And so it’s here – the New Year. A time to reflect on the past 12 months; happy times, sad times, difficulties, surprises, excitement, love, and everything in between. It’s a time to muse on all the achievements that are important for 2013. A time to reach new heights, attain new goals, and start fresh. I also think thankfulness is at the forefront of our minds during the change of the year. Thankful for all the blessings bestowed upon us in the past year, and even more thankful that we get another chance to start over and pursue our dreams. With the right mindset, it’s a very exciting time in life.
In my line of work, I find that time and time again most of my clients (and everyone else I know….myself included) put health and wellness at the top of their “tried and true” New Year’s Resolution list. Mainly because we overindulge during the holidays and sluggishly make our way into the New Year. Whether the initial goal is a number on the scale or a pair of pants you dug out of the closet that haven’t fit for years or just a desire to feel better, it’s there. It can be a depressing resolution or it can give you feeling of hope that THIS YEAR you are going to be the happiest and healthiest version of yourself.
However, I’m starting to realize that New Year’s resolution lists could be the bane of our existence. First of all, who started this trend???????? Do we seemingly set ourselves up for failure? Or is the list undeniable motivation? Could the list be similar to when your significant other nags you to do something you clearly do not want to do? Is it a constant reminder of what you AREN’T doing and unintentionally putting pressure on yourself to be this perfect (possibly unattainable) version of who you think you should be? I still can’t seem to figure out how the New Year’s resolution list affects me. I’m already anticipating it in December and agonizing over what should be on it. So I write them year after year and honestly, it kind of annoys me, especially if I failed on any one of the items come mid-January. Cut to March, I may have no clue where the list is, and I have a million other things that are now my “March resolutions”.
This year, Im doing something different. And maybe you want to try it too. This year I’m still gonna make a list. But it’s going to measureable and it’s going to have clearly detailed dates for “completion”. So how do you do this?
Let’s just start with the “weight loss of X number of pounds/get healthy” goal. First of all, that is so vague and no wonder we fail 2 weeks in. What is measureable in that statement? Nothing. And what does get healthy mean? Does that mean you will have a lower total cholesterol number in 6 months? Does that mean you eat 2 servings of veggies per day? Or does your New Year’s resolution list look like this…. “Lose 10 pounds, go to yoga, eat more fruits and veggies, stop drinking so much, workout a lot more, and be happy”??? I think mine have looked like that for many years. Again, these are super vague but believe me, this is where everyone starts because we don’t know it any other way. And it seems easy enough. However, it sets us up for failure.
If one of your resolutions for 2013 is to lose 10 pounds, start by thinking what is achievable. Losing 10 pounds by the end of January could happen, but that is going to be hard and by the middle of February, the 10 pounds may be back with a few of their friends. Here is a more realistic way to focus on losing 10 pounds….
First of all, break it down into small increments so the results are achievable and something that YOU can measure. To healthfully lose 1 pound, you need to have a deficit of 3500 CALORIES/week. Crazy, right? But that can be done. Simply, you would need to cut out 500 calories per day for one whole week. That is much easier to focus on. Start there. Cutting out 500 calories per day could mean you don’t drink every night (2 glasses wine = 300-350 calories) and forgo your 200+ calorie drink from Starbucks. In one day, you saved yourself 500 calories…..and just in beverages! Now slowly keep moving forward. Day by day. Week by week. Your New Year’s resolution should look something like this.
New Year’s Resolution
- Lose 10 pounds by April, 2013
- Cut out 500 calories for 3/7 days, exercise 3x/week January 7-14th
- Cut out 500 calories 5/7 days, exercise 3x/week – January 14th – 21st
- Cut out 500 calories every day for an entire week, exercise 4x/week – January 21st – January 28th
- Increase exercise to 4x/week with 1 of those days being a yoga class – January 28th – February 4th
Seems to me if you follow something so detailed as this, you have already lost 1-3 pounds by the end of January. Keeping that up, while adding more healthy foods to your diet (Eat 2 servings of vegetables the first 2 weeks of February, Make a healthy smoothie for breakfast 4x/week for the last 2 weeks of February), will get you to your goal in no time. This changes it from a fleeting desire to a new lifestyle. The best part is that it keeps you focused and you haven’t drastically changed your life. ‘Cause hear me out…that does NOT work.
Most importantly, the path to achieving YOUR goals must be fun, desirable, evoke happiness, and give you noticeable results. I constantly see my clients set ridiculous goals to achieve in a short amount of time and the process of getting there (or not getting there at all) is nothing short of a pain in the butt. Just another way we unintentionally set ourselves up for failure. The journey must be enjoyable or who cares? Who cares if you look hot in your jeans if you didn’t enjoy the process in finally getting them on? Sure, cutting out your favorite glass of wine every night can be a bummer but don’t be so extreme. Why are Americans such extremists? We will eliminate everything we love to fit into a specific jean size or see a number on the scale, and then find ourselves crawling back to what we love, what we crave, and what gives us comfort when we realized we have failed. This is the main reason to start with small, measureable goals. This will garner success and make you happy in the process.
So in an effort to make 2013 your best year yet, really think about your list and what you want to achieve. Don’t write it hung-over on the 1st. And don’t feel you need to start on Monday. Start the MOMENT you feel ready. Make sure to add as many dates as you can. Share it with your partner or a friend, who will, undoubtedly, help keep you consistent and compliant. Put it on your fridge, in your phone, on the bathroom wall, in your car. Celebrate that YOU are becoming the most fabulous version of yourself. But in small steps. I mean…you have all year, right?
In happiness and health,