As we move into the latter part of 2017 many people are already contemplating their New Year’s Resolutions. This is the time we begin to think about what needs to change and when that change will occur. I hear things like my New Year’s Resolutions are “to finally be the year I put my health first”, or “I am going to lose (XX) amount of weight before summer comes. But, why are we waiting for the New Year? Why do we put off what we already know we want to do for two months? I know, we need a reset, right? We reset every morning we open our eyes, so what are the real issues?
I believe we have issues with commitment. I believe we feel we will be missing out on life. I believe we may feel guilty if, God forbid, we take care of ourselves and put emphasis on our own needs, which we don’t do enough of as Women. I believe we are afraid we will fail. I believe we have a diet mentality rather than a lifestyle change mentality.
What we always do
Many times we go on diets with lots of restrictions rather than changing our lifestyle by taking small steps that we can actually manage for the long haul, and slowly build upon in a healthy way. Completely removing things like sugar from our lives is not realistic, nor is it leading to the development of a healthy lifestyle. Saying that we will no longer eat certain foods because they are detrimental to our health is not a lifestyle. We should enjoy the foods that we love in moderation. We should not be focused on eating “perfectly”. Food doesn’t cause us to be unhealthy; the unhealthy habits and choices we make in regard to food are what make us unhealthy. Developing an unhealthy relationship with food by telling ourselves “I have to avoid XX at all costs or I will feel terrible, guilty, or I won’t be happy” is not a healthy way to live.
On January 2nd we start going to the gym every day for 2 hours and we completely re-arrange our lives because we “have to make the change” and “this year is going to be different”. It usually lasts a few weeks maybe a little longer for some. Do we really think we can transition from not going to the gym at all to killing ourselves 5 days a week for 2 hours? How do we get so disillusioned as to think that is a healthy approach to fitness, and that we would be able to sustain it? Just as with our nutrition, we need healthy lifestyle changes that we can realistically sustain for ideally, the rest of our lives. We need a healthy relationship with exercise, just as we do with food. If life happens and we miss a training session, we shouldn’t feel any guiltier about it than we should if we ate a piece of birthday cake at a party.
If we don’t have the discipline to stay consistent today, this week, or this month, why would waiting for January 1st produce any other outcome? Why do we concede that we should just continue doing what we’re doing, or doing nothing at all until the New Year? Does that day have some sort of magical properties causing us to instantly change overnight? Do we think that it is healthy and sustainable to re-invent our lives and attempt to make 39 different changes regarding our health and fitness all at once?
It has been said that practice makes perfect, but in order for lasting change to take place you must be willing to not only put forth the effort, but also do it in a way that is smart and allows you to maintain it for an extended period of time. So, in reality, perfect practice makes perfect. Professional athletes don’t practice for 2 hours a day and try to cram in every little aspect or nuance of their sport. They are professionals and are paid to know the best way to do things so that they improve over time, with time being the key word. They know better than anyone the years it takes to develop their bodies, skills and mindset to be able to perform optimally in their sport. They know that it doesn’t happen overnight. They know that mastering the basics is essential before moving on successfully to the advanced, and being able to maintain it.
What to do differently this year
In the end, change starts with and ends within ourselves. We must not allow ourselves to become victims of our present situation. We allow our present circumstances to hinder our progress when we fail to act in the present. We desire to change, but are unwilling to get out of our own way. We need to stop narrating a future that may or may not come…tomorrow is never promised to anyone.
Start now! You don’t have to wait for the perfect time because the perfect time to start is now. There is never a perfect time to try to alter our entire lifestyle at once. When we decide on one small thing to change at a time and then focus on that one thing until it becomes easy, before moving on to the next, then you are developing a healthy lifestyle. Most importantly, you are doing it in a way that you can actually maintain long enough to see the benefits.
Instead of planning now for your New Year Resolutions, ask yourself – Why not now? Why wait until the New Year? What can I change today? Who can I reach out to that can help me now? Make the decision to turn the narrative of your future self into the best version of yourself TODAY!