Many people shoot for the moon when it comes to new year’s resolutions. With a new year motivation is high, there is new hope, a fresh start, and everyone is pumping themselves up as they jump on the bandwagon of healthy eating and exercising. But why do new year resolutions, the majority of the time, die within the first few months? Why are gyms insanely busy January and February then slowly become a ghost town even before spring and good weather come? If you already made a resolution, no worries, it can be altered or an entirely new goal can be made. We are only 7 days of 365 and only one week of 52 for 2018… I shared three things, I believe, can sabotage the success of new year’s resolutions. Read below and see if you might need to change, improve, add-to, omit etc. from your goals
Unrealistic Goals (Specifically with weight loss)
Many times, unrealistic goals are set when we compare ourselves with the images we see on TV, social media, magazines etc. The image of “healthy and happy” varies substantially and is unique to every human being. That being said, we need to stop believing we need to look a certain way or be a certain weight. Many women I have worked with think they need to be 125 pounds… I am not sure where this number has come from but time and time again women strive to hit a number that most likely is unrealistic and possibly unhealthy. The majority of the population wants to lose weight and quick. However, be forewarned, if a program says you will lose 10 pounds in a week, a 6-pack in 28 days aka if something sounds too good to be true, most likely, it is! Hey, you might lose 10 pounds in a week but will you gain in all back plus more weeks later?
For the record, I am not a fan of the scale, as this mere number can be altered due to various reasons and does not tell us the % of water or lean body mass. How you look and feel both physically and mentally, and how your clothes fit are better indicators then stepping on the scale every day.
Take away – Putting a number to weight loss goals (lose X number pounds per week/month) more often than end up working against the person. Rather focus on ways you will lose weight, increasing vegetables and whole foods, eating at home more, getting at least 7 hours of sleep, how to better deal with stress etc.
Too Many Goals (Trying to do too much change in too short of time)
Piggy backing off unrealistic goals… many times a goal CAN BE attainable and realistic but when another goal or multiple goals are made at the same time, the likelihood of achieving any are low.
Many think they can go from 0 to 60 in just a few days (from December 31st to January 1st). Going cold turkey on sweets, drinks, and “unhealthy” foods (P.S. this is unrealistic and will only cause you to binge eat these things at a later date). In additional to food goals, many will set fitness goals, i.e. going to the gym X number of days a week (a realistic goal). To not only revamp your diet but also your fitness and do it same time is unrealistic for long-term success.
How can we expect to go from eating not-so-healthy and not working out consistently to starting a strict diet and exercise program? In two weeks, your body and brain are going to be exhausted from this “new you” but you’ll keep pushing forward. After missing some workouts, attending a few parties where you eat “bad” food before you know it your new year’s resolutions are out the window.
The key…….. take small steps towards our goals. Maybe that means you start with focusing on having a healthy breakfast in week 1, increasing your water and decreasing caloric drinks in week 2, and meal prepping lunch week 3 etc. Or maybe you decide to workout three times a week for the first month and slowly increase the amount of days or volume. Making short-term goals realistic and attainable allows you have success every day and week. Nutrition and exercise goals can be made in conjunction, if they aren’t too far-reaching and realistic i.e. take a fitness class 3 times a week and eat a healthy breakfast of 1/2c oatmeal and 2 eggs the first week. Week one and two was a success… try getting to the gym four times in week three and four, continue with breakfast and then set another goal to bring lunch to work three of the five days.
I can make up goals all day but what I want to get across is, we need to make our new year’s resolutions attainable and realistic and a great way to do this is taking small steps. Think of training for a marathon. You don’t merely sign up and show up on race day. Rather, the mileage begins at a fairly low and manageable rate. Each week the mileage goal increases. The marathon trainee is taking small steps each day and week to achieve the goal of completing a 26-mile run. So instead of going from 0 to 60 in a few days span, let’s start at 1 and work our way up.
Achieving short-term goals leads to long-term success.
Too Broad of Goals (is this something you truly want or you think you should want?)
If you truly want change, you need to do more than simply write down a goal, especially broad goals i.e. I want to workout more, eat healthier, volunteer more. How and why do you want to eat healthy? Knowing and writing down your why will motivate you in times of adversity. Making a plan on how your will reach your goal or resolution only increases your chance of success. If this is something you truly want you will more likely want to put the time and effort in to planning how to achieve the goal.
Broad vs Specific Goals
Eating healthier –> Increase vegetables by Including vegetables at each meal every day. Didn’t get a vegetable in at breakfast, add it to a snack.
Workout more –> Workout for 30 minutes a day, three days a week.