Happy New Year's first off! I know we had a crazy ride in 2020 but we made it to 2021 and for that you should all give yourself a victory dance ASAP. So it's the Sunday before many have to return to work or return to the job hunt. It is our final day of the Holidays and you might be experiencing "Sunday doom" or, maybe, you are just so excited to jump back into things tomorrow. Either way both feelings are very valid. It's January 3rd. A few days after January 1 when many sit down to set their goals, write their intentions, and let the universe know they are coming in hot with some lifestyle changes or goals they set for themselves for 2021. But too often our goals are not met and we have instant burnout by the end of January. We as humans do not do well with drastic changes and are major creatures of habit. So how do we go from doing the same thing for the last 11 months, then getting overly excited January 1st to change it all, yet NOT letting our goals disappear completely in 3 weeks? I'm here to give you the tips to make whatever goal is floating in the back of your head sustainable, whether it's fitness, balance, career, family, or relationship related. We are going to look at my 4 step process: the "WHY", the "HOW", your "PASSION", & the "CHECK YOSELF" stage in order to get there.
1. THE "WHY"
Ask yourself "Why am I setting this goal for myself?". Goals typically fall into the "I want to be healthier", "I want a raise", "I want a job", "I want to be more creative", etc. As a fitness trainer and dancer, the most common one I've heard throughout the years is "I want to lose weight". So let's start with your why if this resonates with you. Otherwise, apply the same methods to whatever goals you currently set for the year. Why do you want to lose weight? Is it because your doctor told you you needed to? Have you been feeling unwell? Have your hormones changed? Do you just want to physically look a certain way you used to look like? Do you want to look a certain way you never looked like? Did someone tell you you should lose weight to be more attractive? Is this a temporary goal or a life serving goal? Write down your "why" and see if it's something that serves you. Too often I hear of Women wanting to lose weight because someone else told them to for aesthetic purposes only. If you like the way you look, stop there and ditch that goal. Make sure your goals are 100% something you desire for yourself and not because of external influence. If this goal is creating a harmful relationship with the way you view your body, the foundation will crumble and you will never be motivated to do it for you. Maybe it's a mixture of internal and external influence, which is okay because that means it's something you want too. Before moving on to step 2, find some positivity and good reasoning WHY you want this goal. Write down your WHY now.
2. THE "HOW"
Okay now you know your "WHY". Congratulations! That's one of the biggest steps of achieving your goal and making it last past January. Understanding the intention and assessing whether it serves you.
So how do you get there? Let's look at the weight loss example for this one. If you didn't work out more than 2 times during lockdown, what will change right now for you other than the date on the calendar? This is an important one. Remembering that most of us are creatures of habit, doing little changes is actually WAY more effective than a drastic lifestyle change. Have you ever noticed why so many hopping on every diet and fitness trend of the latest are never satisfied? It's because we are creatures of habit. To do anything "cold turkey", whether it's detoxing, working out everyday, or starting a new diet, that is a 180 spin from what you're doing before, not only shocks your body, but your mind too. You are now trying to do things in a foreign territory. This can be psychologically overwhelming and lends itself to a less successful outcome. So start small. YES, that's the BIGGEST tip for the "HOW". Start with small changes so that your day to day isn't that drastically different from what it was. This way you don't have to "make time" for workouts or meal prepping because it's only a little added effort each week. If you have not been working out AT ALL, start with 1-2 workouts a week. And TAKE IT EASY. There is this mentality that if you're not doing everything with the instructor that you are failing. That is untrue. The instructors can not stop teaching because they are on zoom and there is no one else to follow if they stop moving. Please remember that at all times. It is okay to pace yourself and take breaks. Even if you only did 50% of the workout, compare that 50% to 0% and be proud of yourself no matter what. So when you want to give up on the last series of donkey kicks, know that it is okay to listen to your body. Take that break. Jump back in when you're ready. You will notice this mentality allows your body to recover quicker and grow stronger faster, each class that you take. This same thing goes for diet trends. Intermittent fasting, paleo, keto, and whole 30 seem to be the latest trends. If you have been eating fast food the last 10 years and now you jump into one of these trends, CRAZY things will happen to your body that you may not be ready for. We forget how substances and chemicals we eat affect our brain, so I don't recommend any drastic 180 changes. Baby step method works for this too. Start easy. Cut out soda and instead of fast food 7 days a week maybe we can change it to 3 days a week. Your mind and body will thank you for pacing yourself, even if that means your results are not arriving as quickly as you initially wanted. Again. Create realistic, sustainable habits. Write all this down. Make a plan for your "how" and make sure it goes all the way until December. It took me 3 years to be 99.9% vegan and I'm still not quite there. I know if I had gone from a diehard meat and cheese obsessed Texan to a full Vegan in one day, that I would have lasted maybe a month before giving up. We want to eliminate "phases" and create "lifestyle habits".
3. FIND YOUR "PASSION"
No matter what, if you do not want to do the goals you have set for yourself, you will have a harder time achieving them. Try to develop a positive relationship with your journey to achieve the goals. If you are on a diet, don't pick gross foods that taste bad to get you there. Find the recipes that still smell good, taste good, and feel good in your body. If you are career hunting, don't make the process miserable. Light your favorite inspo candles, put on your calming or creative playlist, and only work at the times of days you feel most productive. If you're a night person don't work in the AM just because you feel you should.
This goes for fitness too. If weight lifting bores the crap out of you, don't let that be the workout you first jump in to. Find the ones you connect with and do those. Don't worry about which ones you "think" will help you get the fittest the fastest. Trust me when I say you will burn more calories doing the ones you love. Plus you will be inspired to go back for more. Change your process of goal achieving from being a burden to being fun.
4. THE "CHECK YO SELF"
The final phase is checking in with yourself at the end of every month. How do I feel? How do these little changes make me feel? Do I feel better? Do I feel stronger? Do I feel happier? Etc. These 3 easy steps don't need to be just for fitness related goals - they can work for everything. I often say to myself "I want to be more creative". My why is because it makes me feel happy, balanced, and healed. But I've often taken the wrong approach and forced myself to do "creative" activities when I was feeling uninspired, which caused me to push away from wanting to do them at all. If your goals aren't coming from a genuine or even self aware place, they will burn out quicker. Maybe you're thinking.. "But I'm actually an extremist.. I thrive with drastic changes though!" It very well could be true. But I ask you to self reflect on how you feel throughout the process. Did it feel torturous during your changes or was it a healthy and loveable ride? Did you last? Are you still practicing these changes you applied or did they disappear over time?
RECAP: I love using the "weight loss" example for this because it's just SO common during New Year's goal time. Clients want to lose weight or gain muscle and do a complete START OVER during the first week of January. By February, memberships have been cancelled and they start doing drop in classes. By March they take the month off because they're injured from overhaul in January. April they return with limitations. Summer rolls around and we don't see them back until September.