Your changes are sustainable
Sustainability is the most important thing to consider when you are starting anything new. Ask yourself – Is this something I will do forever? If the answer is “No way” or “I don’t know…” than maybe the change is too big and you should start with a smaller step. For instance, “I don’t know if I could cook all my meals but I can start meal prepping my lunches for the week.”
This solution may be appear to be slower but it is ultimately faster than losing and gaining those same 15 lbs. over and over again. The only thing I want more than for you to reach your goal is for this to be the last time you have to do it. Lifestyle is about the long game.
You focus on one thing at a time
This time of year, we are energized, we want change and we feel like we can do it all! That is wonderful and I want you to harness that energy. However, I also want you to focus. When we do too many things at once it can be like a house of cards. If one card moves, the entire house will crumble.
Let’s say your goals are to meal prep on weekends, exercise everyday and meditate. You find yourself on a Sunday and doing all of them feels exhausting, so you decide to do nothing. This is how resolutions crumble.
Now let’s say you have the same goals but make meal prep the main skill you are going to prioritize. Then you find yourself on the very same Sunday feeling exhausted. Instead of giving everything up you tell yourself that you just need to get your meal prep done. Focusing on this single skill makes sure that it happens. Overtime this skill becomes a habit becomes a strong foundation for the next skill and the next!
You learn from setbacks
We tend to look at setbacks as proof that we will never succeed. Instead they are our best gift! They shine light on areas that need work. Perhaps we thought something was sustainable, but it turns out it is too much. If we re-evaluate it and do something that is more realistic we can keep moving forward. Or maybe we need to focus on something we didn’t even think of. Without setbacks we can’t make a lifestyle change. When things don’t go your way, ask yourself honestly if there is anything you could have done different, learn from the situation and keep moving forward. As long as you never quit, you will reach your goal.
You focus on behaviors and not just results
When it comes to health, we tend to think of success in the form of metrics. Specifically, weight is our go-to barometer. The thing is, weight is a symptom, not the actual problem. The behaviors that lead to weight gain are what need work. If you want to make a true lifestyle change, focus on your behaviors.
Take a step back from weight and think about the behaviors that lead to it. For instance, perhaps skipping breakfast leads you to overeat at night. Try checking off on a calendar when you eat breakfast and reward that consistency. Now, it is important to remember that behaviors don’t live in a bubble. For instance, maybe you aren’t getting up in the morning to make breakfast because you are staying up late. So perhaps, the first behavior to focus on is getting to bed earlier. Be a detective and get to the source.
The main thing to remember is health is not a destination, it is a management issue. Things will not always go your way. It is important to recognize that and be flexible but also never use that as an excuse to quit. We are in this for the long haul so as long as you are always taking steps forward (as small as they may be) you will get there! Happy New Year!