Can we say, New Years Resolutions?
At the beginning of each year we feel that it is a great time to finally do something we have been thinking about doing for a long time. (It is funny that we need a year to end for us to want to change our lives and make a healthy lifestyle change, but it has become a ritual.) Most people make a change starting in January and then a majority of those people give up on their resolutions by the middle of February, if they even last that long. Why do we continue to do the same thing year after year when it didn’t work out so well the first time? We join a gym and resolve to get up everyday at 5 or 6 AM and workout 6 days a week. And we have this awe-inspiring plan to eat "better". Before we know it, we are hitting the snooze button a couple times, and then we tell ourselves "Well now it is too late for me to go to the gym, probably wouldn't even be worth it anyway!"
One day of this turns into a couple days, then turns into an entire week off, then your lucky if you even set your alarm to get up. By March 1st the excuses start rolling in. You tell yourself that maybe this isn't the year, you have a lot going on and you need to really focus on that stuff. You think, "Maybe next year it will slow down a little and I can really focus on my goals." By a show of hands, how many people have had a similar conversation with themselves in the past? Be honest with yourself, I can't really see if you are admitting to it. I just want to help you break this resolution cycle once and for all.
Instead of waiting for this perfect day (January 1st) to change your life why not change your life TODAY!! Don't start next week, next month, next year. Start making changes right NOW!! We are always waiting for everything to be perfectly aligned for us to start living a healthier lifestyle.
Guess what, living a healthier lifestyle makes a lot of other things feel closer to perfect and fall into place. We are just looking at things backwards.
It is time we realize that living a healthy lifestyle is the first step. It gives you more energy throughout the day and makes you more productive. It helps you ward of illness, helps you sleep better and deal with stress more effectively. It helps you decrease prescription medications and pain. So all these things we are waiting to first fall into place before we start making healthier life changes will happen once we make these changes.
So where do we start?
This is the million dollar question. Start by NOT setting goals. Yes, you read that correctly. DON'T set goals. At least not outcome goals. The goals you set should be process goals. Here is the difference: outcome goals are the long term, broader, end goals (ie: lose weight, get stronger, be healthier) and process goals are what you will do to get to those goals (ie: take the stairs, drink more water, hire a personal trainer) Why is this important? It’s important because setting a goal of where you want to be in 6 months can be very defeating because there is a lot of time that will pass between now and your goal. If you set a process goal, for example, "I will do 10 push-ups every day", it is a goal that you are able to achieve on a daily basis. (Don’t we love immediate gratification?!) Of course, the process goals should support your long-term goals, whether they are to lose weight, to build lean body mass or to just feel healthier overall.
When it comes to accomplishing (or not accomplishing) the process goals, each day is a fresh start. If you have a bad day you can easily get back on track with these small goals. Goals that have a due date of 6 months out may be a little more daunting and harder to track so focusing on the process goals keeps us encouraged and motivated (both of which we realize are hard to feel sometimes) and every little thing that can help us reach our fitness goals are valuable.
Another note on process goals - when we set outcome goals we are pretty much saying that the end goal is the only focus and as long as that "one" thing is accomplished, we were successful. By another show of hands, "How many of you have set and accomplished the same weight loss goal multiple times?" This implies that you have lost the pounds you set out to lose and then, somehow, this weight magically appeared back on down the road. You know why? You were too focused on the outcome as opposed to the process. When we focus on the process we are consciously aware of the changes we are making and why we are making them. This is what leads to a lasting, lifestyle behavior change and, ultimately, more success of reaching our outcome (long-term) goals.
Lifestyle behavior changes are what lead to all the good stuff we talked about earlier; the ability to handle stress better, a stronger immune system, a reduction in body fat, an increase in lean body mass (which helps us burn more fat all day long), an increase in energy, a decrease in the need for prescription medication, and a decrease in pain. These all sound like fantastic outcomes, right? These are the things that we can accomplish by focusing on the process and understanding the why behind our current state and the why behind the changes we are GOING to make. These are the things I can help you do when we work together and have already done for so many clients. Just read their testimonials on my website.
If the whole idea of setting process goals and not focusing so much on the outcome goals is still kind of confusing or you want to talk more about it, shoot me an email email@example.com. Have you already abandoned your New Years resolution? If so, let's not wait until next year. No more New Years Resolutions. Now it is a Today Resolution. I challenge you, what small change can you make today that will have a great impact on your health now and in the future?