The holidays are a distant memory and 2018 is in full swing. We are back to our busy routines and my guess is that the gyms are already a little less crowded than they were the first week of January. Where do we all stand on those resolutions we set for ourselves? Are we still going strong, or did we stop before we really got started? My guess is that many of us have lost some of that momentum already and the cycle of defeat is slowly starting to set in.
What actually determines whether we will be successful or fall right off the wagon? I believe it all comes down to mindset. What was your mindset when you set your resolutions back at the end of December? Were you thrilled about the idea of starting a new year on the right foot? Getting healthy and fit, taking better care of yourself, making lifestyle changes that you could stick with, and being kind to yourself during the process? Did you set realistic and meaningful goals, keeping in mind WHY they were important to you? Did you remind yourself that you have the power to make these changes and feel confident that you could and would make it happen because you deserve to be happy and comfortable in your own skin? Did you write your goals down and tell others who would be willing to support you and hold you accountable?
OR did your resolution setting process look something like this?
You were disappointed with yourself after a month of holiday parties, gatherings and overindulgences. You groaned as your pants got tighter throughout December but kept telling yourself that it didn’t matter because on January 1st you would get down to business. You set vague resolutions about exercise, healthy eating and weight loss without a clear plan of attack, just like you have for the last several years. You kept those resolutions to yourself because you didn’t really want anyone to know if you failed. You were nervous about January 1st because that meant you would actually have to do something and you knew you weren’t prepared.
That is the difference between approaching resolutions with a mindset of positivity and empowerment versus going into the new year with a mindset of defeat. We often set those weight loss resolutions because we are just going through the motions. That’s just what we say on December 31st, right? We all want to lose a few pounds! If you are truly going to be successful you have to break that cycle and get your mindset in the right place or you have no chance of making it.
If you missed the mark in January it is not too late to turn things around. Let’s call this our New Year’s resolution tune-up. Grab a pen and paper and start jotting down some notes. What are your health and fitness goals for this year – either the ones that you set back in December or new ones that have evolved? Losing weight, getting stronger, cutting out sugar, etc.? Whatever they are, write them down and get specific. You can’t just say you want to “lose some weight” or “get healthy”. Once you have done that, do a gut check to make sure they are realistic. Losing 30 pounds in a month or never eating sugar again is not the way to go.
Next start thinking about WHY those goals are so important to you. Losing 25 pounds would help you drop a few sizes but what is the real WHY behind that? Would losing 25 pounds help you keep up and interact with your kids or grandchildren? Would it help your knee issues and drastically improve your quality of life? Would it improve your confidence and make you a healthy role model for the rest of your family? Find a WHY that will make you cry, because if you’re going to make it past the first month you are going to need to be able to look at that WHY on the days that things get tough and really draw on it to get you through.
Now it’s time to make a plan. How are you going to reach those goals? Have you joined a gym or gotten a personal trainer? Do you have a coach or an online accountability group? Are you taking spin classes or trying the new barre studio down the street? Are you going to start walking or jogging? Do some research and figure out what kind of exercise you plan to do if you aren’t already committed. I believe that everyone has a soulmate workout. Some of us love running, others like yoga. Some can’t stand cardio but really enjoy weights. There is something for everyone. The bad news is that you may need to try a few different things in order to find that soulmate. The good news? You’re still getting exercise as you experiment!
What about nutrition? I recommend not making drastic changes or trying fad diets. Focus on common sense, meaningful and measurable changes that can be sustained. You could start by increasing your vegetable intake by 2 servings a day and cutting the creamer you use in your coffee. Cut back on your alcohol intake and try to avoid processed carbohydrates, switching to more whole grains. Decrease consumption of unhealthy fats. Small changes can add up in a big way, and we are much more likely to stick with them.
Finally, TELL PEOPLE what you are doing! Share with friends, tell your family, find or create some kind of accountability group. Talk to friends who have similar goals and lean on each other. Put it out there to the universe and ask for support!
The moral of this story is, don’t give up on your resolutions for 2018 just because you missed the mark on January 1st. Use February to tune-up those resolutions and give yourself a fresh start. The truth is that you deserve to be happy and healthy this year so keep reminding yourself that and it will help get you to that finish line!
Hadley Sorensen is a health and fitness coach who lives in Virginia with her husband and 3 boys. She is an avid reader, runner and fitness instructor who has a passion for helping others learn to enjoy exercise. Hadley uses one-on-one coaching as well as virtual accountability groups to provide support and motivation to her clients. Her guiding philosophy is that it’s never too late to take charge of your health and improve your level of fitness. Find her on Facebook @HadleySorensenFitness