We’ve all done it. Come up with the perfect New Year’s Resolution, our way to make this year the best year yet. But then it happens. A few days, weeks, maybe even months later, and we start slipping.. Eventually we’ right back to our old habits. So what’s keeping you from keeping our resolutions?
1. Not being specific enough
Avoid vague goals such as “lose weight” or “exercise more.” You may be very committed to these goals but without a specific plan in place to help you succeed, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Keeping your goals realistic is key. Start by setting small, achievable goals like “cook dinner at home 3 nights a week” or “exercise 30 minutes 3 days per week.” When these have become habits, then it's time to add more. Step by step you'll get to your goal.
2. Looking for a quick fix
Dropping 15lbs in a month may be achievable, but your chances of keeping it off are slim to none. Detoxes and cleanses might be okay kick-starters but they are not sustainable. You may be able to drink only vegetable juices and herbal teas for a few days, but not only is this unhealthy long-term, and sabotages weight loss goals, it is not realistic. Quick fixes do not teach you how to incorporate healthy choices into our day-to-day lives, and will leave you needing to set another unreachable goal when next December 31st rolls around.
I created my 28 day real food reset to combine both of these, a kick start with some structure that teaches you nutrition & habit building that will last a lifetime. Learn more here
3. Not setting up your environment for success
The term Mindless Eating was coined by Brian Wansink and refers to the way our environment and surroundings can cause us to consume more than we realize. Some tips to avoid mindless consumption include:
- Keep dish sizes small
- Keep healthy options visible (on the counter, in the front of cupboards and fridges
- Surround ourselves with healthy, motivated, positive people
- Avoid distractions while eating (TV, driving, working)
- Keep it simple: it turns out we tend to eat more when we perceive there are more options. This includes buffets and potlucks, but also the number of different colours in a bag of M&Ms!
- Portion out your meals or snacks and put the rest away
- Have a support system or activity for when you’re stressed, sad, lonely or bored so you’re not using food to fill those needs
4. Burning the candle at both ends
Not getting enough rest will leave you looking for energy from food and stimulants like coffee or sugar. Lack of sleep is linked to both obesity and junk food cravings. Inadequate sleep also leaves you with little energy for exercise. Healthy eating, sleep, exercise and mood all influence each other, so neglecting one will have an affect on all.
5. No accountability
Did you whisper your New Year’s resolution to yourself at midnight or yell it to the world? Get others involved in your goal. Tell your friends and family, find a workout buddy, get a trainer or take a class you have to pay up front for. A Stanford University study found that simply receiving a check-in phone call every 2 weeks increased the amount participants exercised by 78%! Having a workout buddy has also shown to increase the length of workouts and how many calories you burn!
6. Trying to be perfect
Focus on progress, not perfection! Don’t let a small slip-up derail you. Remember, the strategy here is to have a sustainable, attainable goal and it’s impossible to follow a strict exercise and diet plan to the tee your entire life. Allow some wiggle room, whether it’s a “cheat day” once a week, or some leniency around the holidays. Find some flexibility and allow your goals to help you enjoy your life more, not take away from it.
7. Comparing yourself to others
Comparing your progress to anyone else is a recipe for disaster. Genetics, metabolism, schedules, stress and family commitments are just some of the things that play a role in the results we see and the speed in which we see them. Continue focusing on being the healthiest version of yourself and mark your progress based on how you feel and the goals you’ve achieved.
8. Focusing on what you’re giving up
Rather than focusing on what you’re taking away from your life (fast food, hours of couch time, a bottle of wine every night) focus on what you’re gaining (self confidence, more energy to do the activities you enjoy, clear skin). Instead of making your goals about what you’re taking out phrase your goals around what you’re adding, for example 2 servings of vegetables with dinner or movement daily, not "not fast food" or "don't lay on the couch". This will leave less room in your life for unhealthy habits without leaving you feeling deprived.
9. Not making room in your schedule
To add new things in your life, whether it be spending more time with family, doing meal prep or exercising, it’s important to schedule in time to do this. This might mean taking a show or two off the rotation or skipping happy hour a couple times a week. Look at where there’s some wiggle room in your life and find time for what’s important to you.
10. Planning to start January 1st
If you’re like me, the day after New Year’s Eve is not the ideal day to eat salads and run a 5k. Planning to start incorporating healthy changes January 1st might be achievable for some, but if that’s not you, pick a start date shortly after the holidays. It will be easier to start your resolution once you get back into the swing of your normal routine helping you avoid “slip-ups” early on.