Are you suffering from the Covid-10?  Or maybe you are better than most and it's only the Covid-5 for you!?


You know what I am talking about, right?  The work from home and stress snacking manifest in an extra few pounds around the middle.


We are now six months into our journey and things that just felt temporary have taken on a new perspective.  They may not be permanent, but temporary isn't quite the word for them.  Our lives are likely to feel abbreviated for another few months or even another half year.


As this has settled in for me, I have had to "put on my big girl pants" (literally and figuratively) and begin building a more realistic and sustainable routine for myself. 


It turns out that every day doesn't call for Happy Hour and my afternoon snacks should not be a bag of Jalapeno Kettle Chips.  And a walk around the neighborhood does not make up for un-ending hours in my home office. 


If the Covid-10 isn't going to be permanent, something has to change!


At this moment, it is really easy to get all gung-ho and be like, "Hell Yeah!  I am going to get in the best shape of my life!"  and have that enthusiasm last until about 4:45 when you start counting down to Happy Hour again!


I don’t know about you, but life feels stressful and hard right now.  Work is good, but everything takes extra effort.  The family is healthy, but everyone is feeling the cabin fever.  And don't even get me going on the election!


And I have learned a hard lesson over the years.  I will not be able to sustain major lifestyle changes during a stressful period in my life.  It just won't work.  Been there done that!


Now, I have a girlfriend who truly thrives on stress.  She blossoms and her whole life comes into focus when she is under the gun.  If you are like her, you might want to move on because this will not be the blog for you!


For the rest of us who want to make changes, but have to be realistic about our strategy during challenging times, I have some advice to share!


There are three things that have enabled me to make consistent progress in many areas of my life.  They are especially effective for me when the idea of change feels overwhelming. 


-Sneak up on it

-Prove it to yourself first

-Harness the power of habit


Let's breakdown each strategy and how you can combine them to make sustainable change in any environment.


Sneak up on it.

Let's consider our Covid 5-10 lbs.  What does "sneaking up on it" look like in that context?  In my case, my back went out very badly in May.  The WHOLE month of May!  I couldn't just jump on the band wagon with a fancy fitness routine.  I had to work my way back slowly and then surpass what I had been doing. 


First, I committed to just walking.  That's it.  I am going to walk every day.  Then I realized that many of my previous workouts required too much jumping around, so I decided to do some strength training a couple of times a week.  Just a basic full body routine.  Nothing crazy.  Then it became every other day. 


Once that felt easy, I found an online trainer who puts together more challenging routines.  I told myself I didn't have to do the whole kit and caboodle.  I was just using her routines to up my game a bit.  Then, I noticed the strength training was making me a little tight so I added one day of yoga.   And sometimes I didn't have time to do the whole workout, so I dusted off my exercise bike and I do 20 minutes of HIIT cardio on the bike when my schedule is tight. 


I am now working out 5-6 days a week routinely.  I am doing strength, cardio, stretching and a rest day when I need it.  If I had suggested to myself in May that I should jump into a fitness regime like this one, I would have 1. been physically unable to and 2. been mentally incapable of committing to it.  But I snuck up on it and it has actually been pretty easy!


Prove it to yourself first.

They always tell you to use positive peer pressure to your advantage and to declare your grand plans to the people around you.  Though I understand the premise behind this, I don't need any more pressure or shame in my life when I let myself down.  I have that covered all on my own!


I have learned to keep the secret for a little while.  I don't say anything.  I just start taking the action that I contemplated.  Once I have a couple of weeks or even a month under my belt with the change I am working on, then I give myself permission to share.


I think the power of this idea comes from the concept of identity.  When you tell someone what you are fixin' to do , it's aspirational.  I want to become a person that does this thing.    But when you have already started doing it regularly and stuck with it, you are actually telling someone who you are and reinforcing it by sharing it with your circle. 


There is power in the idea that "people like me, do things like this".  I am pretty sure that this is a Seth Godin idea, but I am applying in a different venue.  By proving it to yourself first and then declaring it to the world, it really helps the new activity stick!


Harness the power of habit.

I am not sure if we are born with a finite reservoir of will power or if we grow it like a muscle, but I am certain that we can run out of it!  And when we do, things get messy!


I have had a really hard time over my life of maintaining great eating habits and exercise habits at the same time.  I have tended to do one or the other well.  I would use up all my will power in my workout and then eat like a 16 year old.  Or I would eat really clean but not be able to muster much more than a walk out of myself. 


I recently realized why!  Because I am trying to enact behavior change in both areas simultaneously.  You know, the whole life makeover concept.  This time, I have done things differently and I can feel myself responding to the challenge in a new way. 


Since I snuck up on my workouts slowly over four months, it's not hard anymore.  When I don't move each day, I actually miss it.  I no longer requires will power!  Or at least not as much.


Now, as I am pivoting to my eating habits, I am sneaking up on that too.  I just committed to one thing.  Tracking my food.  That's it!  I am not trying to rework my every eating habit and go on a strict diet.  I just promised myself I would start tracking.  And lo and behold, the habit is sticking and my behavior is changing.   And my reserve of will power isn't being drained because the workouts are on auto pilot and only the tracking requires effort!


I will not suggest that my Covid 10 is suddenly gone and I am a new person.  But I can say that despite things being challenging in my life, I am finally headed in the right direction!  And I feel like these habits are more engrained than ever in my life.


I have been talking about health and fitness, but these three ideas…

-Sneak up on it,

-Prove it to yourself first,

-Harness the power of habit,

can be applied to any area of your life and business.


Incremental progress isn't sexy and doesn’t make for good movie montages, but it does allow for more durable change.  Rather than bouncing between "killing it" and "failing", you get to ease into change and become the kind of person that lives the life you want to live!


Change is possible, even during challenging times!  I hope this serves you and I would love to hear how you might apply this concept in your life!


With Purpose,




I would love to hear from you!  What are you working on?  How can you use these ideas to help create change that sticks in your life?


I invite you to join the TIA Mastermind Group on Facebook  and share your journey with us!  There are hundreds of like-minded advisors who would love to support you.



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