Christmas is over, and New Year's Eve is just days away.... ok ok... it's tomorrow... it's been a busy few days and this post has been put to the side for longer than I would have liked :) Anyways... I've started to notice (like clockwork) an increase in diet ads and a plethora of suggested resolutions. Lose 'X' amount of pounds, or get a six pack in 'X' amount of days. Every year, people set goals that often fade within the following days, weeks or months. Then, without fail, the year ends and new (or the same) weight loss or appearance altering goals are made with the hope this new year will somehow be different.
Consider adding the following three points into your New Year's Eve resolution.
Make it Sustainable - Change something in your life that you can do throughout the rest of your life. A huge problem with New Year's resolutions is that the change in behaviour is set for a specific amount of time... a 'blitz' of sorts. Once the changed behaviour stops, our bodies respond to that change. Take diets for a second. They don't work, mainly because they aren't sustainable. Weight gain typically occurs when the individuals returns to their former way or eating (or when they return to a healthy caloric intake as diets tend to be restrictive). Don't feel as though your current diet (as in the foods you eat on a regular basis) is healthy or sustainable? Get connected with a dietician who can suggest areas where you can make simple, long term, sustainable changes, improving your health and wellness.
Make it Realistic - Sometimes people set goals that just aren't realistic. If you hate running and haven't done physical exercise for awhile, saying you will run 10 kilometres by the end of the week probably isn't realistic, fun, or safe! Start small and build off that. Don't forget to pick something you enjoy, or at the very least, tolerate. Promising you will only think positive thoughts might be difficult if you've been berating yourself for years. Change is possible though. Maybe you start off by saying one nice thing to yourself per day, and build off that. Consult with your doctor and talk with a therapist to help set up realistic and healthy ways of making change in your life today!
It's Not About Success or Failure - Thinking in these terms is too black and white. Try having a range to fall in instead of a certain number or size (i.e.: "I'm going to cooking at home 3-5 times this week instead of eating out", or "I'm going to schedule in 2-3 times per week as 'me time'). Flexibility in your thinking and goal setting is important. Things come up in life, and it's okay to bend from what was initially planned. It's okay to cancel out from your scheduled gym time because you recognize your body is tired and needs rest. It's okay to change your plans upon realizing you actually just need some alone time. When this happens, it doesn't mean you've failed... it means you are being healthy, attentive and kind to yourself and your body. Remember, you can always get back on track if you stray from your desired change. It doesn't have to be all or nothing :)
Not sure of what kinds of things you want to change (and you definitely don't need to wait for Jan. 1st to make positive and healthy lifelong changes)? Check out this list for some ideas:
- practice self-care more often, daily even
- strive towards accepting your set point (your genetically predetermined weight range your bodies goes to when eating/exercising normally/healthily)
- give yourself permission to feel your emotions instead of judging them
- forgive yourself and/or someone else
- build healthier relationships by asserting your boundaries
- do that something you want to do but don't let yourself do
- add to this list :)