Are you wondering if I mistyped resolutions? I have a feeling that will be a common initial thought for this post but, rest assured, I did not mistype resolutions as revolutions. I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole new year’s resolutions thing and a lot of the reason why so many of us fail at keeping those when it struck me that the whole resolution thing is kind of a downer. It’s all lofty goals that we feel we should hit but aren’t passionate about. Resolutions are broad like, “I’ll lose 20 lbs this year” or “I will exercise more” but where are we getting those goals from? Those aren’t personal – those sound-like repeats of what other people do or things we heard on commercials…. So maybe we choose something ambiguous and we start marching.
And marching seems the only way to get it done: we force ourselves to go through the motions until we just can’t anymore. This ‘can’t anymore’ limit is what we are used to so we aren’t surprised when we tap out. It’s almost like we set ourselves up to fail only to repeat the cycle again and again. Well, if that’s what we’ve come to expect, no wonder we do it – it’s safe.
But what if we didn’t fail this time? What if we shake things up and stop begrudgingly accept health goals as grim, dour responsibilities and embrace them as opportunities to make something bigger and better than ourselves this year? It’ll be tough since we’re out of practice at keeping promises to ourselves but what if, just this once, we actually do it? I think you can. Sorry – I know you can. Success takes a different energy. A bit more creativity. Maybe a little more firework to the whole thing. So, I say let’s create a revolution this year for New Year’s and leave the whole resolution thing behind.
Starting a Health Revolution: Commitment
I assume, if you’re still reading, you are starting to see how this year could be different. Hell yeah! I am so pumped for you. But it’s going to take work, some like deep emotional work. And it isn’t going to be done by March, I promise you that. It’s going to be a whole year that bleeds into the rest of your life and, before you know it, you’re one of those people you used to look up to and say, “maybe next year…”. If you’re ready to work, let’s get started.
The Deep Dive
First things first, we need to have a why for our goals. A why is a deep, personal reason you want to make a change. The why is made of intangible things you gain by going through the steps. The why isn’t a negative. A negative reason is a “I don’t want…” statement. Like, I don’t want to develop type 2 diabetes like my grandmother – I assure you, no one wants to develop diabetes! The reason negative whys don’t work is that they aren’t a given. They are maybes. Poor health habits aren’t a guarantee of bad health diagnoses – they DEFINITELY increase risk of death and disease, sure, but we all know someone’s 90 year old grandmother who says drinking whiskey, smoking and eating a ribeye every day is her secret to longevity (I’m here to tell you that’s some good genetics at play and not those other things but I digress…).
So, think about what you GAIN by taking control of our health, think as deep as you can. Create a positive why.
If this is still kind of vague, here are some deeper whys my clients are working for (shared with permission):
- To play with my kids outside for more then 10 minutes
- To be able to tour Italy and walk the tours all day
- Taking the stairs with coworkers and not being out of breath
- To increase my confidence in myself for maintaining healthy relationships
- To wake up refreshed and with enough energy for the whole day – to be present for my kid’s after school activities
Process Goals vs. Broad Ideas
I want to lose 20 lbs or I want to run a marathon are fine ambitions, but they don’t create a roadmap for achievement. When clients sign up to work with me, I send them a short health questionnaire that also asks what their goals are. I get a lot of broad answers. Don’t get me wrong, I need this info so we have some big pictures to build the story with, but they don’t provide the roadmap for getting there. To figure out how, we need a roadmap. If this were a product, it’d be the instruction manual. So, we determine the goals we need to achieve in order to work towards the lofty goals. These process goals are dynamic. They will change as we figure out what we do and do not like about a healthy lifestyle. For example, we know that exercise is a vital point for health and wellness, but exercise is a BROAD concept. Do we need to be swimming? Bathing suits? No thank you! What about running on the treadmill? More like dreadmills, amirite? We are going to need to figure out: what do I like, where can I do it, what’s the likelihood of me sticking with it? If you like racket sports, did you know that there’s indoor tennis courts and racquetball leagues? If you ran track in high school but aren’t sure you can hit the pavement again, what about the elliptical or biking? Do you do better solo or with a community? Both options exist!
The idea is, we need to get granular, try new things, and work towards falling in love with the process vs. just doing things we *think* we have to.
Speaking of Community
Community is a key piece to falling in love with the process of a healthy lifestyle. It’s not only the kind of people at your gym, it’s also your friends. It’s your social media follows. It’s likes, loves, articles you choose, people you see often, etc. If any of those things cause self-doubt, self-questioning, or encourage you to stray from your goals, I am here to tell you, it’s time for a change. Instagram feeds of models and fitness folks seem too perfect? It’s because Instagram can be a whole mess of lies – there’s teams of people to help create Instagram imagery. Always finding yourself reading articles from Facebook about quick weight loss, how to be a perfect mom, what kind of terrible fate awaits you if you can’t get Pinterest projects perfect? Maybe those are shaming you into thinking you’ll never get it and to give up. If you have friends that ONLY want to drink wine and bitch, you will become the person with the constant hangover and nothing positive to stay.
I know it’s not easy to choose friends, family, etc. but I am here to tell you that it’s on YOU to surround yourself with positive and productive people as often as possible. You want to do positive things? Surround yourself with cheerleaders, role models and inspiration. Follow positive people who inspire you. Seek out role models who are honest about the hard work it takes. Become the role model for others.
Seek out Support
A lot of people try to tackle huge lifestyle changes by reading a website (hey, if this lifestyle blog inspires you…*pats self on back*) or a book but many of them find it’s harder to wade through the abundance of info and steps that the beautiful internet has given us. That’s where the experts come in. And I do mean, experts. Not self-proclaimed experts with internet degrees or a personal “story”…I mean the people who went to school, who have letters after their names, who live the life and walk the walk, who have an answer to your medical concerns in addition to your lifestyle interests. The reason our methods work is because we have science on our side – let us help you with your goals. If not us, seek out any professional support system. I promise, the relief it offers for your brain is priceless. We can tell you what actually works versus what’s a fad. That’s why all of our recommendations – and our partners – are based on science and evidence. If you want support – on-going or one-time – we are here for you.