One of the top resolutions made each year is to eat better, workout more and have a healthier lifestyle. We become committed to transformer our health with new diets and workout plans. However, statistics show that 40 % percent of resolutions fall off their diet plans and workout regimens only 4 weeks into the new year. We wake up on January 1st expecting to be a completely different person then we were on December 31st. When you think about it this way, it doesn’t seem logical, does it?
We can change ourselves at any point in our life, but change does not happen overnight. We try and try to stay committed to our resolution but still it slips away. Why is such a common resolution become impossible to achieve? …Because Commitment requires more than desire. Commitment is a journey that consist of habits, goal setting, proper planning, and rationality. These are the fundamental parts of change and the solution to keeping your resolution for a healthy year.
Our habits are a glass door for our decisions. Habit formation happens over time. We all partake in good and bad habits when it comes to our health. Starting a healthier lifestyle in the new year can be a habitual resolution that becomes an automatic failure when our motivational process is reduced. We need to look at the habits between the resolution and failure that transfer our success.
A poor habit that is common among resolutions in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle is perfectionism. Perfectionism is a trap. It is a golden revolving door, leading you back to wear you started. A part of being human is imperfection. We are not robots, we have habits, emotions, and physiological attributes that make going from a-z more challenging than it sounds. Perfectionism is a voice inside your head that makes your goals unattainable. Why? because perfectionism insist on perfection. When an obstacle is appears, we consider this failure and give up. In a perfectionist view there should not be any obstacles.
I don’t not believe in perfect, but I do believe things can be done well and effectively. Efficiently is at the root of effectiveness and there is not effectiveness to be found through the revolving golden door. Perfectionism demands us to become extreme with our changes. Being extreme is very common when looking to achieve a goal. We want it so bad that we are willing to give it 100% all at once.
The rationality is that both our bodies and our minds take time to adapt to change. If you’re starting a workout regimen it is important to ease into your time spent in the gym. If your someone who is new to activity, starting with 1-2 times per week is a rational goal. When you introduce new activity soreness can last 2-3 days and your body can come fatigued as it is not used to this activity. It is important to take things slow, adapt your schedule to fit in time at the gym and adapt your body to exercise. If you’re already attending the gym 2-3 days per week make it your goal to get there 3-4.
The point is to take it slow, the less extreme we are about change the more likely we are to adapt. Small changes overtime is the best way to reach the end goal and stay committed to what is at hand. It is the ultimate way to beat the habit of perfectionism and unreasonable expectations.
When it comes to your nutrition it is just as important to slowly adapt to a healthier diet. I’m not encouraging you to keep a tube of ice cream in the fridge, however if it has been a nightly ritual for all of 2018 to dig into a container of Hagendaz, going cold turkey would be extreme. A solution to going cold turkey on our poor habits is to replace it with a healthier option. There are a lot of low-calorie high protein ice cream on the market that can satisfy your cravings and saves you multiple grams of sugar. You can switch to a lite cool whip, or even a bowl of fresh fruit.
You can change it all, but you can’t change it all at once. If you’re looking for a complete overhaul with your diet start with one meal at a time. By changing one meal at a time you can be more committed to that change. When your new healthy lunch becomes your second nature, you will have the will power and feel less overwhelmed to change your dinner options.
Let’s face it, lifestyle changes can be a challenge. If the challenge is to big, we create stress; the biggest trigger for poor diet and inactivity. By making small adjustment to a healthier lifestyle you will decrease your stress and stay focused on the goal. If you feel that small changes, feel pointless and unmotivating it is important to look at the bigger picture. A good solution to battle the mind set of all or nothing is to create a timeline of changes you will be making in your life style. This can help keep you motivated and aware of how tiny steps lead to great results.
We have all heard the saying; Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. How many times have you stated, “tomorrow I am starting my diet” or “this week I’m getting back to the gym”? Perhaps you do start your diet and you do get back to the gym… but without a solid plan you lose navigation. Without a plan in tact it is much more likely for us to lose focus or feel reward. Proper planning helps us become proactive and ready for a challenge; it gives us structure and smaller goals within our larger ones.
Saying we are going to cut out junk food is a very vague way to start a diet. Saying we are going to limit ourselves to 2 complex carbs a day and replace our takeout lunch with a homemade salad is an actual plan to follow. Being vague about your diet changes will only lead to vague results. Not only is it important to have a plan with clear expectations it is also important to plan for a challenge. What about the days where you forget your salad at home? or don’t have time to make it? Can you pick up a salad at your local market? Having a backup plan can be just as important as having a plan. Life can throw us curve balls and the more prepared we are the more we will succeed.
Getting to the gym is a very vague plan as well. Deciding you will attend yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm is an actual plan you can put into action. If yoga is canceled make a backup plan to go power walking with a friend. If your heading to the gym to lift weights get detailed about what exercise you will be doing, along with your sets and reps. When we know what action we should be taking, it becomes a clear path of expectations. It also becomes that much more rewarding when we take it.
The largest issue for resolutions is staying committed. Commitment is accomplished over time through clear planning and habit formation. Why are small changes and planning so important? They are more achievable to accomplish and offer us a sense of satisfaction and success. When we feel accomplished we feel good, we feel ready to take on the next plan of action, we become invested, we become committed. Once we are committed our mind set can really take a change in willingness and responsibility. We create purpose and determination. When we are committed we overcome small obstacles and learn to problem solve. Commitment is not so much a decision but a journey of creating value. By using these tools, you will be ready to take the journey of commitment to your health in 2019.