What's your go-to approach when you've got a health goal that isn't working?
If you're like many of the people I coach, when diet or fitness plans (or more serious health challenges) don't fall in line with your goals, you get frustrated and start looking for ways to clamp down. Tighten the rules! Cut calories! Find a new time management program! Identify all the things that are going wrong!
Or, alternatively, you might throw your hands up, and say, Forget it! Why bother?!
Obstacles are important to understand, and most of us are pretty skilled at identifying our shortcomings. We've got decades of experience railing against bad habits. They give us something to work against, but not much to work with.
We have less practice recognizing the things we're doing right, which is a shame because it's a lot easier to build on existing healthy habits than it is to prohibit "bad" ones.
When my clients and I dig into the details, we usually discover they're doing a lot more for their health and happiness than they give themselves credit for. Even on rough weeks with lots of stress, emotional eating, or sleep deprivation, there are often small but significant ways they take care of themselves, without thinking twice. Those are fascinating (and often fun) places to start.
This week, a reader wrote in to Forbes to ask how to stay healthy while traveling for work. They developed healthy routines at home during the pandemic and are having a hard time staying on track now that business trips are back on the agenda. They were focused exclusively on the things they're doing wrong on the road.
In my answer, I unpack the idea of staying "on track." When we find a routine that works for us, it's natural to want to replicate it no matter what else is going on, but that singular focus on a rigid plan can be a recipe for failure.
We're much more resilient when we've got multiple options at our fingertips and the agency to choose what we need at any given time. Business travel is a perfect testing ground to specify and explore those options.
Imagine that Track 1 is your routine at home. Track 2 is life on the road. They both have to meet your needs, but they definitely don't need to be the same! In fact, having multiple ways to exercise or a variety of eating patterns can be very beneficial for your health.
For my part, when I'm traveling for work (or pleasure), I pull up the AllTrails app to find hiking trails or city walks to explore my surroundings and get some fresh air. If there's no time for that, I've been known to walk airports with a favorite podcast on my headphones or to do basic stretches and strengthening exercises in my hotel room to keep back and knee pain at bay.
There is no limit to how many versions of "healthy" we can choose from, some include fresh spinach salads and some include roadside ice cream.
What are you already doing that keeps you healthy? And what's an alternative you could try on the road or on a particularly stressful day?
All the best,
This week brought some actual, real-life good news. The day after the March for Our Lives rallies nationwide, a bipartisan group of senators announced the first gun safety bill the Senate has seriously considered in decades. It's not nearly enough, but it's a start.
In fact, Fox News published an op-ed by Parkland High School shooting survivor, David Hogg, about working together. (Say what?!) He calls on gun owners, NRA members, and people from all sides of the political spectrum to come to the table to protect their own rights as well as those of innocent victims. He believes this time is different. The road ahead is long, but I hope with all my heart that he's right.
Last, Smithsonian Magazine reported this week that The Brooks Atkinson Broadway Theater will be renamed for award-winning actor, singer and civil rights activist, Lena Horne. "Broadway theaters have always been named for giants of the stage... Now, in a historic first, a Broadway theater will be named for a Black woman."
She was the highest paid Black actor of her era, the first Black woman to be nominated for a Tony award, and an outspoken activist during the Civil Rights Movement who refused to take stereotypical, derogatory Black roles.
Speaking of noticing the things we're doing right... as Audra McDonald put it, "Representation is everything." One film, one theater, one law at a time, new voices are being elevated and heard.
We can do the same for our bodies, heeding the call for more movement, more nurturing fuel, and more respect.
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