Written by Colby Jenkins, Pn1, RMT
Lifepath Wellness Centre
Anyone can set a New Year’s Resolution however; keeping resolutions is often a whole other story. This year, break the cycle and be prepared to follow through with your goals. The following pointers can be applied to any New Year’s Resolution, but for this article, we are going to focus on weight loss and eating healthier.
If you are realistic when setting your goals, you are setting yourself up success. When setting your resolution, make sure it is attainable; this includes your timeline for achieving your goals as well. For example, if you have never stepped a foot in the gym and your New Year’s resolution is to hit the gym for 2 hours a day 7 days a week, you are most likely setting yourself up for disappointment. THINK BIG but start small! A great goal for someone who has never been to the gym before is to aim for 3 times a week for an hour. Hiring a personal trainer is also helpful when trying to figure out what exercises are best for your goals and activity level.
When you set your goals with a concrete plan, it is easy to stay on track. If your goal is to start eating vegetables at every single meal, planning ahead is crucial. Start by writing out your grocery list and sticking to it as you shop to avoid buying items you do not need. When you get home, set aside time to prepare your vegetables and fruits so they are easy to grab during busy times throughout your day.
Find Your Why
Before you start your New Year’s Resolution, take some time to write down why you are setting these goals along with reasons why they are important to you. This is a very important step because after the initial excitement has faded and your motivation is not as high, it is easy to fall off track. When you are feeling less motivated or ready to give up, refer back to that piece of paper to help motivate and remind you why you started in the first place and why you should keep going!
When you have goals and aspirations, it is also important to tell your friends and family! Chances are, you might inspire someone to participate with you in your journey towards a healthier lifestyle. When your friends and family are aware of your goals, they can support you and avoid pressuring you in to situations where you might fail.
Identify Barriers and Prepare Solutions
Before you start a resolution for a healthier you, identify any potential barriers that you might encounter throughout your journey. Some examples include working late hours and finding time to go to the gym. Another common barrier may involve friends and/or loved ones that like to eat fast food and you find it hard not to join in. Addressing these barriers early on and working out the solution before it happens will help you stay on track with your goal.
Reward yourself when you hit mini-goals to help keep you motivated. Instead of rewarding yourself with food, treat yourself to something other than food, such as a new piece of fitness clothing, a pedicure, or even just a hot bubble bath.
Life Happens – Don’t be Hard on Yourself
We are all human – slip-ups and mistakes happen. Rather than obsessing over your mistakes, learn from them and move on. Often times, when a person is trying to eat healthier and then ‘messes up’ by eating something they should avoid, the mentality turns to “I’ve already failed, I may as well give up.” This is not how to handle your mistakes because doing this is like slashing your other 3 tires when you discovered that you only had 1 flat tire to begin with. The faster you can forgive yourself and move on from your mistakes, the faster you can reach your goals.
Stick to it and Keep Trying
Experts say that it takes 21 days to create a new habit, but it takes 6 MONTHS for that habit to become part of your nature. Changing your habits does not happen quickly, but do not give up! Consider finding an accountability partner that you can check-in with weekly to help keep you on track and motivated.
It is the end of February and your healthy New Year’s resolution only lasted until the 3rd week of January. You’re looking back thinking “I failed”. Even if you have to start over 100 times, do not give up and fall back into old routines. Start over and keep trying!