Want to do something drastic this new year? Something you may have never tried? Try this: Refuse to follow the crowd and forgo the new year’s resolutions. Why? Mainly because you’re setting yourself up for failure. How? Because the change(s) you want to institute are too broadly defined, you have a list of ten or more changes you want to implement, and the combination leads you to being overwhelmed, unfocused, and ready to give up before February 1. For example, the most dreadful (in my opinion) of the new year resolutions is the vow to lose weight (also: eat better/healthier, to start exercising more). “I’m going on a diet as of January 1!” you exclaim, to no one in particular. This is the worst thing to to set your mind on. What do you think of when you think of the word “diet”? Losing weight probably, but probably also deprivation, and you think of diet as a temporary solution, to which at point X you will have lost Y amount of weight and then you can go back to your normal ways of eating. Which will only lead back to regaining the weight you just lost. I offer this suggestion: ban the word diet from your vocabulary and think of changing your eating as a “lifestyle change”, because ultimately, that’s what it is. I am not a medical doctor nor a registered nutritionist, so if you’re looking to lose serious weight I suggest getting a thorough check-up with your doctor first, but then, do your research. The “cabbage soup diet” or “all fruit diet” is not a sustainable way of eating, or anything else just as ridiculous. How to not get overwhelmed? I am all for baby steps, one foot in front of the other. Instead of stating, “I’m going on a diet to lose weight,” state, “I am going to give up soda for 30 days and drink water instead.” Or, if you’re a dining out addict, perhaps add this, “I will eat out once this month, and cook at home the rest of the time.” <—- This and the removing the soda alone can make huge differences in your overall health. But the key is clearly defining a goal. Do this resolution for the month, then set a new goal/resolution for February.
Looking to start exercising? Baby steps, please! Exercise is SO important not only for our physical health, but mental health as well. We are built to move – not sit on our asses 8-10 hours a day (followed by more sitting in the car commuting, followed by more sitting in front of the television). I want this to really stick for everyone! So before you drop a whole paycheck on a gym membership, or a top-of-the-line home gym, start small. Start by evaluating your entire week, each day, from the time you get up to the time you go to bed, including any time you spend online with social media or when you’re parked in front of the television at night. Be honest with yourself.You DO have time to workout! I’m willing to bet that you have at least 15 minutes a day to free up to start. So, instead of, “I’m going to start going to the gym five days a week,” say this, “I am going to walk 15 minutes a day before work/at lunch/after dinner for six days a week.” Much more concrete. I’m using walking as an example – it can be any exercise that you enjoy (which is also key – if you loathe aerobics, don’t do it. You’ll never be able to keep the momentum going). There’s SO much you can do for exercise, so don’t settle. Come February, add something on. March, add another challenge/resolution.
Want to become more organized? Instead of just stating this (which is extremely vague – What needs more organization? House? Office? Car? Underneath the bathroom sink?), clearly state one goal for the month: “I want to clear out my bedroom closet of all the clothes and shoes I haven’t worn this past year.” See? This points you in a concrete direction and doesn’t make you feel like you need to organize ALL THE THINGS, NOW! (Even this would make me hide under the covers for the month) Set aside time each day or on the weekends to dedicate to this goal. Set a timer even. Once you begin, your momentum will push you to keep going.
Happy holidays to everyone! If you have any questions for me, or need any encouragement, please comment and let me know!