How to Not Feel Overwhelmed When Trying to Improve Your Health and Fitness
The moment you start researching tips on how to improve your health and fitness, you will be bombarded by hundreds of tips on how.
If you follow a standard American diet (also known as the SAD diet), and have not been paying a lot of attention to your fitness, there are probably a few changes you need to make overall, which can immediately make you feel overwhelmed.
One of the most valuable things that I have ever learned from Tim Ferriss is that when you do feel overwhelmed, you ask yourself: “What would this look like if it were easy?” You can apply this to any health goal.
It is quite easy for me to feel overwhelmed, and I recently had to ask myself the same question when feeling overwhelmed about what to do in order to just lose the last bit of fat that is clinging to my body.
I felt a little panicked and unsure about exactly what to do, but when I asked myself this question, I realised that all I need to do is focus on one thing at a time. and the one thing I need to work on the most currently is to reduce my meal frequency down to two or three meals per day.
I do need to work on my fitness as well, but I am taking that slowly and just doing workouts I feel like doing.
Either start with the smallest change you can make for your health or the most important. It depends on your situation. If you just want to improve your health, you can start by drinking more water, but if you have just been diagnosed with diabetes, cutting out sugar is a far more important goal to start with.
It is really easy to get caught up in the desire to want to do more and to want to apply every health tip you come across because you think that it will help you see results far quicker.
What actually ends up happening is that when we do feel overwhelmed, it can paralyse us to the point of self-destruction. When we feel paralysed and overwhelmed by our goals, it is easy to stop working on all of them completely.
But, if you focus on one or two changes at a time, it can help prevent the overwhelm and increases your chances of success when trying to improve your health and fitness.
You also do not need to commit to doing a new habit every single day, because trying to force yourself to do something every day can also start to feel overwhelming.
If you want to change a health habit like switching to only eating three times a day, and it is something that you really struggle with, then you can start by only trying to do it once or twice a week. As it becomes easier, you can gradually increase the number of days that you do practice your new health habit until you eventually reach seven days a week.
It took me a long time to accept the fact that I only had to work on one habit at a time, and it is one of the main reasons that I have failed repeatedly over the years.
I worked out that I have failed at roughly 3000 diet attempts over the last 15 years and probably 1000 fitness goals. If I had taken it one habit at a time and only tried to change something else once I have made that habit part of my nature, I would have reached my goals a long time ago, and perhaps I would not have still been stuck with some of the bad habits I developed as a child, such as overeating, picking my skin, and biting my nails.
When you feel anxious, it is also much harder to stick to your health and fitness habits, and your bad habits could actually be a result of you reacting to stress. When we feel overwhelmed, we feel more anxious as well, which means that we are more likely to fall back on our unhealthy habits purely because of that.
Trying to simplify your life, in general, is a good idea for anybody who tends to get anxious or overwhelmed. Simplifying your approach to changing habits can help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
If you want to make improving your fitness one of your main goals, but you are quite unfit, then I definitely recommend a simplified approach. Start with shorter workouts, start with only exercising three times a week, and start with a simple exercise programme.
You have enough time to build up to following the fitness programme you really want to follow, but maybe jumping into the deep end will overwhelm you and you could become overwhelmed, which increases the chances of you giving up.
When you feel yourself starting to become overwhelmed on your health and fitness journey, try to think of ways you can simplify things. Rather take longer to reach a goal than not reach it at all because you burned out quickly after trying to sprint to the finish line.
All you need to aim for is being 1% better every day. As Jordan Peterson says: “aim low enough.”