Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hold On! It's Only February!

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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 another.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
Enjoy yourself in good health and fitness/gena.