We’re often led to believe that setting your expectations high and dreaming big is the way to go. However, recently I’ve been seeing the true value of lowering your expectations when it comes to your health.
For those that don’t know, alongside So We Flow... I provide health and wellness coaching to busy working men who want to take control of their health and feel great in their own bodies. And time and time again I see men who have good intentions when it comes to their health, but just can’t keep it up in any sort of sustainable and long-term manner.
The problem with high expectations and the demanding requirements that come with it is that when you fail to fulfil those requirements day-to-day (which is much more likely when they are set higher), the mental strain that comes with that failure is grave.
It’s what leads us to beat ourselves up, feel guilty, punish ourselves, yo-yo diet (or exercise) or give up entirely.
And that’s the problem with excessive exercise routines or strict diet plans - they are setting us up for failure.
And when we fail, we are our own worst enemy.
So this is what I want you to do instead. Rather than make your requirements inflexible, time-consuming and restrictive - for example, a 90 minute yoga class every morning, a gym session after work, and absolutely no deviations from your ‘no fun’ diet - make them flexible, fundamental and balanced.
Fit around your life. Don’t require certain locations, equipment or large blocks of time. Allow deviation without having a major impact on your mental health.
Based on the cornerstones of good health rather than anything complicated or that requires constant reference.
Think ‘eat mainly whole foods’ vs. ‘100g carbs, no fruit, only lean protein, greens with every meal’.
Making small contributions to every area of your health will have a much greater impact on how you feel than going full throttle on one area (plus it’s sustainable to keep on top of in the long-term). The areas I consider slices of the whole are nourishment, movement, rest, connection (with others and nature), personal development, balance (with life’s other duties)and outlook (how you perceive and react to external events).
And none of this is to say your shouldn’t do the things you were doing before - of course you should!
Rather don’t require these things to be done in order to feel good about yourself and that the day has been a success.