I’m a fan of resolutions, although I understand why non-resolutionists think it’s silly to choose January 1 as their day to turn over a new leaf. I make resolutions throughout the year (and sometimes they are “re-resolutions” of ones I set before). A lot of people make resolutions to eat better, exercise more and drop those last 10 (ok, 20 … er, 30? … well, you know what I’m getting at) pounds.
Let’s look at this more in depth.
Resolution: I want to lose 20 pounds.
Great! Fantastic! But how?
Having more specific goals will increase your success rate. How are you going to lose those 20 pounds? What changes are you going to make to your nutrition? Do you know enough about balancing your nutrition to meet your activity needs? Do you need to talk to someone about this? Do you plan to exercise? If so, do you know how to use the equipment at the gym in the right way, or have the right form to ensure you don’t injure yourself?
Tough questions, and often the answers aren’t found in the days leading up to January 1 because we’re all still in the holiday daze. There are still leftover cookies, pounds of ham, chocolate-covered everything and more. We don’t want them to go to waste, right? Unfortunately, not throwing them away makes these goodies go to … the waist.
Unless you’re hard core and can take the bull by the horns, you may need to take it in steps to achieve success. Putting too much on yourself from the get-go just adds to the stress, and stress has the opposite effect on getting healthy.
Remember: You do not have to be perfect. Say that to yourself again. “I do not have to be perfect.” (Seven words, I know, just bear with me.) Do the best you can, as long as you’re progressing. I didn’t need to get straight As to get through college. (Darn you, Western Civilization class.) But I learned. I progressed. I improved myself and my knowledge enough to earn the degree. That doesn’t mean I didn’t strive for better grades, or got upset when I didn’t get the grades. Lots of people want perfection.
That said, I want to share with you six words that a friend told me when I had a moment of weakness after getting off track on a goal:
Liberating, huh? Say you find yourself doing well with your healthy eating plan, then on January 15 you cave and grab a hot fudge sundae. Don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s OK to start over again. Next time around, be specific … but also be forgiving. If you take enough steps forward, the occasional back step won’t carry huge consequences. In fact, from a mental standpoint, we need those breaks so we don’t chuck our plans altogether.
Whatever your goals are in improving your health, you can do it