Congratulations, you have made it beyond 2020, and it's officially that time where we all think, "this year I will be different,” or “new year new me!”
But WHY? Why would you be different this year? What about this date will change you?
Nothing changes when nothing changes.
I'm going to treat this blog post (and this accompanying podcast!) as I would a coaching session. I will talk you through the ways Sam and I coach clients towards better, more transformative goals, clearer implementation, and sustainability.
The Issue with Chronic Starting Over
Starting over starts to serve as the “savior.”
What I mean is that starting over gives you a get out of jail free card. Have you ever been at that New Years Eve Party and felt like you could eat whatever you want (even when it doesn’t make you feel well) because tomorrow you start over?
Starting over takes any responsibility away from showing up now. It teaches you that if you are going to fail, you might as well fail hard and start over again when you can be perfect. Because if you can’t be perfect, you might as well not show up at all.
Think about the moments where you have decided that you can start over later. How did you then respond?
Take the example of starting a new diet as the starting over. Evidence shows that even the idea of starting a new diet allows our brain to enter into a “last supper” mentality. When we decide we will be a “saint” tomorrow, we are giving ourselves permission to be a “sinner” today.
And if tonight is your “last chance” to have icecream because you have already decided you are going to cut out sugar tomorrow, then why would you ever have a normal amount of icecream?! Hence, the last supper.
This is the opposite effect of what we want to actually do and leads us into these extremes- all or nothing- sometimes multiple times a week.
Think of how different your health would be if you decided you never had to start over?
The threat of failure is what kills sustainability. Here are some ways to think differently about starting over:
Think of your health, your body, your habits as continuous
Understand you have 3-7 chances everyday to choose foods that support your health
If it’s ever changing, each second is a renewal of opportunity to do things that make me feel well right now and for the health of my future self
If there is no endpoint, there doesn’t have to be extremes
A muffin at breakfast doesn’t mean you have to have pizza for lunch and candy for dinner, allow your health to be an ebb and a flow rather than an all or nothing.
Resolutions are January’s version of a detox.
They are perfect players in diet culture because it constantly reiterates that you are inadequate as is. In order to be “healthy” or “good enough” you have to do a complete 180 of where you are now.
Cut out everything. Work off everything. Get smaller. Shrink. Lose the quarantine weight.
Companies selling you short term solutions as a way to make a profit off of your lack of understanding about how to create sustainable change in your life. And there’s a reason why they are able to continually do that year after year - it’s because most people don’t achieve the resolutions they set out to achieve in that year; not for lack of effort, but rather because they haven’t invested in a system, an education, or a mind which allows them to succeed. (We will teach you how!)
We are not anti-change, we are anti-OBSESSION with your body and anti-changes that get you farther from where you actually want to go. We are anti-AIMLESS change, rather than personalized, tailored to you change.
Resolutions vs Intentions
Resolutions are usually short term, drastic changes designed to give you quick results by an end date, while intentions are the habits that align with YOU that are required to get you there sustainably.
Resolutions do not have to feel good or feel like they fit you, you just grin and bear it. Intentions are YOURS. They fit you and feel enjoyable to you where you are, and they grow with you indefinitely, rather than being tossed out in March.
Intention doesn’t come with a time-frame. Just like your body, intention is ever present and ever changing.
Intentions are who you want to be, not just what you have to do.
Ex: I want to be a healthy person who can run 2 miles joyfully vs. I want to lose 10 lbs by February
Intention is immediate, it doesn’t require a delay. If you are truly excited about something you are capable of, why do you feel the need to wait on it, sit with it?
And when something feels good, we have intrinsic motivation to continue doing this. That is another KEY element of creating habits that stick. There must be some sort of kickback for you - whether it be more energy, less GI distress, feeling more confident in your body; if something feels like a punishment, it’s very likely not going to last.
Intention is also more gentle than resolution. With intention, we refuse the all or nothing mentality because intention allows room for grey area. For example, you can be working to incorporate more unprocessed foods into your diet while you enjoy a chip’s ahoy cookie each night. When we negate the all or nothing mentality, balance in our health habits starts to develop. Finding that sweet spot of balance is the true end point of creating sustainable habits.
With that said, set your intentions. Don’t wait for a date, or decide that all is lost if Jan 1 has past. You can start slowly working towards the person you want to be right now.
How to set new year’s intentions:
Most people set outcomes, rather than goals.
Here are some examples of outcomes:
I want to lose 10 lbs
I want to run a half marathon
I want to be a better mom
I want to get my real estate license
Outcomes are simply a byproduct of daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
There is nothing you can do right now, in this moment to make any of those outcomes happen right now.
All of those outcomes require GOALS, or SYSTEMS in order to bring them to life.
A GOAL WITHOUT A SYSTEM IS JUST A GOOD IDEA.
If your outcome is to run a half marathon, the goals you would need to hold tight to are:
Do your homework and find a training program that works for you
Be incredibly disciplined and schedule (in your calendar!) when and where your training sessions will happen
Eat more fibrous carbohydrates and start limiting processed foods to increase performance
Start prioritizing sleep (7-9 hours a night)
Foam roll 2x weekly..etc.
Goals are the requirements today of the person you want to be tomorrow.
Goals are your moment by moment opportunities to show up differently than you have before.
The more extreme the goals you set, the more extreme the backlash. That’s the unfortunate truth. We crave balance, the more we uproot our life, the harder it will be to sustain change.
How to set goals that don’t have a backlash:
1. Start expecting that you will show up NOW.
Start looking for the moments that growth exists. I have my clients literally say out loud “the growth I have been asking and hoping for exists right now.” It is so empowering to realize the moments that matter.
If you show up differently in the moments that matter, you reap a different result.
2. Build self trust.
Every time you set a goal that in the back of your mind you have already decided you probably won’t hit, you break a little more self trust. Your thoughts are prophecies. Stop setting goals that you do not expect to achieve. Stop being okay with letting yourself down.
Lower your pride and your goals, and start achieving consistent small wins, rather than inconsistent huge ones.
3. Small wins (reflect on progress)
If we do not acknowledge our victories, they did not happen.
A habit loop consists of three parts:
In order for us to keep a habit alive, we HAVE to have the reward. Without a reward, that habit loop breaks and sustainability will rely on sheer willpower and discipline, never habitual ease.
4. Look at your pain points. AKA PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR EXCUSES.
Excuses are usually not paid attention to because there is a lot of shame attached to them. But your excuses are powerful. If you are constantly making decisions you don’t want to make, your excuses are more powerful that your reasons.
If your excuses are winning, your excuses are essential in order to change your behavior.
For example: if your excuses every day after work cause you to miss your workout because you are exhausted, instead of deciding “that’s just an excuse,” what if you changed your workouts to a different time of day not clouded with exhaustion?
Know yourself and adapt. Excuses help you to know yourself and allow you to adapt, if you are willing to listen.
5. Look at your thoughts.
Your thoughts shape your behavior. Our thoughts are not true when our thoughts are not challenged. Challenge the thoughts in your head, because at the end of the day, if everything you are doing for your health is because you hate yourself as is, or have decided you are not good enough, understand that you will not take care of someone you do not love.
SOME GREAT INTENTIONS FOR YOUR HEALTH THIS YEAR:
Drink ½ your body weight in oz daily. Buy a water bottle or maybe start with 1 glass each morning before coffee.
Chase your interests. Give time daily to creativity and start to explore what genuinely interests you. Follow more social media accounts that talk about basket making, carving, art, interior design, sushi, etc…
Find movement you love this year. Try and be willing to be bad at something. Detach the idea of exercise to immediate weight loss and truly chase enjoyment. You will move more and move often if you enjoy it. Start where you are and build. Add 1-2x more a week.
Start planning meals that excite you (1x a week)
Try one new vegetable a week.
Optimal gut health happens with a VARIED diet. If you find yourself having the same fruits/veggies every week you are missing out on tons of nutrients of other plants! Google how to make eggplant, a recipe with rutabaga, etc…
Take personal calls walking.
Ask a friend to “Take a walk” with you on the phone this week! Walking can actually increase your clarity and make it easier to listen, and can jack up your daily steps.
Start doing more for others. The more you encourage, the more you will be encouraged. You will not find fulfillment in the mirror, in your physique, but you can find it in the lives around you that you change.
Go to bed without your phone.
Try putting your phone to bed an hour before you each night, use nighttime mode, or simply turn it off to allow you to clear your mind and get to sleep quicker.
If any of this resonated with you, was helpful, or got you thinking, AWESOME.
Reach out, ask questions, and know that we are here for you and your health!