New Year Resolutions

How many of you are going into the new year with a resolution to lose weight or exercise more? Its the most popular resolution. New year, new me!! Right? Well, its not quite that easy. This health based resolution is the one least likely to be followed through with. Why? People tend to make changes that are too drastic, too quickly. I mean you wake up on January 1st and plan to make a complete lifestyle change? Thats some hard stuff to do!!

Making changes too drastically is setting yourself up to fail because the task becomes too grueling, completely unsustainable, and/or too much work. Its just miserable. Im all for having BIG goals! Dream big because you are capable of so much more than you think you are. But, you need a plan and then take small steps to get there, while celebrating the small victories along the way.

Social media has so many fitness influencers, it becomes hard to have realistic goals. The influencers didnt get where they are overnight, in a week, a month or even a year. And you wont either. So be realistic, make a plan and have patience with yourself. Really sit down and think about how much time you can and are willing to devote to this lifestyle change. Also consider long term sustainablity. Can you do this for the rest of your life? It has to be enjoyable or it will not be something you continue doing. My advice? Have a big LONG term goal. This can be your New Year Resolution. But, make a plan to get there with smaller, incremental goals along the way. Decide WHY you want to do this? Your WHY is what will drive you on the hard days. When discipline and commitment overcomes motivation. If the goal doesnt mean anything to you, you will have no reason to push through the challenging times. You have to find the reason you want this, deep down inside. Why is this so important to you?

So, do you want to exercise more? Great! Start with small changes if you want the changes to last. Commit to 30 minutes a day of exercise for 3 or 5 days a week, or whatever seems doable and managable for you. How much time can you truly commit? Consider work, family obligations, sleep, commute, etc… If you are unreasonable with this time commitment you will feel like you are failing when you cant exercise often enough. And guess what? Thats when the desire to quit starts showing up. The “I cant do this anyway so why did I even try?”. Your resolution should be something you can succeed at. Your resolution should make you feel good. It feels good to succeed!! As you see how successful you can be, it will motivate you to take the next step, to exercise a little more. Either longer duration &/or more frequently. Or maybe just increase the intensity. Whatever it takes to get closer to your long term goals. Stay hungry for that goal but dont starve yourself of small bits of success along the way.

Once you have been honest about how much time you can devote, think about the details. Exercising 3 or 5 days a week doesnt have to be done in a gym each day. You can walk or run outside, play a sports game with your kids, or exercise at home. Just commit to “exercise” in some way. Start with a loose plan. Its easier to succeed that way. As you gain momentum in the right direction you can start to add more detail and more discipline. You have to build habits and routines slowly for them to stick. You have to stay interested.

Why do you think gym memberships (& health and wellness coaching) sky rockets in January and dwindles down by Feb/March. So many people sign up in January but then many quit just one third of the way into the new year. There are many reasons why but some of the most common and also preventable are:
* Burnout/Boredom
* Making mistakes and not being forgiving with yourself
* Using fad diets, shakes, fad work out equiptment or falling for “quick and easy, see results NOW” schemes. They dont work. They just dont. They never will.
* Not having a supportive circle around
* Too many changes, too quickly
* Making the task more work than fun
* “All or nothing” mentality
* Lack of time (being unrealistic about the time you have to devote when creating a plan)
* Not getting help from a proffesional
* Not knowing where to start
* Inconsistency
* Using a plan that you see on social media that works for someone else. You are not that person. You have to do what works for YOU
* Not setting yourself up to succeed
* Being so rigid with your “plan” you are no longer enjoying life
* Not getting enough sleep as part of your goal. Sleep is so often overlooked when it plays such a HUGE part in your success. (The same goes for stress managment)
* Not putting thought or time into the process, “winging it”

So what can you do? Start slow by building a habit in small incremental steps. Thats what sticks. This is your life and you get to decide what your goals are and how you want to live this life. You are in control of how much you put into this and how far you take it. All I recommend is take it slow. Slow and sustainable is the path to being successful.

Ok so you want to eat better? Start with one meal a day on a plan that lines up with your goals. Or, substitute one food you want to remove in your diet with one food you want to add. Dont try to change your entire eating plan all in one day!! And dont, please dont elimate any foods! You can have your favorite foods in moderation. There’s nothing that creates binging and guilt more than drastic diet changes or elimination. Remember long term success will come with a lifestyle change. A FULL lifestyle change takes a year! Be patient with yourself and enjoy the process along the way.

Most importantly, if you have a bad day, a bad week or fall off the wagon at any point in time, that is NOT a reason to quit. You CAN do this and you WILL, if you really want to. One “mistake” isnt going to ruin any progress you make. You can restart as many times as you want! The next day, the next snack, the next meal are all opportunities to start again if you need to. Every moment of the day is a chance to continuing building momentum towards your goals or make a fresh start.

Being strong and healthy is not a gift and it doesnt come by luck. It is something you have to work for, something you earn. You are worth the investment. You dont need to wait until the New Year to start making changes but if the New Year is what motivates you, then go with it and start January 1st. But please always remember you can start anytime. Its never too late. Youre never too far gone. And sooner is always better than later when it comes to taking care of your health. Whatever you decide to do, be gentle with yourself.

Cheers to YOU, your health, your happiness and your journey!!

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