The power of a clean slate
During a conversation recently with one of my coaching clients, the idea of getting a clean slate, or setting the proverbial “reset button” came up.
This feeling of failure and the need to start again happens to everyone; it’s human nature, especially when a new habit in exercise, nutrition or managing stress doesn’t go well.
My client felt they hadn’t been putting the best version of themselves forward and wondered if they would ever be able to master the skills they wanted to learn to be their best.
As a coach, rather than a client feeling discouraged, in need of “willpower” or taking the all-or-nothing approach, I encourage the power of clean slate every once-in-a-while.
What I mean by a “clean slate” is not worrying about past mistakes and allowing yourself to begin again.
Why? It helps diffuse the perfection mindset and allows “failure” to be a motivator to reset the path. After all, true health is about progress, not perfection.
In a 2017 survey, called the Adidas Wellness Poll, active people were almost 20% more likely than inactive people to say that, when related to fitness and wellness, there is no universal right or wrong, only what works and doesn’t work.
That is why I find being active or play has a powerful cascading effect on all the other habits in your life.
There is an ever-evolving range of outcomes and behaviours that can tweak for each individual based on body type, age, activity level, mental readiness, life stage, environment or social connections.
It’s neither good nor bad, just what works for us as individuals.
One of the essential tools you can use to clean the slate is something called the 5-minute action habit.
While it might seem deceivingly simple, embracing a 5-minute action can have a profound impact on feeling accomplished.
The 5-minute action gets us in the mindset of consistency, persistence, and focus. We choose something manageable to do for five minutes every day, and we learn to stick to it.
It can be anything. Five minutes of walking; five minutes of standing; five minutes of food prepping; five minutes of meditating; five minutes of stretching. You get the idea.
The remarkable side effect of practicing one 5-minute action: It teaches us to trust ourselves.
When you start to develop proof that you will do the one thing you say you will do, you begin to trust yourself. And trusting your word, and your intentions is one of the best skills we can develop to improve our relationship with ourselves.
Start with a habit you want to build and feel confident that you can do. The confidence part is essential! You can stretch yourself a little, but you should feel a good sense of “I can do this!”
Remember that this isn’t so much about accomplishing the specific action as it is about developing consistency, persistence, and, most importantly, self-trust.
Practice this habit every day for the next two weeks, and notice what kind of feedback your participation gives you.
There is no way to “fail” or do this exercise wrong. We’re just getting feedback and learning about ourselves.
After two weeks, take stock about how consistent you were.
If it felt hard, maybe the action you picked was unrealistic or too challenging. Or perhaps you’re meeting the rebel within;)
On the other hand, if the 5-minute action felt somewhat easy, maybe you’re ready for a more significant challenge. Perhaps unleashing your inner bad-ass!
Let’s face it; life can sideline us at the best of times.
But if you can stick to a 5-minute action, it helps build self-trust and pride and keeps you balanced with your health goals.