So here we are into February, the perfect time to assess our progress towards the goals we set at the beginning of the year. If you're like many you may be cringing at the thought because what research tells us is that by the first week of the year 1/4 of us have given up on succeeding with those resolutions and 40% abandon them all-together by the end of the month. Any time we experience failure the associated feelings can be those of defeat, sadness and low self esteem. But hold on! Its' only February! There are several months ahead to work it out! It's important to understand that just because we say we want to change, change won't happen. Changing habits is a work in progress so a “now or never” approach can be counterproductive. Because of this it's also helpful to acknowledge that sometimes “failure” is part of the process. Few things worth changing happen over night. So what can you do to help yourself along the way? Here are some suggestions:
- Get out of your way. That's right. Sometimes we are in the
way of our own success and sabotage our efforts through negative
self talk, cynicism and undermining thoughts. These constant
thoughts that go through our minds must be recognized as just that.
Thoughts. They are not you, they don't define you. You don't have to
solve them, get over them or hide them. Just acknowledge them, let
go and focus on what you can do at the present moment. That in
itself can take you a step closer to your goal.
- Ask the right questions. Are your goals realistic? Don't
base your goal on other people's abilities and success. In regards
to weight loss and fitness we are not all designed the same. What
worked for someone else may not work for you. If your expectations
are unrealistic you are setting yourself up for failure. To be
ambitious and optimistic is one thing but to be unrealistic is
- Abstract doesn't work. Be specific. Telling yourself that
you will lose weight and get in shape is hard to measure and
surprisingly not so simple to define. What does being in shape
really mean to you? It's better to make a clear and precise
statement like “I will go the the gym three times a week.”
- Have a plan and surround yourself with the tools and support
you need. Investing in a few sessions with a personal trainer to
learn proper form and execution will save you time and keep you
safe. Can you find a friend to be accountable to? Friends and
groups with similar goals and interests can carry you through the
days where motivation may be low.
- Use daily acts to measure
and celebrate your progress. All the little accomplishments and
choices you make over the days will contribute to the end result.
Are you now able to get up the stairs quicker or without
being winded? Did you grab some fruit and yogurt instead of a candy
bar? Are you able to carry more groceries? Lift your toddler with
more ease? Has your posture improved? Do you have more energy? These
are all valid and important accomplishments and take you steps
closer to your goal. Know that you will always feel better before
you actually start to see a difference in your body. Don't
underestimate these simple things.
- Never give up. Period. Those who succeeded reaching their
goals never gave up no matter how many attempts it took. It takes
time for habits to stick.