If you’re one of the millions who’ve made a New Year’s resolution, congratulations!
Making the decision to change means that you recognize that something in your life can be better and this is a wonderful first step!
Before you go out into 2016 determined to be a different person, make certain that you have created a plan to reach your goals.
There’s no greater disappointment than feeling overwhelmed and quitting.
You can do this. Here’s how:
Remember that you are the same person you were a day ago. But, work to make something just a little better today. Whatever it was that you had done in your past can be moved forward from. Seriously. Your life is a narrative where all of the pages after this moment are completely blank, and you are the narrator. YOU are in charge of your life, your actions. No one else. Remember that as you make every choice. Did you mess up yesterday? Find ways to rectify those mistakes with yourself first, and then take action! You cannot make peace or change anything external until you have changed internally first.
Come up with a realistic plan that includes smaller, gradual changes. It’s great to set a goal to save $1,000 this year or lose 20 pounds! Truly! However, if you’re not actively setting up steps to get yourself there, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Perhaps your first steps should be to take $20 per week out of that paycheck and place it into a savings account or lose one pound per week. That way, you’re not completely overwhelmed or leaving yourself deprived. You’ll feel the momentum of your smaller actions grow in just a few weeks!
If you slip up, just start again… now! Was there a work party, filled with treats too tempting to pass.. and you had a moment of weakness… and, oops! Did you eat two or three days worth of your caloric allotment? Maybe you found concert tickets that were wayyy more than you’d budgeted for, but it’s your favorite band.. and, and… now you feel like a failure because you blew through your goals? STOP. Breathe. Life happens! While you are responsible for engaging in those activities, you also have control over what happens next! Drink your water, put a little extra away in your next paycheck. Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week; your chances of actually committing will decrease. Your next steps may have to reflect a bump in the road or alter to accommodate your new circumstances, but c‘est la vie! There is no end date to your journey… well, you know what I mean (insert tasteless death joke here).
Be easy on yourself! I cannot say this enough or with ample sincerity! You are your own best friend, and ultimately, no one will love or take care of you like you! Let me ask you something: would you speak to a friend in the same manner with which you speak to yourself? Most likely, the answer is no! We’re human, and as such, we’re hardwired for error. Aim for an 80/20 balance in life. Do the best you can, always, and remember that bad choices are normal, human, and will happen! And, refer to the above point… you can always start again!
Habits are made and broken on Mondays… or Thursdays… or…? Think about your routine and your mood changes throughout the week. Write it all down if you have to. Find what works best for you, and go with it. Personally, I prefer to start a new habit on Monday. This gives me several days to prepare mentally and physically for the weekend, plus allows me to experience one last weekend of bad choices to make me feel extra guilty before I start. Perhaps it’s the Catholic upbringing, but it works for me! My point here is to get to know yourself well enough that you have a strong idea of what YOU need. The process of change is very personal and completely different for everyone.
Keep track of your progress. I cannot stress this enough. Sometimes we feel like we’re treading water, doing tons of work with little-to-no results. Change takes time and comes in so many different, and at times, unexpected forms! For instance, I had set a weight loss goal for myself. I was working hard, drinking half my body weight’s worth of ounces in water, eating right, and that scale would not budge! My pants, however, told a different story, and were loosening up around my shrinking hips. Look for other measurements of success! Those measurements could be anything from passing up something tempting to feeling more responsible and empowered! It’s always a good idea to have a record of where you started from, so you can have an accurate assessment of what’s working… and what’s not!
Reward yourself. Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small or large. Treat them all the same! You should be proud of your efforts! The reward doesn’t have to include food or spending money, but can be something as simple as taking part in your favorite activity, calling a supportive friend or family member, or having some quiet time to yourself. The possibilities are endless because we are unique individuals! Again, find what works for you!
Partner up. Doing something alone can be empowering, but at times can feel alienating as well. If you can’t find a close friend or loved one to jump on board with you, look for alternative solutions. There are support systems for everything under the sun if you turn to social media! Sometimes just having another person’s positive input or knowing that another can relate is enough to get us back on track. No person is an island… we are social creatures and there are people out there that are going through what you are! (I personally run fitness support and accountability groups via Facebook. If you’d like to learn more, leave a comment below or e-mail me at Amanda.C.Fager@gmail.com.)
Know your weaknesses and have a ‘plan b’. This may actually be two in one, but they go hand-in-hand. Knowing where the weak points are in your journey will empower you to come up with a fallback plan. Life is full of plot twists, so having an idea of what you’re going to do if a bump in the road pops up will leave you in a better position to make the right decision. Be prepared and you’ll be well on your way to meeting, and perhaps exceeding, those goals!
Now, go out into the world and be great!