It's your first week on the MS Diet and you are fully committed to making it work. In your mind, this is it! No going back to your old ways. This is how you are going to stay well with MS. You've bought all the food, planned all the meals and are ready to roll! A few days into your new healthy lifestyle, you hit a stressful patch and that cake in the office kitchen starts calling your name. Oh dear!
Or, it's your first weekend on the MS diet and your friends invite you to meet up for dinner. There is absolutely nothing on the menu that you could safely eat and you end up eating something gluten and dairy filled so that you don't make your friends feel awkward. Plus, you're starving because you forgot to eat before you came! Uh Oh.
Cracks start forming and your new found motivation takes a dive. You find yourself back in your old ways again.
Sound familiar? These are very common scenarios for anyone starting a new lifestyle plan. There is often a start-stop dynamic that takes place before you establish the engrained habits. However, when you have MS you may not be able to afford the luxury of starting and stopping so often. The very core of your health and well-being depends on the food and nutrients you eat, the exercise you do and the stress relief techniques you implement. I am quite passionate about this topic because it is so incredibly important. It can mean the difference between ending up in a wheelchair and staying vibrantly mobile - well into old age. This is serious ladies!
Leading yourself in the right direction is often a challenging task. Self-leadership or self discipline can be thought of as taking yourself by the hand and gently, but firmly walking on the correct path. Sometimes a little tug is necessary and other times it's an easy and pleasant walk that you are thoroughly enjoying. What we need to understand is that we all have a responsibility to lead ourselves. No one is more invested in your well-being than you. No one else is better equipped to lead you than YOU! You know what you should and shouldn't be doing. But often you just don't feel like listening to yourself and old habits are just too easy to get back into. You let go your own hand and let something else drag you away. It happens.
Keys to Creating Deep and Lasting Change
Life Coach, Richard Cox (interviewed in the podcast below) explains that most of us are not well educated or experienced in the process of deep personal change. This is with particular regard to giving up old, unsupportive behaviours. In his recent article on the subject, he explains why we are often not successful at implementing change:
"We get motivated, take too much on, expect too much of ourselves in one go, try to implement change without the proper thinking, planning and support and then ultimately end up letting go of our new lifestyle, rather than letting go of the old habit we are wanting to change. We revert to the old, established and supported behaviour, because our thinking has not changed. How you understand your thinking/feeling experience and what you do with it will ultimately determine the results you create."
In this podcast, Richard mentions FOUR keys to creating deep and lasting change. He elaborates on them in the interview but here they are (just to whet your appetite):
- Clarify Direction & Deepen Purpose : where are you at present and where do you want to end up?
- Strategise Actions: we need a well thought out plan.
- Upgrade Skills: working on skills such as personal organisation or perhaps dealing with change and conflict more effectively.
- Optimise Environment: creating an environment that will support the changes you want to make. Getting rid of all junk and unhealthy food is one example.
I had a profound evening interviewing Richard on this topic and I really think you'll get so much out of the interview. So, even if you don't think you're struggling with self-discipline, have a listen. You may pick up some extra suggestions for enhancing your MS diet lifestyle.