Ever have things on your Health and Wellbeing To-Do List longer than you care to admit? You have an inkling (or know with great certainty) that taking it on would serve you well, you’re just waiting for the right time to get started? Let me pause here so that I can raise my hand. Yep, I’ve been there!
For the longest time, I attributed this tendency to my natural desire to be both thorough and efficient. In my mind, there were times it just made more sense to wait to start certain things so I could maximize resources and results. Why start exercising this week if I only had one free day, when three weeks from now, my calendar is wide open? If it was a worthy endeavor, then it was essential to give that endeavor the attention it deserved, right?
It was after a particularly long stretch waiting for that just right moment that I began seeing my thinking and actions differently. I had to face the fact that there’s being thorough and efficient, and then there’s good old fashioned procrastinating, or as I’ve rebranded it “As Soon As Syndrome” (ASAS).
As soon as my workload eases up, then I’ll get back to working out.
As soon as the weekend is over, then I’ll reset.
As soon as I finish scrolling my timeline…
As soon as…
Sometimes ASAS is an acute condition influenced by occasional events like when I’m on vacation. Here the impact of ASAS is minimal, and the just-right moment will present itself shortly. “Just let me get through this trip, and when I get home, it’s back to my usual routine of homecooked meals and a sea of greens!”
Other times, it’s been a more chronic condition impacted by that more pervasive and pesky variable we call life. For me, it’s that combination of work, home, and family. I once had a case of ASAS for two years when a new job upended my schedule. I went from a completely flexible schedule where I could do everything on my time, to a fixed schedule that dictated when everything else happened. As a result, I went from the best shape of my life to the worst shape of my life in 6 months, and I stayed there for another 18 months as I waited for that just-right moment to reset. On Friday, I’d have my eye on Monday. On Saturday, well, let’s not talk about Saturdays. On Sunday, I would assess the week when could I get back to exercising, cooking, and eating well again. And every week, there was something on the calendar that made it less than ideal.
“Let me get through this project” turned into “let me get through the holidays” which turned into “let me get through this birthday” which turned to “let me get the kids through this school year.” You see where I’m going with this. There was always something that made another time seem like a better option.
So what cured that particular chronic case of ASAS and has prevented future relapses? I had a few big realizations, and I made a few small changes.
First, I reckoned with the fact that my inaction did not align with how I saw myself. Beyond being someone who valued taking care of myself with exercise and healthy eating, I also saw myself as someone who follows through on things. I’m someone who gets things done! Yet, there was no possible way to draw that conclusion based on my actions at that time. I had to reconcile that I was all talk and no action. Oof. That was a hard pill to swallow, but it became a far more potent motivator than any steps challenge or diet-bet ever would.
Progress Not Perfection
Second, I realized that I was accomplishing nothing as I was waiting for the just-right moment to accomplish everything. I had this specific idea of what it meant to start exercising, to resume cooking, and to eat well again. That version no longer fit into my real life. I was waiting for two things to fit together that could no longer fit together. By waiting for the ideal time to execute the ideal plan, I missed out on smaller, daily opportunities to make any forward movement.
So, what happened after I had these profound realizations? What finally spurred me to action and set my “comeback” in motion? I decided to let go of that singular version of how I thought it should look. I decided that doing something, no matter how small, was always going to be better than doing nothing. So, my first action-step back toward my best self? I designated Sunday as the day I would create a menu for the week and go to the store. That’s it. That’s all it took to bust out of a two-year rut. It felt so good to have an action step that fit seamlessly into my new schedule and moved me forward. It didn’t take long from there to make other small steps toward that vision of my best self.
Even the smallest of changes have a ripple effect. And that ripple effect is what I forgot about as I was up to my knees in work, family, and life. Small changes become significant changes; self-doubt becomes self-confidence; the bar in life raises. You aspire to do better and to be better, and you start finding opportunities to go after things that you didn’t see before.
If you have anything on your Health and Wellness To-Do List, schedule a session with a Wellview Health Advisor today. We are all about helping you identify those small action steps to get you on your way!
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– JEANNE TORRE, MSW, LCSW, NBC-HWC