I had to do it.
Every health, nutrition and fitness professional this time of year starts dusting off their New Year’s resolution guidelines like yearly clockwork. It’s compulsory; people just can’t help themselves.
Today that is me. I am people.
It’s been a tumultuous year full of uncertainty and, let’s face it, just hell. So I know I’m not alone in wanting a fresh start in 2021. Thus, I expect the desire to make a resolution this weekend is gonna be way strong.
No matter what your New Year’s resolution may be this year, I have four simple tips to offer to make sure they actually stick this time in 2021.
1.) Clear and REALISTIC goals that set you up for success.
If you’ve heard this one before, I’m so sorry. But it’s seriously THAT important. This could be the difference between reaching the finish line and never starting the journey to your goal in the first place.
So, if your goal is to lose the 20 extra pounds you gained during quarantine before spring break in March...with no gyms open...and boredom snacking levels through the roof...while still working from your couch.
Probably not gonna happen. And you’ll just end up hating yourself for failing and wondering why you set a stupid resolution in the first place.
Set goals (and timelines!) that are realistic for you and your lifestyle while considering all of the resources you can realistically utilize, especially at this time.
Setting yourself up for failure is the #1 biggest mistake I see made when declaring resolutions for the new year. Don’t do it to yourself.
2.) Find the right motivation.
Okay, so finding motivation in general is obviously key when meeting a goal at any time of year. However, I urge you to find a motivation that means something important to you.
I’ll give you a personal example. One new year, I told myself I wanted to fit into the size 2 jeans we sold at the place I worked at the time: Hollister. Yeah yeah I know, heavy eye roll, right?
Basically, I just wanted a smaller waist and tighter tummy...my motivation was purely aesthetic.
Well, good and bad news. I reached my goal, but my boyfriend at the time literally asked me if I was on drugs because I made myself SO sick and skinny on my “journey.”
Years later, I made it a resolution to ditch the way I looked and to focus on how I felt. So, I told myself I would finish a 90-day lifting program and get stronger. Not only did I finish it feeling an immense sense of pride, but I literally never felt better in my entire life.
I was deadlift enough to rival the guys in my gym and just felt such a sense of empowerment being able to throw weights around that I would have shuddered at years prior.
The point is, if your motivation is superficial, you may still find yourself feeling unfulfilled even if you finish what you set out to do. More importantly, though, you’re more likely to fall off the wagon if, when the going gets tough you decide “well, maybe being bikini-ready by March isn’t that important after all.”
Don’t let me talk you out of aesthetic goals, by the way. Those can also be just as important to you and just as attainable; everyone has their own personal needs!
All I’m saying is if you’re more motivated by the goal of getting your blood pressure under control through weight loss than you would be of setting the goal of getting a beach body through weight loss, I’d highly recommend you frame your resolution to look more like the former.
3.) Don’t be so hard on yourself.
I need to take this advice myself.
Picture this. You set out to become a vegetarian or vegan this 2021 and by February you’ve caved and ordered the burger when out with some friends one day.
Then next thing you know you’ve got Spongebob’s “soiled it!‘ on a loop in your head, proclaiming yourself a failure at life itself and back to eating meats abound like nothing happened.
Try again next year, I guess?
No, dude. A slip up or two is not the end of the world, nor is it a testament to your worth or motivation. No one expects you to be perfect, so you shouldn’t expect that from yourself. If you get off track on the way to your resolution, own it and keep going.
Two steps forward and one step back still gets you farther than if you never started walking.
4.) Celebrate the small things.
Excuse me if I piggyback off of the previous point a bit, but it’s super important that you congratulate yourself every once in a while.
Has your goal to make your daily soda habit more of an occasional thing? Sweet. If you went even one day without having soda, celebrate that! Acknowledge it and take a moment to even tell yourself out loud “I did it.”
Allowing yourself to feel like you’re on track to accomplishing whatever it is you set out to do is going to make you more likely to, you know, keep on doing it.
And I just feel in general we don’t allow ourselves to appreciate our progress. We accomplish something, barely revel in it for a few seconds and say “okay, that wasn’t enough -- now what’s next?”
Slow down. Congratulate yourself. The rest will come in due time.
The bottom line? The dictionary definition of “goal” reads: “the object of a person's ambition or effort.” Effort is the key word here because putting it forth isn’t easy, and getting the motivation to do so, ESPECIALLY in 2020, can be particularly hard. Hopefully, though, these tips as you move along will help you to come out on top.
Happy new year, everyone. Thanks so much for reading these past few months!