You know that what we do – the actions that we take – will create your results. And right now, with the end of summer, it’s easy to start thinking about becoming healthier and getting some structure back into your schedule after a summer when we generally like to have less scheduled time.
And of course, when we do that, we need to do some planning. However, moving from planning into the action phase can sometimes really feel like a struggle.
On episode 86 of the podcast, I’m giving you my best tips and strategies around how to move into action so that you can be successful in developing whatever behaviors you desire – so that you can then accomplish the goals that you desire too.
Do you know the difference between massive action and passive action? Massive action is what we do when we create results. Passive action feels like action. But it doesn’t actually produce anything quantifiable.
When we are wanting to change our results, we want to get into action, we want to do something. Because we know that our results are created through consistent action.
In today’s podcast episode, I’m talking about how to get into action. And all of the things that you need to think about and prepare for in order to be successful.
Let’s get started.
You are listening to the done with dieting podcast. The podcast for women in midlife, who are done with dieting, but still want to lose weight and feel good in your clothes.
You know that diets don’t work long term. But you feel like there’s this secret that everyone else knows that you just haven’t figured it out yet.
I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman. And I’ve helped hundreds of women get off the diet roller coaster, change their relationship with food, exercise, and their bodies.
Through this podcast, my goal is to help you too.
Welcome. Let’s get started.
Hi, everyone, welcome to episode number 86 of the done with dieting podcast. So first of all, happy fall, right? We have just crossed over labor day. And for me, that really kind of signals like the beginning of fall. Doesn’t it for you? Kids go back to school. I realize that kids are going back to school, like mid-August now. But for me and growing up, we always went to school like right around labor day.
And so, I always think about labor day as being like the end of summer and the beginning of fall which again, I said in episode number 84. That I always think about this time of year as being like the second new year, right? Maybe it’s a pre-new year. I don’t know.
But we’re coming out of summer we’re heading into fall. And so, what I find with a lot of my clients and just people in general, that summer has been so relaxing, and we have less schedules and we want it that way. Right? We want it to be a little bit more less structured. And so, what happens then is after three months of that, we’re like, oh, I really need the structure of the school year again.
And so, I wanted to create this podcast episode for you because I wanted to give you something that you feel like you need right now. Which is the idea that we need to go from planning into action and taking action. And then, what is the difference between what I call passive action and what I call massive action.
And so, that’s kind of the topic that we’re going to be talking about today is taking action. Because when we’re done with summer, when we’re done relaxing and we’re like, okay, we need to start doing stuff now. What we want to do is we want to start taking action. And what I find with a lot of folks is that we get stuck in the planning stage, and we never cross that threshold over into actually doing. Okay.
So, I saw on Facebook not too long ago, someone said, August is the summer equivalent of Sunday night. And it’s so absolutely true because we start to get that nervous energy on Sunday night when we know we have to go to work on Monday. And it’s the same kind of thing with August, right? We know that we’re going to have to get more structured. And so, we start to get a little bit antsy.
And so, looking at this model called the trans theoretical model of change. And I did an episode, it’s episode number 38. And in that podcast, I talked about the six different stages of change. And so, what I want to talk about in this podcast episode is actually two of those stages and how to get from the planning stage into the action stage. Because that bridge going from planning into action is what most of us struggle with. Okay.
And I’m sure that you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever decided, this is the year I’m going to get healthy or I’m going to make this change. And then, we never actually really get to it. And so, looking at the trans theoretical model stages of change, the hardest phase to move into is action. It’s also the easiest phase to move out of.
But here’s the thing. We know that our actions, the things that we do, create our results. So, if we want to have better results, we need to be more consistent in our actions, right? We need to do things on a regular basis in order to get the results that we desire. Whether that’s talking about diet, or whether it’s talking about becoming more fit, or whatever your goals are. It doesn’t matter.
So, here’s the thing. We think that we need to be motivated. We think that I need to be motivated in order to do the thing that I want myself to do. Right?
But here’s the thing. We are rarely motivated. And the other thing that I really need you to hear here is that oftentimes, action doing the thing that we want to be doing is what actually creates motivation. And I think that that’s really super important because we think that I need to be motivated in order to go for a run. Or I need to be motivated in order to cook a healthy meal.
But cooking the healthy meal is what’s going to motivate me to keep cooking healthy meals, or to plan, or to prep, or whatever it is that I want to start doing. And so, it’s really important to start understanding that in this case, it’s a self-referential relationship.
We think we need to be motivated in order to do the thing, but what if we actually need to do the thing in order to be motivated. And the very first time that we do the thing, we’re not going to be motivated and that’s totally, okay.
Now, the biggest thing, the biggest tool that I can help you with in terms of starting action is to actually schedule when you’re going to do the action. Okay, I’m going to talk about this in more specifics in just a second.
But when are you going to do the thing that you want to be doing. When are you going to be doing the behavior, the habit. Get out your calendar, figure out where in your calendar you’re actually going to do it. Okay.
Now, the next thing is how long are you going to do it for? Okay. You can use this same advice, whether you’re going to declutter your house, whether you’re going to exercise, whether you’re going to meal prep, or anything like that. What you can do is you can decide ahead of time, I’m going to declutter at seven 30 in the morning and I’m going to do it for five minutes.
And you will be surprised at how much gets done within that five minutes. And when you’re done with that five minutes, you are done with it. Same thing with exercise, same thing with meal planning. Okay. And so, what you want to do is you want to schedule when it’s going to happen and then set aside a certain amount of time in order to get it done.
The other thing that you want to pay attention to is what exactly are you going to do. So, are you going to declutter your entire kitchen? Are you going to focus on a drawer? Are you going to focus on a pile? When you exercise, are you going to run? Are you going to walk? Are you going to strength train? Are you going to meditate? Are you going to yoga? Okay. What are you going to do within that timeframe?
And then, the next thing is what needs to be done first. Okay. And so, I think that this is something where we get tripped up. When we think about, I’m going to exercise, we don’t think about all of the things that need to happen before that.
I was just coaching one of my clients the other day, we had set up a goal for her to every single day, do something. And what she was going to do was she was going to go and write her Peloton for 10 minutes. And some days she was going to do yoga other day, she was going to meditate. And when we checked in the second time around, the following week. What she reported back was that she hadn’t done it.
So, we started walking through what exactly was happening with her. And we had previously talked about how first thing in the morning what she does is she gets on her phone or her iPad. And she watches a TV show where she reads her newspaper. And then, she would have time then to go exercise if she wanted to.
And so, that’s where we kind of left it the first time. But when I started digging into why she wasn’t exercising, what I realized was that it wasn’t the exercise. It wasn’t just the exercise that was creating the barrier. What was also creating the barrier was that one, she was in her bed watching television. Okay.
And now, that’s not bad thing. I’m not judging anyone for that. But she was really super comfortable in her bed. And if you’re familiar with what’s called the motivational triad. The motivational triad says that we, as humans are always going to seek pleasure, we’re going to avoid pain, and we’re going to do it as efficiently as possible.
So, think about this. I’m in my bed. It’s all comfortable. I’m watching television. And then, the timer goes off and it says, okay, it’s seven o’clock it’s time for you to exercise. You don’t have your clothes on. You’re laying horizontally. You’re doing something that you’re actually really enjoying and you’re telling yourself, you need to go exercise. Which even for those of us who love to exercise, we know that that’s going to cause a little bit of discomfort. Right?
And so, of course the motivational triad was telling her that, no, we don’t want to go exercise. We want to stay in bed and watch TV, of course.
So, how we restructured it was first thing in the morning instead of staying in bed and watching television. I required her to get up out of bed. Okay. So, then when she’s waking up in the morning, she only has one obstacle. And that one obstacle is getting out of bed.
Then, I instructed her that she needed to put on her exercise clothes immediately. So then, when she’s going to exercise, she already has her exercise clothes on. Now, we’re rewarding those two habits with what she really wants to do, which is sit on the couch, and watch her television show, or read the paper.
And so, then when it’s seven o’clock, she doesn’t have all of those other obstacles to overcome. She only has one obstacle to overcome and that’s getting off of the couch and going to exercise. Which is ultimately the same thing that I do every day. Every single day, I don’t want to go exercise because I’m comfortable sitting on the couch, drinking coffee, and playing on my iPad.
But I only have that one thing to do if I was doing it in my bedroom, where it was comfortable, and I didn’t have my exercise clothes on. Then, that would be too many obstacles. So, we want to really reduce friction when it comes to activity.
And the same thing goes for other types of exercise. So, when you’re scheduling your activity, you want to think about what are some of the other things that I need to do first. What are the precursors to me going in or going to the gym and exercising.
So, you have to know what you’re going to do. You have to be dressed for the occasion. You have to have your water. You have to have your music, maybe. You need to have all of these things dialed in.
When it comes to meal prepping, the list is actually a little bit longer. So, in episode 84, I actually go through that in detail. And episode 84 is about creating your own meal plan.
But when you’re deciding to meal prep and plan out your food for the week, you need to make sure that your refrigerator has room for this food that you’re going to create, right? You have to decide which meals you’re going to be creating, so you have to have the recipes on hand, you have to have the ingredients.
And so, in order to have the ingredients, you need to have an inventory of what’s going on in your pantry. You need to go to the store to get those items. But you also have to have a list. Right?
One of the things that we want to do is make sure that we have all of those pre things figured out so that it makes it easier for us to do the thing that we want to do. Okay.
Now, I have a funny story about this. I was following another fitness coach online and she was telling me about this experiment that she was doing with her family, where she got two different bunches of bananas. And the bananas, she wanted to see which ones were I think going to ripen first. And so, she had the bananas that were all bunched together still. And then, she took apart the second bunch.
And the moral to the story is she never figured out which one ripens first because everyone in her family actually ate the bananas that were separated already. That because that was easier for them to eat, that’s what they ate. And so, that’s another part of reducing friction.
So, when you get home from the store, do as much meal planning and preparation as you possibly can. And if it’s helpful buy from the store what is easier. So, if you’re not going to cut up one head of broccoli buy the precut florets, it’s totally okay.
Yes, it’s a little bit more expensive, but if it allows you to eat them and prepare them, then it’s totally worth it. Okay. So, just be aware that whatever you can do to reduce the friction from not doing, not taking that action, it’s going to be helpful.
Now, if what I just outlined isn’t working for you. So, if you’re still doing all those things and you’re not taking action, I have some things for you to think about. Number one is made sure that you’re ready for the action.
So, for example, if you want to do the action and I’m telling you to schedule it but you’re resisting the scheduling. Think about why am I resisting scheduling this. What’s going on that I don’t want to do it.
And so, there’s a difference between wanting to do the thing and wanting to want to do the thing, right? When we want to want to do the thing, what happens is we really don’t want to do it, but we’re forcing ourselves too. And if you want to fail and feel bad about yourself, you will do something because you want to want to do it. Because you think you should be able to do it. Because other people are telling you that you should be doing it.
And so, what that’s going to do is it’s going to create a bunch of false starts and that can hold us back because we look at those false starts as failures. But also understand why you want to make the change, understand what’s getting in your way. Really start to look at your behavior and get curious about why am I doing this. Okay. So, that’s number one, make sure you’re ready for action.
Number two, make it easy on yourself. And I think that we think that we are. Making it easy on ourselves, but when we look at it, we really could make it easier. So, for example, we use our past experiences against ourselves.
So, things like, well, I used to be able to run an hour a day. And now, I should be able to do that again. But we are a different person today. And so, really starting small and I know what your brain is telling you right now. Which is that that’s not going to be good enough. But if it leads you to success, if it leads you to consistency, maybe starting small is actually what you need. Okay.
So, it doesn’t have to be a grandiose action. And remember, make it small and doable, make it achievable. And so, again, just reiterating what I said before, which is action begets motivation. So, the more we do something, the more that’s going to motivate us to keep doing the thing.
Number three is make it repeatable. So, what is momentum? I hear my clients say this to me a lot that they get frustrated because they haven’t gained momentum. And I think what happens is that we put these roadblocks in our way.
Like, oh, I’m going on vacation in two weeks, so I can’t start a exercise routine right now. Or I can’t start a new eating routine right now because I’m going on vacation, or it’s someone’s birthday, or I’m going out of town for work.
And so, we think that we need to have some sort of stretch of time where we’re going to be perfect. And in case you haven’t noticed this yet. As adults, life is never perfect. And so, start regardless of whether you have a long stretch of time or not. Okay.
Right now, because it’s the beginning of September, we actually have a few months before November, before the holidays. However, be aware that that does not ensure that things are going to be perfect for you. So, you do not need to gain momentum. Momentum is a state of mind.
And so, it’s how we look at our behavior and that is completely optional. You can decide that I ran once last week, and I was supposed to run twice or three times, but I didn’t. But that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that I’m a failure. It means that I ran once last week, and I can run once this week, and I can run once next week. Okay. So, we can look at that as also being consistent.
Now, the next piece to this is really setting yourself up for success. I talked a little bit about this when I was talking about planning and scheduling it. But really, you want to schedule when you’re going to do the thing. And I really want you to look at your calendar and take it out and ask yourself, when am I going to have time to do this thing.
Be realistic with yourself. And no amount is too small. So, if you only have five minutes to exercise, then you only have five minutes to exercise. And it’s okay to exercise four, five minutes. 100%, five minutes is better than nothing. And so, it all adds up, something is better than nothing. All of those adages apply here.
Set yourself up for success. Don’t overcommit yourself. And also, stick to your plan. One of the most successful techniques that you can employ, whether you’re talking about exercise, or whether you’re talking about meal planning, or any other habit that you want to create. When you schedule doing the thing, I want you to understand that your brain is not going to want to do it when you have it scheduled. Okay.
So, as I said before, every single morning, I am supposed to exercise at 7:30. And every single morning, I never want to do it. But that’s expected now. And I’ve already decided ahead of time that I’m going to do this. I just have to follow the plan.
And when we can get our lower brain, our emotional brain on board with just following the plan and not making any decisions, what happens is we are more likely to become successful to develop that habit and yeah, be successful long term.
Now, I am one of the most consistent exercisers that I know. And I only recently realized why this is the case. And I don’t think I’ve shared that here on the podcast. I shared it on social media not too long ago. But one of the reasons that I think that I am the most consistent in my exercise habit.
Because normally, when we exercise, let’s say that you’ve decided that you’re going to exercise four days this week. Every single day when you wake up, you ask yourself, am I exercising today? And when we ask our brain that question of am I going to exercise today. Of course, going back to the motivational triad, the brain says, no. I don’t want to exercise today. That sounds terrible. Right?
But instead, every single day, I exercise technically, seven days a week. During the week, I will either strength train or I’ll go for a run. Depending on how I feel and what the weather is like. On the weekends, I will typically go for a long walk.
And so, every single day when I wake up, I don’t ask myself, am I going to exercise? What I ask myself, is what am I doing today for exercise? It’s a totally different question. And when I ask myself that question, then what happens is I come up with a better answer.
So, the question isn’t am I going to exercise. The question is what am I going to do. And so, how you can apply this in your life? You can ask yourself, what am I going to do during this time?
So, carve out 15, 20 minutes every single day to do something. Whether it’s prepping your food, meal planning, picking out recipes. I don’t care.
Do something with that time, every single day. That way, you are going to be more consistent and you’re going to get momentum. Because when we can ask ourselves the right questions, then we can do the right things. We can set ourselves up for success. Okay.
Now, the last thing that I want to share with you is the idea that when we do the action the very first time, we’re going to have a hard time talking ourselves into it. Expect it. Do it, anyway. It’s totally, okay, you’re going to be fine.
But here’s what I want you to do. I want you to think about how you’re going to feel afterwards. After you do the meal planning, after you do the decluttering, after you do the exercise. Think about how proud you are going to feel about yourself when you do that.
Because when you can get over the discomfort of doing the thing that you don’t want to do, and think about the pleasure, the emotion that you’re going to feel on the other side of it. Then, you’re going to be successful. Okay.
Now, if you want to get your meal prep and planning nailed down for the upcoming year. I have a limited time offer. I talked about this on episode number 84. I’m going to talk about it again, because it is just so amazing, and I’ve already started doing it with some other clients.
And so, I will guide you through the process of setting up your meal plan and setting you up for success to help you build your own food uniform and meal plan. So that you can create a way of eating that is customized to you and your family’s likes, dislikes, and lifestyle.
And this is just in time for the fall, so you can gain that momentum, you can be successful in the coming months with your health goals. And remember, what you get are three 45 minute sessions with me where I will walk you through the exact process that I take with my clients.
You are going to get all of the customized worksheets and forms that I use with them. And you’re also going to get a personalized eating report. As well as my proprietary method to make cooking super simple and quick called the ‘easy meals matrix.’
Now, the investment for this is $300 and all you have to do is email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me that this is something that you want to do. So, you can also go to the show notes and there will be a link there for you to send me a message. Or you can connect with me on social as well.
So, I would love to help you set yourself up for success and get into action because that’s what we want. Right? So, have an amazing week, everyone. I will talk to you next time. Bye-bye.
Hey, Thanks for listening. If you’re done with dieting and would like to work with me as your coach, I’d like to invite you to reach out to myself and my team to ask about programs and pricing. Go to elizabethsherman.com/contact to get started today. I can’t wait to hear from you.
See you next week.