It’s January 8th – how are you doing on your resolutions? Let’s be honest with each other – some of you are probably already failing or haven’t really gotten started yet. It’s OK! Many of us make resolutions that are doomed from the get go. We set ourselves up for failure. We either make resolutions with no strategy or plan of attack, we make resolutions focused on a desired outcome with no desire to actually make a behavior change or we shoot so far beyond where we are that we can’t possibly keep the resolution.
Let’s take a look at some typical resolutions … and then we’ll look at some more achievable goals.
1. I am going to fit into my favorite jeans again!
– That’s a great aspiration but how are you going to make it happen? There is a reason you no longer fit in those pants. It’s probably diet or lifestyle related. Unless you look at what changes you have already made to get to where you currently are – you will not be able to get back to where you want to be. A better resolution would be – I am going to return to my exercise program, or I am going to modify my diet and limit sugar intact. By focusing on the necessary CHANGE not the desired result – you are much more likely to end up back in those jeans.
2. I am going to only eat healthy foods!
– It’s great to want to make changes to your diet and choose healthy. But what is your starting point? Are you currently living on fried food, snacks and candy? Making a switch to 100% healthy is like trying to go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds. Most of us are not programmed for that kind of drastic change. This is a recipe for failure. Some goals are better attacked in steps. A healthier approach would be to add a vegetable to your lunch and dinner plan. Do that for a few weeks – make it a habit. Then take another step. That could be replacing your snacking with a healthier option – cut up fruit or nuts instead of chips. It may be a longer journey to your goal but you are more likely to make this a lifestyle change not a temporary thing. Behavior change takes time and the goal should be a healthier life not a quick fix.
3. I’m going to go to the gym 6 days a week!
– How much are you working out now? If the answer is not at all – you are shooting too high! What will happen if you go from sedentary to full speed in a short period of time? Well – there are a couple possible outcomes: injury and fatigue or failure. In this case the goal should be to begin a healthy exercise program. This is where a professional trainer would come in handy! You would be better off going to the gym twice a week for a month first and then increasing your workouts to 3 days a week and so on. Remember you have your whole life – there is not a time limit on healthy! People fail because they try to make drastic changes. It’s better to have a multi-tiered strategy.
I think it’s great to examine your life at the beginning of each year and focus on areas where you can improve and be the best version of yourself. But I encourage you to think about setting goals and using a strategy to get to those goals – not lofty resolutions that come February will just a be a distant thought. Behavior change takes time and commitment. It’s ok to start small. If you need help figuring out a healthy plan – I’m happy to help!