I hope this year is getting off to a good start for everyone. The holiday times are behind us, and often, the new year represents a time to start fresh and clean up some of the less pleasant habits we’ve slipped into.
I hope your new years resolutions/ intentions are going as planned so far. I decided to give up coffee this year, and it’s a big struggle, but I’ve made it five days! And, I’m celebrating each one! Already, I feel so much better.
It’s interesting to me, working in the fitness industry, how much hype there is around new years resolutions to get fit and lose weight. Don’t get me wrong; these are powerful and important intentions for people. So often, many of us walk around feeling uncomfortable in our own skin, feeling guilty about what we ate or how we didn’t move, feeling perhaps desperate for this pattern to change, but not knowing where to start. Often times in the New Year, we decide to Majorly Overhaul Everything, and establish elaborate new routines to exercise, diet, sleep, spend our time perfectly. And, if you’re like most people, you realize that you can’t hit all of these new goals, you get frustrated, and give up. (Sound familiar…?).
Oy vey, you’re getting me down, Rachel! – you’re probably saying to yourself by now. So, where’s the good news in all of this?
Your goals are achievable. Your goals are absolutely achievable when you slow down, meet yourself where you are at, and practice kindness and forgiveness towards yourself. There is no quick fix, but the process towards a healthier lifestyle and a more present life is illuminating, life-changing, difficult, and magical at every step of the way. It would be a bummer to get a quick fix and miss out on the journey.
Here are some simple ways to move towards your goals in a way that is sustainable and will set you up for positive habits that will last the rest of your life.
1) Break up your big goal into smaller, manageable goals
Maybe you have a goal, for example, of running a marathon. But, let’s say you’ve never run in your life. If you set out to train for a marathon, you are most likely going to feel frustrated and disappointed that you are having trouble running long distances. Break it down. Perhaps your first goal is to run around the block without stopping. Then, once that feels comfortable, gradually ease your way up to a bigger goal. You’ll be surprised how great you feel when you can celebrate your accomplishments, even if they seem small.
2) Start today, not tomorrow
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve binged my brains out and then resolved to start a whole new diet plan of just celery, grapefruits, whatever, TOMORROW while still elbow deep in a bag of cookies. Ok, I definitely do NOT endorse the celery/grapefruit diet. But, my point is: don’t put it off until tomorrow. Ask yourself: what can I do TODAY that would improve my situation? In the cookie binge example, perhaps I could have put down the bag and called a friend or gone out for a walk.
Or, let’s say you procrastinate forever about going to the gym. It’s 9:30 and the gym closes at 10. Instead of putting it off until the next day, try going for a short walk in your neighborhood. Some exercise is better than nothing!
3) Progress, not perfection
Which leads me to my next point… change is HARD! When implementing changes in your life, you’re gonna mess up sometimes. It’s inevitable; it’s human. But, please don’t let that be an excuse to give up entirely. When you fall out of your exercise routine, it’s not going to help if you beat yourself up and vow to do 100 push ups the next day. Acknowledge that you didn’t live up to your goal, and forgive yourself. Try again next time. Or, set a goal that is more realistic to achieve.
We are constantly bombarded with messages harping on our fears and insecurities and promising a quick fix: Lose 20 pounds now! Try this brand new exercise with guaranteed results! Join this gym! In reality, we see that most people have difficulty sticking with a program, and, then the cycle begins again, feeling desperate, looking for the next new thing.
Let’s make a new years intention (resolution sounds so harsh!) do do one simple thing every day that will help us live a better life. What you choose is up to you 🙂