The Sparkle Coach: Set boundaries for yourself and others will follow

Whether you’re stuck in the rat race of career or a busy home and family life, it can be hard to find the time to eat well, move more and to sleep, but you can make time by saving time.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 2:56 pm
Updated Monday, 15th March 2021, 3:00 pm

We put enormous pressure on ourselves to do everything and be everything for everyone and when it comes to our own health and fitness, we just want a quick fix. But by implementing simple boundaries in your life to save yourself time we can rediscover focused time to exercise, rest and to focus on your core values.

The first boundary is self-discipline and taking responsibility for our own journey by committing to take action. This can feel empowering or at times, bitter-sweet as it is easier to blame others or external factors. But we must start from within and whilst certain situations may not be our fault, what we can do is begin to take control of the now by tracking our behaviour for a period of time so we can become aware of areas we are strong in and where we are neglecting and need to turn our attention to.

Writing out our goals that are aligned with our core values is proven to help us stay on track as well as how to reduce certain triggers.

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The Sparkle Coach

Make sure you drill down into the specifics of your goal to start with realistic ‘wins’ such as ‘get fit’ could be a larger ‘aim of improving holistic fitness.’

So break it down into nutrition, rest/recovery and activity and then drill down into your weaker area e.g. Total fitness includes cardiovascular and muscular endurance and strength. So focus on a goal within that such as improving muscular strength through lifting weights to increase hypertrophy.

For me, I am a reformed ‘crammer,’ i.e. I naturally have a high energy and ambition to be productive in all areas of my life by making sure that I fitted as much as possible into one day as possible, until I literally collapsed with exhaustion.

So my goal was to rest and sleep more, especially after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue, I needed to pace myself to perform at all. This huge breakthrough came from pausing and resting more in between activities which has meant that I have become more efficient and productive in my work, dance teaching and fitness activities, achieving better results in a shorter time.

If you’re more inclined to rest and pause than move, then you’re tipping the opposite way to me, which is why we all need support for different areas of our health.

Then as we train with our mental kettlebell before we get on to our body, we can begin to mentally de-clutter our lives and minds. There might be certain avoidable triggers such as places or people you can dissociate from or limit contact with these people, reduce stressors at a certain place or break habit chains which stimulate negative emotions.

We need to begin asserting our own boundaries and say ‘no’ more because we have a bigger ‘why’ by saying ‘yes,’ to our wellbeing.

Once we have jotted out our weekly schedule and outcome goals, next up is to plan our days to incorporate our core goals through 'mini wins'. It’s important that our days where possible allow for time for activities/movement, rest/sleep (refocus time), relationships and refuelling our bodies through nutrition.

Don’t neglect the rest periods because building in mindfulness each day, which combines science and therapy, can be so powerful, not as an ‘extra’ but as an integral part of our wellbeing.

Not only can pausing more boost brain cognition (by 30 per cent after a 20 minute nap or pause), but it can prevent us from snacking on high sugar food and drink to try ‘power us through,’ not to mention it improves peak performance when exercising.

You could make time for this by swapping social media scrolling for a power nap, or smart swaps of time with unhelpful behaviours to positive ones.

It’s not about a dramatic change over night but a gradual transformation by tracking our daily wins to keep motivated and checking in weekly with an accountability buddy or ideally a personal trainer to see how we can adjust or improve areas gradually for the day or week ahead.

You'll find that the more you assert your own boundaries, even if like me it came from calling my gym classes ‘health appointments,’ to those who would not respect my need to go to the gym or I have even ‘blamed my coach’ for setting boundaries I feel uncomfortable asserting at first.

Over time your confidence builds and people around you will either start to respect and become motivated by your new healthy habits or there might be negative people who continue to invade your boundaries which may mean it is time to move on.

By making these healthy swaps, no matter how small it may seem at first will allow you to have more time to exercise, eat and rest well to transform your mind and body fitness.

It could even have a positive impact on your relationships making deeper connections with the people that really matter and are aligned with your values, as well as performing better at work and you will reap the rewards of a healthier life, the ultimate transformation.

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