As many of you know, 2020 has not been the best year for any of us on record. As we enter the new year, we hope that this will help turn the page to something brighter and hopeful that we finally get out of the mess that we have been dealing with. Just the same as most other years, there are plenty of people making the pledge to improve their health and activity levels. Whether that means improving just their health, becoming more active in general (not too hard after this past year), losing weight, or eating better, I am sure there are some of you reading this who have failed in the past or know someone who has failed in their attempt.
Regardless of whether this is your first attempt or your 20+ attempt to improve your health for this year, I hope these tips help give you a little added boost to helping you understand that you CAN do this.
These tips are very simple and seem very intuitive but one of the main problems of why things still fail is simply that people just forget about them. Consistency is vital in making a life long change in what you hope to accomplish. It does take work, mindpower, and will in order to achieve it. As a bonus tip before we get into the ones I wish to present today, make sure you have a strong WHY for what you are doing or hope to achieve. Always keeping that WHY in your mind or in your bathroom, on your fridge, on your desk, etc. will ensure that you have some increased motivation to succeed.
These tips are things help with consistency of your goals and not with the goals themselves. Consistency helps turning change or a habit into a step to a life-long healthier you. Here are those tips:
Ease Into It One of the single largest mistakes people make when making a resolution or change in their life for the new year is that they go "gung-ho" into it. I mean it's fine if you do so but you need to have an even stronger will and the right environment to do so. Since that perfect situation doesn't fit for most people, make sure you are taking your time to ease into it. Remember, this is a YEARLY change not a switch that you flip on and off. By turning on that "switch" and going full throttle into it as soon as January 1 hits, that switch that you flipped "ON" will most likely be flipped "OFF" by the time you hit January 31st if not too far soon after. Easing into something is a way for you to make an adjustment easier and is not a total shock to your system. If you are someone going after exercising more, does it sound easier to run-walk for 10 minutes or running for 10 minutes at 10 mph?? This is especially if you have not ran or exercised before. When you put such a shock on your system of something it is not used to such as running if you have never done before, your body will rebel. You will max out your heart rate and feel like you can't breathe, have severe soreness if you push too hard, and potentially develop joint and tendon pain because your body is not used to the extra activity. This same thing goes for those changing their diet. Your body is so used to eating a certain way and when you start making changes, it isn't the food itself that will cause you to fail. It is the foods your brain feels it is missing out on and satiation will not be satisfied. This can make you angry/testy, anxious, craving, etc. because your body is not getting the things it's used to. This is why easing into your yearly changes is what is necessary. You can plan it out and still not go crazy with planning. You can break it up into a yearly goal, a separate goal that you have for each quarter of the year, and then have a goal for each month. Each goal you set gets progressively more involved so that you are able to gradually make the changes you want PLUS it makes it easier for you without having you to figure out how to do something you may not be too familiar with. Doing it this way will allow you to learn along the way while still succeeding in your objective.
Doing Something That Is FUN or you ENJOY Many people focus on what other people are doing in order to lose weight or get healthier. They focus on what others think are good and what others think are effective. The problem with thinking this way is that it is NOT YOURS! This is YOUR goal and what YOU want to do for YOURSELF. Therefore what you decide to do in order to lose weight, improve health, or exercise more needs to be YOURS. You can accomplish this by doing just some research and find something that you enjoy or something that you think is fun. If you find something that is more fun or enjoyable to do then you are more likely to stick to it. Doing so gives you gratification and therefore you feel rewarded and happy that you did it. It isn't something you dread doing or something you have to force yourself to do. If you don't want to or don't like to run then you don't have to. If you don't like to eat vegetables but want to eat more of them to help obtain more vitamins and minerals, there are recipes out there that mask their taste (you just have to look for them). It is 100% possible to find something you enjoy. The first portion of your goal in January (if you have not done so already) is to find that thing that you enjoy. It can be anything from rowing, swimming, weight lifting, running, calisthenics, beach body workouts. Whatever it is, make sure it is something that makes you happy or you enjoy. By doing so, you will be able to stick with it and more easily go month after month into the year to achieve your goals.
Don't Do it Alone/Have a Joint Goal with a Friend I am sure you have heard the phrase, "Misery loves company", right? Haha, even if you haven't the purpose of this statement is that you do not have to go through this process of change alone...and it doesn't have to be miserable either. Doing something like a lifestyle change alone can be very difficult and you not only have to have willpower in order to succeed but you also have to faith to make it through. In order to best accomplish getting through the year still achieving your goal to and through 2022 you want to have someone working with you. This can be someone in your family, at work, friend, neighbor who can either do the same resolutions or make the same life changes with you or cheer you on. Find someone who can be your cheerleader or your champion. I have always been big on sharing out in the open what you are doing because when you share it out in the world you are more likely to achieve it. Whoever you choose to do this with you or be your cheerleader throughout the year, this is someone who holding you accountable. They are not responsible for making you do the thing you set out to do. Only YOU can be the one responsible for ensuring that you achieve what you set out to do during the year. Whoever you chose, is the person holding you accountable. The person who is behind you while you continue to move forward, urging you onto the next step in the process. The person to pick you up when you are feeling down about things. The person who check up on you when you start slacking. Regardless of who it is, they will be your rock and anchor to help you get through the year with your goals intact.
Prioritize it With everything that we have going on in our schedules between work, children, pets, commuting (if not working from home right now), cooking, cleaning, etc. it can be very hard to insert something new into your schedule. I find it can be very hard for people to stick to something (I even struggle with this at times myself) that they don't put it into their schedule. Prioritizing something is different than forcing yourself to do something. If you feel like you are "forcing" yourself what you are doing to make changes in your life then please refer to #2 above of making it fun. You may have to change how you are getting to what you want to achieve. Remember..."all roads lead to Rome"...it just depends on how you want to get there. The best way is not always the shortest way and that is completely okay. A prioritization is more something you hold important to you and what you want to accomplish. It is something that you hold to be one of the highest level of things you value to get done in your day. I see most people failing at what they want to accomplish because they do not do this. They continue to put their goals as something secondary to what they already do in the day instead of what would make them feel happy and fulfilled. Whether this means putting it in your calendar, leaving sticky notes all over your house, or whether that means actively doing something like cancelling your Netflix/Disney+ accounts (Oh no! did he really just go there??), making sure that you make whatever you want to change in yourself this year one of the top 3 things you do in your day is vital. If you have been struggling with your goals or having a hard time how to figure out how to best do it and need an accountability partner feel free to reach out. Also, if you are not sure what you want to do is possible either because you have pain or some other kind of physical limitation DEFINITELY you should be touching base with me. I would be very happy to help you get on track and get you to where you want to go. If you are interested, head to www.ascentptny.com or call 516-387-4669. We can assist you in your goals either in person if you are local or we can help you virtually. Hopefully this was helpful and I hope that you are successful in what you set out to do this year far out into the new year of 2022.