There is nothing more symbolic of fresh starts than January 1st, which could be why Inc. Magazine reports 60% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution. What are we resolving to do (for real this time)? Not surprisingly, the majority want to diet or eat healthier (71%), exercise more (65%), and lose weight (54%). But, as we know, New Year’s resolutions are easy to make (especially over a chocolate Santa and a glass of wine) and hard to implement. In fact, if you’ve already broken this year’s resolution you’re in good company; 80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandon by Valentine’s Day. So, how do you become one of the few who turn their resolution into reality? By taking a cue from why so many fail.
Your resolution lacks meaning. Note – meaning is not losing weight so you can look better than Sheila at your reunion. To make lasting changes you need to know your “why,” not just the “what” (i.e., showing up Sheila). For illustrative purposes, let’s say Sheila wasn’t very nice in high school, but karma is on your side and she hasn’t exactly kept her cheerleader physique. You see the reunion as an opportunity to make her feel as inferior as you did 25 years ago. What’s wrong with that?
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting Sheila to envy you for once, it’s not enough to give your goal meaning. Why? Because momentary glory is fleeting. However, when you connect with what motivates you on a deeper level you create meaning. When you really think about it, your health (whatever that looks like for you - keeping up with your kids, running a 5k, breaking your sugar addiction) and how that makes you feel is what gives you meaning. Connecting with that creates lasting change. We all have a Sheila but remember that at the end of the day success is not only the best revenge, it’s the only kind that benefits you.
You’re not specific enough. Let’s be honest, when setting goals there’s safety in generalizing. If we don’t nail down the specifics, we end up with a lot of wiggle room. That’s not always a bad strategy. When things are left up to interpretation there’s less risk of missing the mark (even if we set the mark). The trouble with vagueness is that details make our goals real and without them we can’t develop an action plan. There’s a difference between saying you want to lower your cholesterol and committing to lowering your cholesterol by 10% in six weeks. The former is like getting in a car with the goal of heading West. How will you know when you’re there? Is it when you reach Colorado? Nevada? Oregon? You may have a map but without a specific destination you’ll never get where you want to go.
You don’t have a plan. Defining your goal is only half the battle - creating a plan to achieve it is the other half. Sure, you can circle Yosemite on the map but without a plan to get there you’ll never experience its majesty. The same is true for reaching your goals. Developing an actual plan is key to reaching your destination. The good news is that getting clear on what you want to achieve and why makes mapping out how easier. Gaining clarity around your goals and being honest about potential pitfalls are key to creating a plan that will work for you. For example, if you plan on eating oatmeal to lower your cholesterol but the mere thought of it triggers your gag reflex, it’s probably not going to work (one doughnut won’t kill you, right?). The point is without the guardrails a plan provides, you’re left making decisions on the fly and that’s definitely more stressful than creating a plan.
You’re doing it alone. It takes a village for a reason. Don’t get us wrong, to create change you need to do the work, but having support and guidance makes all the difference. It’s ok to need help clarifying what you’re really after – trust us, a smaller dress size alone isn’t it! An impartial party also provides a reality check. Is your goal realistic? What will it actually take to make it happen? Without a sounding board it’s easy to confuse what we want to believe with reality. (Who wouldn’t want to change their body composition only exercising once a week?)
Having support also means someone willing to dole out tough love when needed and inspiration when your motivation wanes (and it will). Friends and family can be great support systems, but when push comes to shove will they know how to get you over the hump or are they more likely to commiserate with you over a bottle of Pinot Noir? Finding the right type of support, whether in-person or online, is essential to achieving your goals - don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to do this on your own.
With over 20 years of experience helping people reach their lifestyle goals through fitness and nutrition, Body Essentials has you covered. Our team works with you to determine core motivators, define specific goals and create an action plan, all while providing the support you need. We offer a number of in-house and online training and nutrition options to help you live your best life. See what we’re about - request your free week now or visit bodyessentialspt.com for more information. It’s not too late to start 2019 in the right direction!
1 Economy, Peter. “10 Top New Year's Resolutions for Success and Happiness in 2019.” Inc.com, Inc., 1 Jan. 2019, www.inc.com/peter-economy/10-top-new-years-resolutions-for-success-happiness-in-2019.html.
2 Mulvey, Kelsey. “80% Of New Year's Resolutions Fail by February - Here's How to Keep Yours.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 3 Jan. 2017, www.businessinsider.com/new-years-resolutions-courses-2016-12.
Sometimes it takes wise counsel to point out that you need to practice something that is usually so obvious to you, something you constantly preach to others, and believe that you do fairly well until you are told otherwise. This is precisely what occurred to me right at the start of this month and year. The advice was that I needed to do something for myself. Hmmm I thought, what had I been doing or actually not doing for myself. The answer was that the things I were "doing for myself" were in fact not "for me" at all. My "free time" outside of my business, away from clients was spent still working, working on my business without interruption, taking care of our house, getting ready for the week ahead with grocery shopping, meal prep and doing laundry. I would never let that kind of "me time" pass with clients so why was I letting it pass with myself?
Without laboring on how I got to this point, lets just say that the seemingly simple advice is something that rose out of starting the year in a far too frenzied state after a couple weeks of holiday time that typically leaves me with a full gas tank for the new year and it is advice that I have taken to heart all month and it is a work in progress. For example, as I write this, I have already worked thru MY morning routine that is for ME and done everyday even if it means getting up at 3:30am to make it happen. In addition, I have spent 40 minutes in yoga practice and 30 minutes walking my dog. What does the start of your day look like each day? When that alarm goes off, is the first thing you think about when am I going back to bed? Is it a rush of getting up and out the door? Is that really how you want to live? Not me and for the most part I am rock solid about starting the day well. My weakness has been how do I spend my time off on Saturday & Sunday. And this week it has been how can I carve out little nuggets of time for myself to get more of what I want in my week (yoga and personal workouts) while still accomplishing the necessary work of being a business owner, employer and personal trainer.
Whether you are a business owner, employee, stay at home parent, retired, care giver or all of the those things I encourage you to take some time to really think about how you are caring for yourself, like really caring and taking time for yourself and things in life that will keep your batteries charged so you can serve others positively and energetically because whatever your role, we serve others but cannot do that at 110% until we take care of ourselves (like the airplane oxygen mask instructions when we fly). As I said earlier, I am still a work in progress on the weekends but a much more mindful work in progress knowing that slowing down and working less on weekends will and has helped me be more productive during the work week. Lets' face it, there is no 9-5 anymore no matter where we are at in life. Life and work is a series of balancing acts, ebbing and flowing with the tide. So be protective of yourself and your time. The old me used to fill up available times when clients went on vacation with other clients in their time slots. The new me will save that time for myself and work that I can do from home.
If you are reading this and thinking that it is just not possible to make these changes to take better care of you, I challenge you to challenge yourself and that limiting mindset. We are the only ones who can create that for ourselves and the earlier in life we accept that the better off we will be so do not want until retirement to start taking time. If we do not the result will be poor physical and emotional health, disease, a constant state of struggle and feeling like we are swimming against a tide and barely keeping our head above water. Life is short and that is no way to live so speaking from experience, shift, pivot, realign for a better you and you will be amazed at what will manifest and how you will be able to accomplish more with less effort.
As the title indicates, Do as I say and not as I was doing. In our studio, we do no only help people workout and improve their physical health but we help clients strategize other aspects of their life (nutrition and otherwise) to keep them on track with their exercise as it is those "other things" that will take us off course with exercise and recreation. Many of our clients, coaches & I will tell you that exercise is truly medicine. You can reduce risk factors for lifestyle diseases and others with regular and consistent exercise, you can improve mental health with exercise, you can reduce the need for prescription medication with exercise (when your Dr. says so), you can increase energy, improve body image, reduce pain and increase ease of lifestyle and seasonal activities of daily living as a result of exercise. Doesn't that sound AWESOME? If so, get in touch with us so we can help you make your way! Start at our website - www.bodyessentialspt.com - or contact me directly at 345-9644 so we can discuss how it all works.
Onward & Upward....