At the beginning of every year, millions of Americans create New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions attempt to change behavior and make life better, and “getting fit” or “getting healthy” is usually at the top of the list. By mid-February though, lots of those resolutions may have fallen by the wayside.
If you made a resolution this year, take a moment and re-assess it. How are you doing so far? Are you still on track? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably already “broken” it! Instead of beating yourself up about it (or worse, throwing your hands up and giving up on being healthy altogether!), I want you to examine what your New Year’s Resolution actually is—and that means looking at the reasoning behind it and the steps it may take to get there.
The problem is, everyone has the best of intentions. They pick the perfect plan to help them reach their goals, and vow to follow it perfectly once the New Year arrives. These plans usually include harsh rules and rigorous routines to follow—which means that within a few weeks, willpower wanes. These programs are not sustainable long term since they don’t fit into your life, and before long it seems like you’re right back where you started.
Take a look at what you really want for your health. Most people just want to feel better, look better, and be more productive and happy. This goal is best met by consistent habits that fit easily into your life and lifestyle, not by rigorous programs that require schedule upheavals and strict dietary restrictions.
Shift your goals to focus on the process rather than the outcome. After all, health is a lifelong journey. Instead of making it your goal to fit that rigorous program into your life, include the type of life you want to lead into your goal! If your goal is to be the most fit person on the planet, then all your free time would be devoted to diet and exercise. But I’m willing to bet you’re more like me: you want to be healthy, but don’t want to focus every minute of your day on diet and exercise. Without those rigorous behaviors being the focus of your life, you can loosen up on the programs and have more fun! Yes, you still make your health a priority and go to the gym—but it does not need to run your life. Knowing this can help make the idea of changing less scary, and help you renew your commitment to any resolution you made on January 1st.
Process-oriented equals improving in small steps every single week. Start with this week: how many days did you work out? How many days did you resist the doughnuts or the cake at the office? Or, if you’ve made a mistake, how can you choose differently next time? Celebrate your successes and then strive to do better the following week, instead of beating yourself up for not sticking to any unreasonable program you set up.
Throughout the year, I’ll be encouraging you to make better, consistent decisions. Creating the right routine for you—one that fits into your lifestyle and helps you become fitter and healthier—is a task that is constantly evolving throughout the year as you improve. Even if you already have a routine you enjoy, maybe it’s time to tweak it a little and add some new challenges! Whether starting from scratch or assessing your current routine, contact me for an appointment so I can help you stick with that resolution!