Top of the Mornin’ to ya’ll!
I am sitting here with a cup of Earl Grey Tea with a hint of Vanilla. Probably the same tea I’ve been drinking for quite some time now. Tea is my new Coffee. If you would like to know more visit my TeaWhizz! post.
Random Fun Article:
Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime.
Van Gogh was a struggling artist his entire life. Though he painted almost a whopping 900 paintings, he didn’t sell any until The Red Vineyard in Brussels for 400 francs. This was just months before he . It was after his death that he became much more popular and recognized for his work.
Vincent Van Gogh happens to be my favorite artist. My phone cover is even Van Gogh proofed:
This is another one of his famous paintings that you may be familiar with known as Starry Night. My favorite of his collection.
Moving on and staying on track:
Back to the Resolutionating New Year.
Yesterday I blogged about what a January Joiner is and promised you many tips to come on how to make your NYR stick for good this time.
Ready? Here we go:
You know how it is – you leave an inspiring conference, have a health epiphany, or the calendar turns to January 1st, and a fire lights inside you. You’re ready and raring to go. And then… you lose momentum. Life gets in the way. Work kicks into overtime. You fall back into old habits.
And your goal goes…
I’ve been thinking a lot about momentum lately because I’ve had a few bursts of awesome ideas and things I want to accomplish ‘fires’ that quickly went out. I was so excited, but then I lost all my momentum! Ugh. It’s a bummer, and it’s a major confidence-crusher. And it’s hard to get back on the wagon when you’re let yourself slip so many times in the past.
So, the question becomes, how do we maintain momentum while setting New Year’s Resolutions?
Let’s look at first how to set and achieve your NYR.
Let’s not set ourselves up for complete failure here.
I know that some people hate NYR, but hear me out. Setting goals (we can call it “goals” instead of resolutions if you want!) is absolutely imperative if you want to move forward in life and achieve your goals.
Repeat after me: Goals are not achieved by accident. Goals must be thoughtfully identified and planned for in order to be reached.
The most popular type of NYR are, without a doubt, diet-, fitness-, and weight-related goals. These resolutions have become a bit of a joke over time – like how the gym is packed from January to February (January Joiners Hello!), at which point all the Resolutioners give up and things thin out. But it is 100% possible to set and actually achieve diet-, fitness-, and weight-related goals – you just have to go about it in a very specific manner.
(Side note: Most of these tips can be applied not only to diet-, fitness-, and weight-related goals, but also to other goals, like saving money or improving your relationships!)
Achieve Your NYR:
DON’T: GO IN WITHOUT A PLAN. The #1 reason people fail at NYR? They approach NYR without a plan. When I set any goal, I literally write out my plan for success (best idea I’ve ever had!). On a sheet of paper, write your goal at the top. Underneath the goal, write out each step necessary for success. If you’re trying to reach a goal you’ve never achieved before, do research by browsing the Internet or talking to friends who have achieved the goal. For example, if you want to run a marathon, check out training plans to get a realistic idea of how much work is required. Put your plan somewhere you’ll see it regularly, like a cork board above your desk, fridge, or wherever.
DO: BE SPECIFIC. “Lose weight” or “Get healthy” are way too vague (more details about the losing weight goal are below). What does this mean to YOU? When creating a NYR, try to be as specific as possible with both your overall goal and the steps required for success.
DON’T: BASE YOUR SUCCESS ON THE SCALE. For some reason, many healthy living bloggers shy away from talking about weight issues. Let’s break the taboo for a little bit: the truth is that we all experience weight fluctuations, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, as long as you 1) actually have weight to lose/aren’t triggered into old or new eating disorder patterns by losing weight; 2) don’t let it consume your life or jeopardize your health; and 3) go about weight loss in a healthy manner. “I just want to be HEALTHY not SKINNY.” However, I would recommend not basing success on the number on the scale for several reasons. One, I find scale use can become obsessive. Two, your weight changes daily as part of a natural cycle (eat, poop, sweat, drink). Three, weight doesn’t tell you how healthy you are – it just tells you how much you weigh! You might change your exercise and eating habits, lose a pant size, and look awesome – and the scale might not budge due to muscle gain. Personally, I would like to tone up in 2012 and lose some weight that I gained in the last 4 yearos, but I’m basing my success on the fit of a pair of too-tight jeans– not the scale.
DON’T: SET A NYR DUE TO A KNEE-JERK EMOTIONAL REACTION. This is what typically happens during the holidays: we eat, drink, and make merry for a month and a half, and then we wake up on January 1 with a raging hangover and decide that this. is. the. year! The problem with this type of knee-jerk reaction to NYR is that our goals are usually unrealistic and restrictive because we set them in a poor mindset. Wait a few days (see my idea of ”wait until the 7th” reasonings below) and create a thoughtful, realistic, and HEALTHY goal instead.
DON’T: MAKE MAJOR LIFE CHANGES SUDDENLY. Likewise, I always failed at NYR when I decided to completely revamp my life in one day. If you need to clean up your eating and establish exercise habits, tackle these NYR one at a time (start with whatever one you feel most emotionally ready for). Give yourself a month with the first goal before moving onto the second one. Sudden lifestyle shifts are a surefire way to ensure your NYR will be an epic fail. Slow and steady wins the race! (the turtle and the rabbit-my heroes!)
DO: ESTABLISH SMALLER GOALS AND MILESTONE REWARDS. I am the type of person who writes “shower” and “eat” on her To Do list just so I can cross stuff off-heh heh. oh yea! If you’re the same way, establish smaller goals so you can feel satisfied on the way to reaching your larger NYR. If you’re gunning for that marathon, sign up for a 10K and Half Marathon, too. Also, create fun rewards like buying new workout clothes or getting a massage as you reach your mini goals.
DO: ESTABLISH A HEALTHY WAY TO MEASURE PROGRESS. Again – the scale is not the way to go. The number game is stupid-I hate it, actually. If you want to reach a diet-, fitness-, or weight-related NYR, find a healthy, balanced way to measure progress, such as 1) achieving a certain number of workouts/week; 2) completing a hard yoga class; or 3) trying a new vegetable each month.
DON’T: SET YOURSELF UP TO FAIL. Don’t set unrealistic goals, like promising you’re going to work out 5 times a week if you work 70 hours and currently work out zero days a week. Aim for three days instead and you’re bound to be successful. Adopting a perfectionist attitude about your life changes is also dangerous.
DO: SET YOURSELF UP TO ACHIEVE. Build flexibility into your goals. I know I need to cut back on sweets and stress-eating bingeing, but is it realistic to say I’m never going to eat dessert or stuff my face again? Um… no. So I’m building desserts and moderate eating into my plan for success. Also – don’t just talk about it – do it. If you want to join a gym, go sign up. If you want to run a race, you better register for it. RIGHT NOW.
DO: ANTICIPATE OBSTACLES. Just like it’s important to be flexible, it’s also important to anticipate obstacles to your success. If you want to eat better but know you usually end up ordering in lunch at work, you better make a commitment to go grocery shopping and prep meals for the week each Sunday! If you want to work out regularly but are easily bored, map out a different workout theme for each month. Basically, study your previous behaviors and determine why you’ve failed in the past. You might not have been specific enough, you might have demanded perfectionism, or you might have entered into your NYR without a plan. Learn from your mistakes! Similarly, if you fall off the wagon, just get back on it the next meal or the next day.
DO: TELL EVERYONE ABOUT YOUR NYR. Make it public! Tell your friends and family (or start a blog and tell everyone on the Internet). Not only can other people hold you accountable (“So, how’s marathon training?”) but you might find a buddy who can act as your support system, whether that means swapping healthy recipes or working out together.
Here’s My #1 suggestion for 2012:
Wait until January 7 to kick your resolution into high-gear.
Why? I think the momentum we feel after January 1 is a bit of a false momentum. We wake up on the New Year and feel all motivated and excited to tackle our goals… but we’re suffering from holiday hangovers. We’re out of whack, our schedules are crazy, stress is at an all-time high, we’re coming down from sugar highs… Nothing is really normal yet. But, if we wait until January 7th, when things are settled down, and you have a bit more perspective. Waiting until the 7th gives you adequate time to really form a plan, anticipate obstacles, and set realistic goals, too.
So… that’s why I’ll be giving myself a week off before tackling my 2012 resolutions.
I think it will be more helpful in the long run if I let it simmer for a bit.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou