It’s that time of year again. The time when people have great intentions to make changes in their lives. Yup, New Years Resolutions. Unfortunately, 95% of those individuals who start off on the right track will have failed in those resolutions by March. It’s part of the reason why I never make resolutions. I think it’s more poignant to try and live your best life every month of the year, forgiving yourself for your slip ups and rewarding yourself for your triumphs. But, since it is the beginning of January and since there really is NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT to get started, let’s figure out how to succeed.
In my experience, there are a number of crucial components for success when you want to make a change. Not that I’m remotely an expert in these things, but I’ve done a ton of research on nutrition and fitness and have used myself as a guinea pig for a number of different methods, so naturally, I want to share this combined knowledge with you. I’m going to cover them in three parts over three days – Getting Your Head in the Game, Changing Your Relationship with Food and Starting (And Maintaining) a New Fitness Routine.
1. Get Your Head In The Game: Whatever your goal is (weight loss, getting out of debt, etc…), you must get your head in the game. That goal needs to be the most important thing in your life. In order for that to happen, you must get to the bottom of the self-destructive behavior. There’s a reason why you’re turning to junk food, shopping or gambling. It might be boredom, it might be for comfort, but whatever the reason, you have to know what it is in order to change the behavior. You also need to know what your triggers and weaknesses are. Is 4pm when you eat the most because you haven’t consumed enough calories in the day or is it your after work drinking that loosens your inhibitions and resolve?
You may be able to figure these things out for yourself or you might need to turn to a professional for help. Try keeping a food and beverage journal to see where you’re slipping up. Remember to be honest when you record your intake – if you’re lying to yourself, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you aren’t having any luck curbing your destructive behavior yourself – GET HELP. Often times, we are our own worst enemies and self-sabotage is the result.
***If you can’t get your head in the game, you will fail***
It’s not possible to just go through the motions and get long term results. If you don’t figure out why you’re self destructing, you’ll eventually end up back where you are. You might fake it for one month or for six, but unless you’re passionate and angry and resolved enough to make the change permanent, you’re just wasting your time. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. When I was trying to transform myself into a runner (after taking almost a decade off) during my marathon training, failure wasn’t an option. There was plenty of room for set backs and slip ups, but no matter what, I had made the decision that even if I had to crawl, I was going to cross the finish line. Does that reasoning sound absurd? It should. Meeting your goals requires an irrational commitment to that success.
There are a number of tricks to help you get psyched up for change. Here are just a few:
1. Make a list of why you want to change. Make this as expansive as possible. Remember – be honest! Lying and hiding what’s truly going on is just another way to self destruct.
2. Make note of when you have the greatest desire to either eat the wrong things or avoid going out for exercise. Changing these triggers will greatly help your chances of success.
3. Don’t be afraid. Whether it’s fear of failure or fear of success, confront those fears and don’t let them control them. Your rational, logical mind is in control. Do NOT reach for those chips, do NOT give up if your muscles start to burn. Your mind controls your body, not the other way around. We’ll get into this more over the next two days, but just prepare yourself for the “fear” factor because it will definitely crop up along the way.
4. Have a mantra. This sounds totally cheesy, but when the fear kicks in from above, it will help to have something comfortable and familiar to go back to. My mantra will not surprise you. It’s “Just Do It” or some variation of that theme, like “Just Do It You Pansy!” Yours can definitely be something more gentle like “Slow and Steady,” but whatever you decide on, repeat it to yourself often.
5. Just because it bears repeating, get help if you need it and more importantly, stop self medicating. There is always an underlying reason for why we do what we do and often times, people use alcohol, sleeping pills or other things to keep us from finding out where our hurts and our weaknesses come from. Finding a temporary fix to numb yourself is only masking the problem, it isn’t fixing it. Don’t be afraid, get help and trust that you can and will heal.
This is by far the hardest of the three steps, but believe in yourself and have faith that you can be whoever you want to be. The great news is that this step can be a work in progress as we’re constantly evolving emotional and rational beings.
Are you excited about making a change? Are you ready to dive into your new and better life? Know this above all else – EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.