Turns out Resolutions are not that easy to keep. Apparently deciding overnight that you are going to do XY and Z all differently in the new year is not exactly the best way to form the new habits that are supposed to make that all possible. But here are some great ways to renew those resolutions (it’s what February’s for!) and have them stick. The key to the whole thing? Baby steps.
Yeah, sure, everyone wants to lose 20lbs, learn another language and save more money. But aside from updating your vision board there are some important checks to achieve along the way to make it happen.
Full disclosure, I haven’t managed to pick up a language in the past year, or gotten my finances all sorted out. I did however manage to lose 50lbs in 6 months once, so based on those stellar qualifications here are some of the habits that helped me achieve that:
Find out what your goals really are and gauge your progress from there.
Most people have a long list of goals that they want to achieve, but keeping your eyes on the far-off prize can get needlessly discouraging.
When I decided I needed to lose some weight I didn’t set out to lose a specific number, mostly because I was afraid of failing to hit that number. I see it happen time and time again: people get obsessed with the number they want to see on the scale. In my beginning I thought: Humm, I want to look and feel better (i.e. less...tubby), lets see what I can do. The benefit was that every time I dropped some weight I felt good and everytime I did not… well, I would work harder or look at different aspects of what I was doing. Eventually I started setting monthly goals and check ins to help me make my way to the end goal a manageable amount at a time. However, weight loss is not really what most people should be focused on, but fat loss is and setting your body up for that is going to be the thing that really changes it.
Although, I am sure that many people will still go into it with a specific number that they would like to achieve, I found that my biggest sense of accomplishment never came from the scale
but from when my pants got too big and I had to go buy new ones (best non-problem ever), or when friends commented on how nice I looked, and from the shear joy of being able to run 5k without stopping. Ok- objectively, running feels horrible. But knowing I could run a 5k without stopping felt really good. These were my true accomplishments. I still have “weight loss” goals, but the weight itself isn’t my main focus. I am more concerned about a hard yoga pose, rocking a cute dress, or going on a day long hike. These things are more important to me than a number, PLUS all of these “mini” goals really helped me achieve the big one, while actually getting to think about the things that mattered to me the most. Having little milestones to celebrate along the way to the big goal is a great way to keep you focused, happy and loving the journey.
Start to add things into your life.
So you’ve thought about your goals, and decide you want to go to the gym more. Start by adding in a few sessions per week. It does not have to be every day and you don't need to over do it, because if you go on Monday, run a 10K, lift for 45 minutes and go to a soulCycle class there is no chance you will face the gym again on Tuesday or Wednesday. Keeping goals attainable is the most important part of achieving them. I am such a big advocate of Group Fitness for this. Honestly, I think one of the greatest thing anyone can do for themselves is to find a class that they love, because it will make them excited to keep going and that will help them along the way. If you’re pumped to go work out, it wont feel like a punishing task to go do it regularly. You’ve added something that is going to be a positive rather than an “UGH, I HAVE to go to the GYM, this is the worst”. And even if you’re struggling getting to class, by the end of that warmup you will feel much better and happier already.
If your goals are focused solely on weight then you need to balance workout plans and nutrition. Which leads to….
Substitute! (as needed)
A good way to not feel deprived by your suddenly nutritious but perhaps unfamiliar is substitution. My mother would always say “ I followed the recipe exactly except….” and then explain how she used applesauce instead of all the butter to lower the calories and fat content. It would always crack my family up, but she was on to something.
There are so many recipes blogs out there that show you how to make “healthier” versions of your favorite foods. Healthier does not exactly mean healthy, (I know I start to think “Oh its a protein cookie… and then eat five of 'em) but these are ways to help you satisfy the cravings without going berserk on a big gulp and pizza rolls. Eating clean, and letting yourself get a taste of what you want will help create habits and patterns that will last longer than just the month of January.
Get back on
Hopefully 2018 is going well for you but there are times when we all fall off the metaphorical wagons, carts or horses. The thought of “ ...welp, I gained it all back, what's the point?” has crossed my mind a few times, but I have noticed, that:
A) Our bodies are resilient.
B) getting back on the clean eating and workout train is hard but so important to sticking with your resolutions and goals.
The only difference between people who have wanted to lose a ton of fat, vs people who have is that the people who have always got back on the horse (cart, wagon whatever…).
No trainer ever expects you to eat some clean/paleo/keto/other fad-diet all the time We are humans and freaking Deborah brought doughnuts in to the office AGAIN today. But knowing how to bounce back or adjust after setbacks, makes all the difference.
I suggest thinking of challenges you might face (eg, Deborah's delicious tempting doughnuts) and thinking of strategies that you can feasibly adopt to cope with them. Share a doughnut with a friend, reduce calories somewhere else in the day, skip doughnuts this time and have a protein cookie...other things unrelated to doughnuts. There’s no way that people will start brining kale smoothies into the office for everyone, so knowing how you will react to the alternative when forming new habits is essential to not falling back into the old ones.
There are going to be times when you will be faced with old habits of the past, and creating new habits starts with intentions that you can turn into a reality.
Straight to the Point:
The New Year is hard enough without having to rearrange our entire lives around trying to strive to be the better people that we think we should be. Set goals, be realistic and get back on the horse guys.
You got this!