02 Jan New Year Resolution or Recipe for Failure?
By Donna Jenkins, SizeWize Fitness Coach
Well, 2016 has come and gone and if you’re like most, you have made a fitness or health goal as your New Year Resolution for 2017. Now while that is definitely a good thing, is it in disguise a “recipe for failure”? Let’s be honest, most of the resolutions will dwindle down and die out, despite the best intentions, before the month of January is out. Many of us will go crazy just because it’s the NEW YEAR and follow the long line of people joining a gym that we have no intentions of frequenting or paying to start a diet or nutritional program with expensive meals and product to order hoping that this year will be IT! Again, great ideas because accountability or lack thereof is critical in your success or failure. However, instead of making a New Year Resolution with high and unrealistic expectations often fueled by the hype of social media or other catalyst for temporary motivation, why not start by making a realistic decision to acknowledge that New Year’s Resolutions are simply a Recipe for Failure and one of the main ingredients lacking is self discipline.
According to an article in U.S. News, the resistance that sabotages our lives and our intentions all boils down to self-discipline. Essentially, you build self-discipline by willfully enduring the transient discomfort of changing who and what you are. You’re not born with self-discipline; you acquire it. Like a muscle, you need to develop your self-discipline muscle, one challenge at a time. In other words, don’t follow the crowd or expectations set by others and jump on board the “2017 Flight to Fitness,” or avoid it altogether because change is uncomfortable, instead focus on that one area of your life that you can’t seem to change and discipline yourself to do better one step at a time.
So before you focus on your biceps or belly fat, focus on training your brain with these five tips – and next year, you won’t have to make a resolution:
- Be honest with yourself.
Often times, we set goals because we think that’s what we’re supposed to do. “Many people don’t make their own resolutions out of what’s most meaningful and desirable for them but they set it out of what other people told them they need to do out of fear or guilt,” said Dr. Karen Lawson, director of the Integrative Health Coaching program at the Center for Spirituality & Healing at the University of Minnesota. “So the motivation doesn’t come from within but comes from the outside and that doesn’t tend to lead to success.” Be honest with yourself and figure out what is important and valuable to you so you can set a goal that comes from within.
- Think small and Make SMART goals.
Begin with small successes. Take a look at the habits that are holding you back in life. Find one that’s simple, like, “When I finish this meal, I’m going to wash my dish.” Make a contract with yourself that that dish must be washed. No ifs, ands or buts! Throughout the day, find simple challenges that you make happen and make those challenges Specific to what you want to accomplish, Measurable so that you can keep track of what needs to be done and if you completed them satisfactorily, Achievable so that you won’t opt out for failure, Relevant to the task(s) that you want to achieve and Time-based so that you have enough motivation to keep going and achieve those goals without the hope of success being so long or far away that you give up before your start.
- Arrange your environment for success.
If certain aspects of your environment are hindering your progress, change them. Want to wake up earlier but find yourself hitting snooze every morning? Consider putting your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you will be forced to get up to turn it off. Having trouble making it to the gym? If you’re an early morning exerciser or gym rat, place your workout clothes and shoes beside your bed and if you normally head there after work, keep a packed bag in the car. Can’t stop snacking? Get the junk food out of your pantry and refrigerator and replace them with healthier options like fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
- Chart your progress to make yourself accountable.
Once you’ve identified your goal and have a specific plan set for achieving it, track your progress to see your success! I don’t know about you but nice checks off list are very satisfying and better yet, post it on the refrigerator so that you have a visual picture of your progress. After several consecutive days of accomplished workouts, the likelihood that you will skip the next day is less likely to occur.
Take steps to make yourself accountable for your goals to help stay motivated. If you enjoy social media, post your goals and let your social network help you to stay on track. If you’re more private, simply share your goals with family members or a more intimate group of people.
- Cultivate optimism. No one’s life is without negatives. The key is to train yourself to focus on the positives. Don’t let insecurity suggest there are no positives. Positives may be eclipsed by a habit of pessimistic negativity, but keep looking: They’re there. If you’re a whiner or a complainer, make a determination to stop whining and complaining (to yourself and others). Pessimists are so used to being negative that they don’t realize it’s a habit. And they don’t realize it’s a choice.
Lastly, Congratulate Yourself on the small successes because they are positive steps in the right direction. Most importantly, remember that the decision to live a healthy and fit life should be a personal one so that you have to make a personal choice to get involved and make the necessary commitment for success. No Resolutions! No Hype! No Broken Promises to yourself and No Recipe for Failure!