Cheers to a New Year! January inspires a sense of opportunity that no other time of year offers.
And with that inspiration come resolutions. We dream, we set goals and we aspire to achieve something that will set this year apart from the last.
But there’s a downfall to all this ambition. We often set aggressive resolutions without planning to change anything in our routine. We also want to see results immediately. And when that almost inevitably doesn’t happen, we get discouraged and scrap those resolutions just as quickly as we invented them.
The most common New Year’s resolution is weight loss. This is no surprise after a long holiday season often associated with parties, busy schedules, travel and stress. And there’s nothing wrong with resolving to lose weight, if that’s what you feel you need! But the way you approach it is a make-or-break decision.
Before you get started, ask yourself these questions:
- Why do I want to lose weight?
- Am I willing to put in the work?
- Am I willing to be patient?
Be reasonable with your resolution.
Acknowledge that your goal weight will change throughout your life. Measuring yourself against what you ‘used to weigh’ can set you up for failure. If you plan to add fitness to your routine, be prepared for your body to transform in ways that may not translate on the scale – remember, weight is only one measurement of your overall wellness.
Think before you eat.
Be mindful of when you crave certain things. Are you reacting to stress? Are you bored? Are you used to snacking regularly throughout the day? Address the ‘why’ behind your cravings and habits. Without this, change isn’t possible! Try keeping a food journal or check out MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople – they’re free!
Share your goals with those closest to you.
They don’t need to know the dirty details, but they can offer support and encouragement. Working with others also keeps you accountable. Chances are they’re working towards similar goals!
Don’t go cold turkey.
Weaning yourself off of things like caffeine and sugar can help prevent withdrawal symptoms like headaches and nausea. For example, if you drink three Diet Cokes per day, first reduce the amount you drink each time before you reduce the frequency. Take a week or more to do this, and gradually scale down to the level you’re aiming for. Habits don’t form overnight, so don’t expect them to be undone that easily, either!
Women are notorious for deflecting compliments. As you go through this journey, accept praise from others and give praise to yourself! There is no room for negative self-talk, so leave it at the door!
Be patient and accept setbacks.
Don’t let ‘perfect’ get in the way of ‘good’. If you expect to be perfect, you’ll be left disappointed, and more importantly, you’ll miss small steps you’re making toward your goal. Know that you will have setbacks and that’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up. Reflect, then move on, and don’t be tempted to quit.
One of my favorite quotes from an old desk calendar is: Success consists of getting up once oftener than you fall down. Be patient, commit to change and let your success unfold!