New years, new weeks, new fitness fads challenge us to overhaul our lives to be the person society has told us we should be. New challenges are a good thing, but a total life overhaul all at once is not and here is why.
What? Most resolutions stem from people seeing something that someone else has, does, or is, and wanting to have, do, or be the same thing. Being unhappy in your current situation fails to recognize that each individual has his or her own path. While looking at others can be a great motivating tool, you should recognize your best qualities. I love the song “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman. “I won’t let them break me down to dust, I know that there’s a place for us, for we are glorious.” We might not all be supermodel skinny but you may be able to run a marathon or paddle board. Whatever your talent, first you must recognize it, appreciate it, and use your strengths to be the best version of you that you can be. You might not be an incredible runner, but maybe you can take on a mean spin class. Maybe the gym is not your scene, instead you can power walk on the beach. Find what it is that best suits you and your goals. Don’t underestimate what you can achieve, just use YOUR strengths to achieve them. If you want to be a faster runner, train, work hard, and remember that the only person you have to beat is the person you were yesterday. Don’t measure your success by comparing yourself to others. Instead, recognize how far you have come and relish in being able to do something you couldn’t do yesterday! Challenge yourself to be the best you that you can be, one day at a time. “I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be – THIS IS ME!”
The chance at a fresh start is very exciting. So exciting in fact that it makes people say they are going to do grandiose things. “I’m going to lose 50 lbs.” “I am going to go to the gym every day.” “I am going to cut all the sweets/junk food/ fast food/fat or whatever out of my diet.” Is saying you are going to lose weight, workout or eat healthy a bad thing? No, not at all. The problem is the all or nothing approach. A better approach would be to say I am going to try to lose 1 pound a week until I reach my goal. Then make a specific and realistic plan as to how you are going to make that happen. Take things one day at a time and remember that one bad meal won’t make you fat, just like one workout won’t make you skinny. If you give into a craving don’t give up and throw in the towel for the rest of the day. Instead make sure your next food choice is a better one! If you are not a gym goer, saying that suddenly you will be there everyday is setting yourself up for failure. Instead, try going to a specific class X number of days per week and if you can’t make it one day figure out something to do instead (i.e. workout video, go for a run, crunches during commercials while watching your favorite show). Plan for success and make allowances for life to throw you a curve ball. Remember, one day at a time. When it comes to exercise, consistency is better than overload and burn out. What about eating healthy?? Eating healthy is great, but depriving yourself of something usually only makes you crave it more. Instead of going cold turkey on any one thing, try taking baby steps and replacing one unhealthy thing with a better alternative. Once you get used to that change, you can make the next one. Think of healthy eating as a way you want to live the rest of your life, not a quick fix to drop a few pounds.
Why have most people given up their New Year’s resolutions by mid-February? Because they made a great proclamation, deprived themselves in earnest during the month of January, and made themselves miserable. Not reaching your goal weight after depriving yourself gets frustrating, making it to the gym EVERY day has become impossible as real life gets in the way, and that tasty treat that you’ve sworn off is tempting you daily. So how do you keep with it? Focus on the positive! With your lose one pound a week goal, plan a reward once you achieve it – just not one that will derail your progress. For instance, after the first week you could buy yourself new workout shoes to motivate you to keep moving. If exercise is your goal, pick a race you want to run. One with a charity you want to support can help motivate you and asking for donations will keep you accountable to crossing that finish line. New workout clothes, new songs for your playlist, a pedicure, a massage, whatever carrot you need to put on the end of that stick to keep you moving forward! Focusing on what you get instead of what you are giving up changes your perspective. Setting yourself up for success helps you stay motivated! Breaking down your grand resolution into smaller achievable goals allows you to build momentum.
Ask yourself, is this choice going to bring me closer to my goal? Is this the ME I want to be?