Change: Stage 2, Contemplation

This is Part 2 of the Change Series guest post by Psychology Doctoral Candidate @galfrankie

Part 1 can be found Here.

CHANGE: Stage 2, Contemplation 

Recap: Precontemplation is where we resist the most. Like I said before, we (whether consciously or not) try to maintain homeostasis, so we're not thinking ahead about what will happen after initiating change. 
So, if you keep telling yourself that you're waiting for the 'right' moment to make a change (when things settle down with work, family, relationships, etc), that you need 'one' (hahah, is it ever really one??) last hedonistic hurrah, or that you're just not ready.... Chances are, you're NOT ready! 

Does this mean I'm telling you to give up and that you CAN'T succeed? Absolutely not!  
Just suggesting that you reexamine your state of mind before attempting to move forward.

When you DO start to actively think about making a change in your life, you're entering the Contemplation stage. This is when you recognize an issue you want to address, and develop an intention to change.

One of the most useful things you can do at this point is to try to identify the potential, REALISTIC outcomes of your intended change -- both positive AND negative. Weigh the pros and cons/risks and rewards/costs and benefits!
(I, personally, like making lists for this kind of thing!)

This can be a long process! There is SO much to consider.. Try asking yourself some open-ended questions! For example: Why do you want to change? How will you go about making the change? What areas of your life will the change impact? What compromises will you (and the others in your life) have to make? 

Typically, once you've entered the Contemplation stage, you'll be ready to initiate change in 6 months or less. If that seems like a long time, ask yourself: How long have you been engaging in the current behavior you're intending to replace?

That should put some things into perspective!

Come back for stage 3!!

Sleep Your Way to Success

Sleep may potentially be the most overlooked aspect of overall health, physical health and view of self image. People who habitually sleep for shorter periods are more at risk for a negative view of self image as compared to those who regularly get a full night of restful sleep. How amazing is it that we have the ability to increase self-confidence and view of our own bodies simply by sleeping more.

From a physiological standpoint, we are tearing down the body throughout the day whether it be by means of physical exercise, stress levels, or overexerting ourselves at work. As noted in The Big 3! everything is putting a stress on our systems, muscle fibers are broken down, adrenal stores that give us energy are being used up, and our brains are worn out due to high stimulus. Sleep helps to combat all of these regular systems. Sleep promotes Growth hormone release from the pituitary gland, which is responsible for overall repair of the body. Everything is affected from muscle rebuilding/growth, hair, skin and nail health, and longevity of health. The pituitary is also responsible for the restoring of the adrenal glands with help from the hypothalamus. With lack of sleep these organs do not function to their fullest potential leaving you with a repetitive state of less energy and risk of mental and physical injury. Water balance is also regulated during our sleep. Ever notice how on a sleepless night you wake up bloated and watery? This is because your body is protecting itself from the lack of sleep by holding onto extra water to use as hydration. With a full night of sleep this water is release because your body has repaired itself and no longer needs the additional water.

While all people are different, it is still recommended that the average working person get a minimum of 7-9 hours per sleep a night. Take into consideration a high dieting or workout phase, increased work hours, or additional mental stress on a project and the amount of sleep needed may increase a few additional hours. People often say, “oh well I only sleep 4-5 hours a night and I’m fine”. This often leads to burnout and inconsistencies during the day. One may argue the fact that less sleep equals more hours in the day for work, however the downside to that is that the productivity levels and efficiency of what is accomplished is far inferior to if a full night’s rest were had. Try increasing sleep and see how overall levels of productivity, muscle growth and fat loss are affected in a positive manner.

Cut the Sugar! Improve Your Performance!

We can all agree that consuming too much sugar leads to cravings for more sweets and can easily throw a diet off course. When consumed in moderation sugar can help rebuild muscle as well as gives us a quick boost of energy mid workout. The downside of Sugar is that it is a quickly digested calorie dense food, meaning that it is extremely easy to overeat and abuse. Another disadvantage of sugar is the decline in cognitive function. So many people consume sugar in such unnecessary forms ranging from sodas, candy, pastries, and cakes. The article linked below shows how the consumption of sugar decreases brain function and physically alters regions in the brain. Obviously brain function is important in our everyday lives, but is often taken for granted when we reach for a candy bar or cookie instead of a well balance whole food. By eliminating unnecessary foods and avoiding packaged items with hidden sugars we can ultimately function at a higher level, thus improving the chances of reaching and exceeding our goals!