If you're anything like I used to be, as the New Year rolls around you start to create resolutions and routines. You can visualize a slimmer version of yourself. In your mind, you're more organized, disciplined, and all around; a better version of yourself.
With the New Year ahead, many of us are setting new goals, new ambitions, and new habits. We begin excited, and motivated, yet quickly we often see these new resolutions become restrictions. We foresee having to give-up, and change everything that we currently do, or have always done. After all, I wouldn't need to lose 5 pounds if I hadn't had the habits that led me to gain it in the first place...
Yet, it is this exact thinking that causes many of us to fall away from our resolutions before we even see the middle of January. We set goals that are too rigid. We hold ourselves to a nearly impossible standard. We feel deprived, defeated, and depleted rather than energized, motivated, and accomplished. Why? We get in an all-or-nothing cycle.
For some of you, the cycle begins before we even implement our resolutions. "I have to start eating healthy next week, so today I better eat all of the junk in my cupboards, fridge, and hit the DQ drive through one last time".... sound familiar? I know, because surprisingly, I have been there. Multiple times. When we set goals that are too rigid, we rely strictly on willpower to achieve them. Once our willpower is depleted, we flick the all-or-nothing switch and decide, "what the hell", often convincing ourselves into, or justifying actions that are against our very own goals and resolutions.
Why? Willpower is not infinite. Just like time, we only have a certain amount of willpower each day, and depending on the level of stress you experience in a day, it can often be depleted. Once we hit this limit, we are likely to throw all caution to the wind. Which is why even when we have the best intentions, we can still fall 'off track'. Think about it - it's often towards the end of the day that we no longer feel inspired to exercise despite having good intentions all day, or find ourselves standing in the pantry elbow deep in a box of something we aren't even sure why we're eating.
This is where the mindset needs to change. Falling off track is not the enemy, but staying off track is. Giving in to a whole box of cookies because you have had one. Skipping a workout altogether because you didn't have time to finish the whole thing. We need to stop focusing on perfection and start to focus on progress. You're not going to be perfect in achieving your resolution each and every day. Its expected, because life is unexpected. But you can focus on progress.
If you did a little better than yesterday, or all of last year, then you're making progress. You should be proud of yourself. Not so proud as to reward yourself with a piece of chocolate, but proud that you can put a mental checkmark next to progress, instilling discipline and the power of habit. Repeat this process of progress, and you'll leave yourself feeling fulfilled rather than with no will.
Every small step of progress counts. So you had a slice of pizza for lunch... don't punish yourself. Nourish your body with some salad for dinner. Love yourself. Love your ability to love yourself, and you will start to want to treat your body well. Get into the grey zone; start to see food, exercise, and your body as blessings. In 2017, we get to eat healthy, we get to exercise, we get to develop healthier habits and make progress in the right direction. We get to develop the habits that will lead us not only through the rest of the year, but the rest of our lives, healthier, happier, and loving our new lifestyle.
This New Year, I wish you a year of progress. Slow progress... quick progress... any progress at all... but most importantly, recognized progress. Celebrate your victories, focus on each day, and most importantly, share your goals with us! This year, at Encompass Fitness, we have committed to helping 200 people achieve their goals. We would love to see your goal up on our goal board, and can't wait to see you move from our "goal setters" board, to our "goal getters" board.
What are you waiting for? What is the one goal you would set this year if you knew you could achieve it?