Here it is ladies, the last of my New Year Resolution Tips for 2019. This one has to do specifically with weight loss and fitness goals, since those two seem to always be at the forefront of most women’s minds.
“I want to lose x-amount of weight in x-amount of weeks,” or, “I’m determined to exercise five days a week,” is what I have been hearing a lot of lately. Not surprising either, since I work in a gym and have been meeting lots of new prospects lately, all wanting 2019 to be the year that they get “into shape!”
I love that intentions have been set, but from my experience few will achieve and maintain either of the above goals, and here’s why:
The weight loss goal will fail because the end goal is too far away, and people are generally not motivated by delayed rewards.
Or, maybe the end goal (desired amount of weight loss) is within reach and able to be accomplished. That’s great, but keeping it off is where the success will likely end, since the focus is always on getting the weight off, not keeping it off (if it were, so many women would not be repeating the same goals year after year).
The exercise goal will also fail – if the bar is set too high. Setting too high expectations of yourself does nothing for self-esteem. Because, as slip-ups start to occur – and they will – self-esteem progressively drops and the desire to quit (and try again next year) becomes stronger than the desire to keep going.
Additionally, if the exercise is too-much too-soon, the likelihood of crashing and burning is significantly greater, and often the momentum to get going again doesn’t happen until…..you guessed it…..next year!
So, what to do:
Break the big goal down into bite-size goals, and celebrate every milestone accomplished. Get your focus on losing just 1kg instead of 10kg, and then another 1kg, and so forth. Learn to enjoy the process as much as the outcome.
Turn your goal statement from one that has a finite ending, to one that leads to rituals. In other words, have intentions of making your new habit changes a lifestyle, not just a means to an end. Willpower doesn’t last; rituals do!
Don’t set a bar at all; simply determine in your mind to own up to the intentions you’ve made and take some action. If at first it’s only once a week that you get yourself moving, take it and celebrate it. And if every day is jam-packed and you can’t find a spare hour, then find a spare 20 minutes. Lose the all-or-nothing mentality! Do something; but don’t do nothing!
- Visualize and weigh up the outcomes of pain versus pleasure; the pain of doing something less enjoyable that gets you closer to your ideal “you,” versus the pleasure of doing what’s most comfortable but accepting a less optimal version of “you.“ Which do you want more?
I don’t know about you, but when I run and see my shadow, I like chasing “her.” She’s always one step ahead, and impossible to catch, but I like trying anyway. The other day she caught my attention again, but around this time of year her appearance is always a stark reminder of another year passed by. She had me questioning who she was, and if she was the same girl whose footsteps I followed last year, or was she someone different?
The thing I love about her is that she can be whoever I want her to be. At the start of each new year I enjoy reflecting on previous paths travelled, and in my mind’s eye I visualize the next journey and destination. I transfer my hopes and thoughts to a vision board so that I don’t forget, and then I start the chase all over again.
I challenge you to have a little fun with me. Determine who you want your shadow to be, set a course for her to run in 2019, and then smile every time you see her because she is beckoning you to follow!
I usually look forward to the end of my runs, especially when I have worked hard and know that the last kilometre or two is along an easy, flat stretch of road. But I don’t always take the easy road home. Every now and again I choose another route that requires me to finish on a hill. On tired legs and pre-stressed lungs, it takes a lot of grit and focus to finish with a moderately hard climb, and I never enjoy it!
If you’re wondering why I choose to make things tough for myself, I do so for two reasons: the first is because I have run enough races by now to know that they don’t all end with a cruisey fast flat or downhill slope, and second, I’ve learned that these types of runs do wonders for character building.
There have been many periods throughout my lifetime where certain trials have forced me to dig deep and find the mental grit needed to get out from under whatever hard rock I’m under. During those periods it’s always been liberating to finally see a light shine through, but it’s often required a final hard effort to break through and let all the light in.
A few years ago, I was asked by the Marketing Manager of Health and Fitness site top.me, to suggest just one key fitness resolution for the New Year. I recall thinking at the time that it would be difficult to put all of my tips and ideas into one small basket. I still think it’s a difficult assignment, however looking back at what I wrote I’d probably write the same or something similar today; check it out below:
- If I were to suggest just one fitness resolution for the New Year, it would have to be one with a two-fold approach. It sounds a bit like a cliche, but I’d first recommend visualizing what your lifestyle would look like if you were in the best shape of your life. What would it take to achieve that lifestyle, and considering all the influencing variables, then ask yourself if such a lifestyle were really possible? If not, go back to the drawing board and paint another picture, the “next best” scenario. That’s part one!
- Second, take another look at the picture you’ve just painted and if “getting there” requires setting the same goals that you traditionally set yourself every year, then maybe you need to get even more honest with yourself and ask if that’s really what you want. Because if you’re going to simply go through the motions of setting the same old goals, knowing that next year brings with it another opportunity to “try again,” you’ve already lost the battle.
Get real and honest with yourself, because once you have decided what you most care about, you’ll stop sabotaging your goal efforts and start taking small, intentional steps that each day, move you a little closer to your desired lifestyle.
The other morning I ran past a man who looked to me to be homeless. When I got closer, I gave him a friendly smile, not expecting more than a smile back in return. He surprised me though; he not only returned a friendly smile, he also cheered me on.
“You’re strong girl! You go!”
I could tell by his smile and tone of voice that his comment was sincere, and meant as a compliment. I smiled even bigger and yelled back, “Thanks!”
That exchange reminded me of a conversation I once had with a good friend. We talked about why it is that women – in general – have a hard time accepting compliments. And at the end of that conversation we made a pact to start smiling and saying “Thank You” to every compliment given.
I don’t always get it right, but two reasons in particular motivate me to keep trying:
- Accepting compliments is actually good for my well-being! Whether I believe the compliment to be true or not, it doesn’t matter. My natural response is to either transfer the praise back to the person giving it, or to someone or something else. But I’m training myself – and you should too – to celebrate and be grateful for kind words said about, and to me.
In accepting compliments from others, I’m also contributing to someone else’s wellbeing. Imagine if I shot down every person who tried to compliment me; what a killjoy! But show them that their words have helped to make my day a little brighter, and I guarantee that I’ll also make their day a little brighter.
I challenge you to start owning and accepting whatever positive observations are made about you, because in doing so you are helping to maintain a positive cycle of energy (and wellbeing) that both you – and your complimenters – will benefit from.