Mowing the Lawn While the House Burns Down
by Coach Chris
I had someone ask recently about taking a supplement to help them sleep better at night. They were tired all the time, and felt like they weren’t getting restful sleep.
When I asked for more information, it became clear that there was much more to the story than restless sleep. It turns out they were staying up until 2am playing video games almost every night. Adding a supplement when they’re only getting 4 hours of sleep per night wasn’t going to make any sort of tangible difference! Instead, I recommended A) trying to gradually increase their amount of sleep or B) stopping the video games at least an hour before bedtime to help the brain wind down for sleep.
While their intentions were in the right place, they were really hoping to find a “quick fix” to allow them to keep 100% of their current habits while also feeling less sleepy and irritable all day. Sorry friend…you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
The truth is, lasting, impactful change takes time. There are going to be some tradeoffs. We can usually find a healthy balance that feels sustainable, and gets us good results. However, we have to start by looking in the right place.
When it comes to your fitness, nutrition & lifestyle, start with the fundamentals. It may seem obvious, but many people have some pretty serious holes in their lifestyle game that need to be addressed, before worrying about the flashy diet stuff they saw on Instagram.
Are you consistently getting 7+ hours of sleep per night?
Are you consistently eating 5+ servings of fruits & veggies daily?
Are you consistently eating balanced meals that include protein, healthy fats, + carbohydrates?
Do you consistently take time for stress relief & personal care?
Are you consistently exercising 3-4 times per week or more, for 30 minutes?
I’d bet that 95% of all people (myself included) have at least one of these basic healthy habits we could improve on right now.
If you’re not sleeping enough, not getting proper nutrients from your food, not moving your body, you’re stressed out and frazzled…that melatonin supplement you were asking about is about as useful as mowing your lawn while the house is on fire. While your intentions are in the right place, your focus is not on the most pressing issues.
Chances are, you’ve got some very low hanging fruit you can go after with those fundamental habits above. Start with ONE of those. Do it every day for two weeks, and see what happens. Consistency is key — pick one that you are very confident you can handle for that length of time.
Don’t think you can handle one of those? Bit off more than you could chew? Simplify it even further.
Maybe you only eat one serving of fruits & veggies per day. Can we make that two?
Maybe you average 5 hours of sleep per night. Can we make that 6?
Maybe you’re only exercising twice a week. Can we make that three?
One healthy habit at a time, we can move ourselves a little further up the health & well-being scale. Some of the changes will feel harder than others — so it’s important to start with things that DO feel easy to change, and build from there.
Nutrition habits can follow a logical progression, just like our movements in CrossFit. If you can’t do a single pull up yet, and you walk up to a set of rings and attempt a muscle up, OF COURSE you’re destined to be frustrated! First you need to get one strict pull up. Then two, three, four, and so on. Then you work on your ring dips & support holds. Then you work on transition drills, and assisted muscle ups. Eventually, one new step at a time, you build up to that muscle up! There’s a logical progression that takes time & patience to get through, to reach your goal. Every step builds on the ones before it. There’s no shortcuts.
Nutrition works the same way. Attempting to go from Mountain Dew, Cheetos, and three hours of sleep to a restrictive or time consuming nutrition program like a Whole 30 is setting yourself up to run face first into a brick wall. You don’t need Whole 30, you need to eat a few veggies and sleep a bit more first, and make that the new normal. Once you have that down, let’s add one more new habit.
Look at it this way — if you can learn & embrace one small, totally doable new habit every 2-3 weeks…by the time six months is over, you’ve got nearly a dozen new healthy habits that are part of your everyday life! The cumulative effect is massive, and the likelihood of sustaining the habits is infinitely higher than if you’d tried to do them all at once.
Don’t mow your lawn when the house is on fire. Put some water on that fire first! Better yet…call the fire department. Or in the case of your nutrition…give us a call!
Very soon we’re rolling out our Ripple Effect Nutrition program. It’s all about making sustainable, achievable changes in your everyday habits to set you up for success for the rest of your life! We’ll help you identify, prioritize and actually DO the things that’ll help you reach your goals.
We’ll be starting up individual coaching in the next few weeks, plus a group coaching program coming later this fall. Join our Nutrition VIP list for early access to registration so you guarantee your spot, plus exclusive discounts only available to VIPs!