You may not even want to hear the words “weight loss” at the moment because all you can focus on is Thanksgiving dinner coming up, and then the smell of Christmas cookies overwhelming you. There are a reason and rhyme to why I wanted to talk to you about this exactly now. If you’re thinking “I’ll start when the new year starts”, it’s a sure way to set yourself up for (another) failure. Only a small percentage of people will be rocking the bandwagon in February, and by March Planet’s Fitness’ parking lots will be available for running/skating/sledding through them (you choose).
Can you rock your health transformation before the New Years?
To be honest with you, this vicious circle of starting and stalling makes me sad. So sad and motivated that I need to share something with you that will free you from failing your weight loss/ health changes/new habits again. Keep reading to learn 7 ways to rock your health transformation, lose weight, feel a ton of energy and be happier in your body BEFORE even writing down your New Year’s resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions: old vs new
New is always better than old, right? Personally, I love new planners. I love unpacking new kitchen gadgets or electronics. I love opening a new book, and I love the beginning of the year. There is so much hope there. There is a clean slate. There’re wishes and goals to pursue, and especially there are a whole 365 days to complete your goals and cross off bucket list items, one by one.
The novelty wears off. It’s great to cross off first three days of eating a salad for lunch instead of pizza, but what happens on the 4th day? Why can’t most of us keep up with New Year’s resolutions? And why do some people do great with them?( FACT: approximately 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions)
New Year’s resolutions: why do we wait?
Why do we fail in January?
- We’re impatient (on average, it takes up to 8 weeks to start building muscle, 3-4 weeks to start losing weight or to form new basic habits).
- In fact, we’re very impatient – it can take a good 6 months for your new habits to become your daily rituals and reality.
- We’re going for something grand and it’s often that we bite off more than we can chew.
- Often, we’re over-committing to too many things at once because we often have an “all or nothing” approach.
- We’re suffering from perfectionism, and a few not-so-successful attempts make us feel like failures. So starting with a “clean slate” (who made it clean?!) seems attractive.
- Most of us are too hard on ourselves, afraid to admit failure, and scared to ask for help ( yes, I used to wear “big girl pants” and refused to ask for help).
- We procrastinate. Why doesn’t anyone start their health journey in July? Or May? We give ourselves “a few more weeks to indulge”, dreading the beginning of the year, building expectations, and when one tiny teeny thing goes wrong, we throw in the towel.
- Were too proud or don’t know how to find the support we need.
- We’re tired, less ambitious, and it’s too cold to do more in the winter, yet it seems to be the time we want to lose weight and feel better.
And so much more beyond this.
My story of New Year’s resolutions
Here is my personal story. While I certainly love to set goals in December and see how my year went, and how I personally got ranked on my own “good girl, it’s been a great, successful year” scale… I changed it up in the last couple of years. Because I noticed that a half of my goals were left unattended, let alone completed. So why would I keep writing them down again, and again and again each December? It happened to me with languages. Somehow while I speak 3, I wanted to relearn French and speak Spanish fluently. After a few years of stating “I’ll be an intermediate level in Spanish”, I switched it to… 15 minutes of Spanish a day, 4 times a week. Doable? Way more doable than going from zero to 65. This year I can actually say I’ve learned more Spanish than I did in the last 3 years! (ok, traveling helps :))
What do you need to win your health over this time?
7 ways to rock your health transformation and weight loss
You can be a turtle, not a hare and be way more successful in implementing changes in your life. Change is hard by definition, and nobody likes hard stuff to do! When you’re thinking about your weight/health, pick something small, something that you can easily adhere. Drink an extra cup of water a day. Get up 5 minutes earlier. Eat a salad instead of pasta. Spend 5 minutes on a workout at home instead of driving for 20 minutes to the gym, suffering for an hour, and driving back. Make it fun, bite-sized, and enjoyable! You’ll feel like a winner and will WANT to keep going.
The time is now, not January 1st.
Yeah. yeah. That’s not what you want to hear before Thanksgiving and Christmas parties. But think about it this way – if you start a healthier habit now (quit processed foods one meal at a time, drink one more cup of water, move daily, sleep for 15 mins longer etc), you’ll be successful in such a short time as a week! Read The Power of Now (by Eckhart Tolle) if you need to get motivated more now, and trust me – there is no need to procrastinate, it will only make the matters worse.
Give it time
In the age of instant gratification, meals delivered to our doors, and lack of patience in lines, on the road, and generally, with each other – it’s okay to give it time. You need time. Your body needs time to learn how to eat well, how to feel better, how to lose pounds. We’re so complex and subtle, filled with hormones and chemical processes that are invisible to the eye. Be gentle and kind to yourself taking up a challenge, and give it time. You can’t run a marathon if you have never ran a mile, so just focus on your next step, and keep going.
Forget the perfectionism
As a recovering perfectionist, I can’t stress it enough: perfectionism kills joy. Think about why do you enjoy being a perfectionist? Write it down, find roots in your childhood, and start letting it go. If you failed your health journey before, promise yourself this time you won’t be obnoxiously focusing on small things like a less-than-perfect meal you had for lunch, or a missed workout. Focus on the big picture: did you make progress this week? This month? Are you feeling better, healthier, stronger today than a week ago? Track it in a journal, share it with friends. You’ll see that you’re far ahead of where you think you are. And stop beating yourself up for the small things, my dear.
The power of positivity
You don’t have to be a chirpy-cheerful-cheerleader for yourself. But on a daily basis, you make a decision: to look at what happened in a day, evaluate it, and look on the positive or negative side. For example, if you made a good choice at a restaurant, that’s a positive outcome. If you did not, it’s an experience for you to learn from ( read the menu beforehand, eat a snack not to feel hangry, etc.), and then it’s positive as well. You bring meaning to events of the day, and if you choose health as a long-term goal, you’ll find that most steps you take in that direction will reaffirm your strength. Thus, you’ll succeed in any case.
Don’t feel positive enough? Do this:
1) Tell yourself a compliment daily
2) Hang out with your most upbeat friend
3) Find an accountability partner
4) Watch a funny/inspiring movie or documentary
5) Make a dump list of every small good thing in your life and what you’re grateful for
6) Make a list of your awesome qualities (I know you have many!)
7) Smile. Breathe. You got this.
The right goals.
You can lose fat and get ready for your wedding this year, and then gain it all back and more. Maybe you can fit a size 2, and then go back up to size 22. You can move and work out 5 days a week, and then go for months hating the gym. Please know: your goals will only become the right goals (read: achievable) if they’re based on changing your habits to serve a long-term purpose. Normalize your blood pressure, avoid diabetes, lower body fat, have clearer skin, feel lighter, have abundant energy, being able to workout or dance – those are goals that are focusing on your health, long-term sustainability and benefits to YOU and YOU alone. If you want someone else’s goals to be yours, to be 135 pounds or losing weight because your boyfriend says so…guess what? Those won’t stick. Choose your goals smartly, and know why you’re pursuing them
7. Have a plan A, B, and C (for both, positive and negative outcomes)
I’ve learned this strategy from an elite marathoner Deena Kastor. Anytime she races, she sets 3 goals for each, positive and negative outcome. For a marathoner, it may look like (good, better, best for the positive outcome, something you can’t even expect).
- Run 2:25
- Run 2:20
- Break 2:19 marathon time
And the worst case scenario would be:
- Run 2:40
- Run 3 hours
- Finish the race
So for you, set up the goals – lose 10 inches off your waistline, fit in the dress you wore 3 years ago, being able to go 3 flights of stairs, etc…and work your way towards the better and the best outcomes. You can make them almost impossible, yet real! Then create a set of negative ones too. This way you always have something to be satisfied with, and in most cases, you won’t need the worst one 🙂
What are the methods you use to rock your weight loss/ health transformation?
Author: Anya Perry
Anya Perry battled boring diets, low energy, and declining health for over 10 years before she found what works. Now, she helps women achieve their dream state of health, fitness, and vitality… without the struggles, battles of miserable diets, and yo-yo results. She can’t live without coffee and challenges.