkly and you had to throw it away? What if you could stay in bed for an extra hour or get up and stimulate your body? Even liven up all your senses with a jog or a walk in the park? Or would you rather stay huddled under the covers? Or would you get up, throw on your shoes and make a positive start to the day?

The doom and gloom of dieting and its effect on your habit mindset

Most people associate weight loss with dieting. And dieting with hard work, denial, sweat and sometimes tears. The process of losing weight makes many people tense and anxious as they are so concerned about how much they are eating or whether they've lost enough weight. Behaviour and attitude can determine whether we gain weight or lose weight. So by simply changing our mindset, we could open the doors to a positive vibe and that feel-good factor. Rather than the doom and gloom of restriction and "can't have's."

It's a sad but harrowing fact that people on average are getting fatter almost everywhere in the world.

A 1999 United Nations (UN) survey found obesity growing in all developing countries. Even in countries beset by hunger. In China, the number of overweight people rose from less than 10 percent to 15 percent in just three years. In Brazil and Columbia, the figure of overweight is about 40% - comparable with several European countries. Even sub-Saharan Africa, where most of the world's hungry live, is seeing an increase in obesity. Especially among urban women.

In all regions around the world, obesity appears to be escalating as income increases.

So how can we turn things around to realising that making nutritious, wholesome food choices and that moving our bodies is, in fact, the biggest treat we can ever award ourselves?

How can we start to believe that our bodies deserve to be fuelled with energy and vitality-giving foods? And stimulated with exercise to make us stronger, more supple and less at risk from health-related diseases?

How can we start to make the choices that will not only help us lose weight but also feel better health-wise? That is the key to upgrading our mindset and ultimately changing our habits.

Is cold turkey the answer to change a habit?

Anyone who has ever tried a restrictive diet or an excessive workout regime will tell you that it doesn't work like that. Pretty soon you'll start craving the very thing you are denying yourself. You'll end up giving in and eating that 'forbidden' food like there's no tomorrow.

You'll end up despising the workout because you feel like you HAVE to do it rather than really WANTING to do it.

Somewhere deep within us, we have some unique behaviour triggers. The things in life that truly inspire us and make us feel great and want to push on.

Write down those thoughts, aspirations and goals that inspire you. Include your measurable goals and how you are going to achieve them. Refer back to them as often as you can as a reminder that will keep you on course.

It could be an extra 10 minutes of exercise a day. It could be 200 calories less per day. Just make it responsible and achievable.

It will act as a motivational tool to make sure you stay focussed and on track. Over time, your goals and dreams may change. So you may need to try a variety of approaches and change your lifestyle and diet to find that winning formula for you.

There is no right or wrong - if it works for you, it works!

​How to Set a Goal for New Year, New You

​How do you set a goal and see it through to completion?

As always, you can read more about setting goals and achieving them on the blog.

About the author

Paul Stokes

Paul Stokes BSc (Hons) is a Certified Personal Trainer, Accredited Sports Nutritionist, qualified Exercise to Music Instructor, Precision Nutrition coach, Massage Therapist and teaches 8 of the Les Mills Group Exercise programs.

He currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as a Wellness Coach, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to improve the quality of life of several hundred offshore workers.

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