Make Your Resolution Stick By Not Doing Too Much (Strategic Change vs. Complete Overhaul!)
Happy New Year! With probably at least a mild hangover and a dash of guilt (or more) from too many Holiday cookies and cocktails we swear every January 1 to stop drinking, stay away from sugar, eschew any carb that comes in our line of sight, workout every morning (and some days pull double workouts because I’m just that committed this time), drink lots of water, get great sleep, take our supplements, switch to green tea from coffee, call our mothers…… It seems like one resolution: to be a better, more fit person….but that above is almost ten new things you need to now do! Before you attempt to wake up in January a completely new person, consider this: have you made room in your life for all of these new time consuming things? Is your life ready for you to be different? If it’s not, you will eventually slip back into old habits as soon as stress shows up. Without a lick of planning or strategy, you may pull off that grand plan above for a week, maybe even a month. But as soon as you get stressed, confused, overwhelmed your brain will short circuit a bit and in this kabobbled state you’ll revert back to what you’ve always done. The key is to change just one thing at a time to avoid overwhelming your brain, where all those old, bad habits are stored. (Those same habits that got us here in the first place.) And have a well thought out plan to execute the new habits that includes strategy for days that just don’t go our way. During a crisis we will always rely on what we know: a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day, skipping workouts after hitting snooze 4 times because we stayed up too late watching TV, going for that sugary treat at 3pm because we didn’t pack a better snack, and on and on we slide down the slippery slope. Your lofty goal to overhaul your life in 2013, to embrace more fitness, health and strength is admirable – it’s downright awesome actually! (Psst: I’ve got the same one.) So let’s avoid making this new lifestyle a stressor or a crisis by having a little strategy. Make a list of exactly what it will take you to get there (hint: it probably includes all of the things I listed above) and tackle them one by one. It does not take 30 days or whatever you’ve been told to change a habit. Just get started. Some will come easier than others. If a great new coffee shop opens up just outside your office, it isn’t difficult to make it a habit to stop there instead of the one you like less and is two blocks away. That habit was easy to develop, just like having a glass of wine every day after work. Some of them come too easy! But know this: just because you take them one at a time doesn’t mean it will take you 10 months to master everything on your list. Some will take a day, others may take weeks. When you’ve mastered one, move on to the next one. Another hint: tackle the one you hate to do second, not first and not last. If you do it first and struggle right out of the gate, you are more apt to throw in the towel. If you save it, it will be lurking in your subconscious and taking up psychic energy because you know its coming and you’re dreading it. So knock it off up front, but perhaps not on day one. Get a bit of success under your belt, then get one of the biggies out of the way. This will build your resolve and confidence that you can do it in 2013! I know some of you are already itching to say, “But Dr Brooke, I don’t want slow gradual changes! I’m ready now!” I know, I feel that way too. But knocking these off one by one is simply better planning, not delaying all gratification. While you might not have your bikini body in 30 days – in 30 days you could have one or more new healthy habits that will not only get you the body but will help you keep it. Learning steadily some new habits will not only get you success, but will get weaved into who you are. You won’t be another lost it only to gain it back again tragic tale, you won’t be making this same resolution in 2014 and you won’t be overwhelmed and throw in the towel when the Valentine’s Day chocolates abound. Master one healthy habit at a time, no more, no less. Take the next step. Keep being better. Before you know it you will BE different. If we simply go for a fast, a juice only detox, a rapid weight loss plan we may lose a bit but we will still be the same person with the same bad habits. To have real success you need to be different -and let’s face it, that’s hard! But it’s not impossible. Consistent, steady successes over and over and pretty soon you’ll be someone who just works out every morning religiously, who doesn’t’ think twice about passing up the 3pm cookie, who just IS a fit, healthy person. You may have your hot new plan in hand, but remember information is not transformation. The plan is useless if you don’t do it. Transforming takes a bit of planning, a lot of inspiration and a load of patience. You’ll get there, and if you actually transform and make real change, you’ll stay there. Here are a few tips for thriving when those stressful times arise: *You have to have a plan. The more a fit lifestyle is new to you the more planning you need. Try putting all of your vitamins in baggies so that each meal is accounted for without having to open each bottle. Keep some in your purse or glove box so you don’t have to remember them every day. *Schedule your workouts like you would any appointment. This day, this time, etc. is when I will be working out. It may change, you just have to reschedule it. *Schedule in cooking time for your fat loss supportive meals. I find most people do way better with a Saturday or Sunday ritual of grocery shopping, prepping a few things (i.e. bake several chicken breasts, cut up loads of veggies, make a meatloaf, etc. ) vs. having to cook several times each day. It saves loads of time during the week and you have less excuse to order in or get off track. *Have some strategy for the worst case scenarios. Your day falls apart and you simply cannot get to the gym so you need a quick, at home, no equipment workout. You could run the stairs in your building or do some jump rope intervals in your garage (i.e. 60 seconds jumping, 30 seconds rest). You could do a set of body weight exercises at home. Try 12-15 reps of each: squats or squat jumps, push-ups, walking lunges, and full sit ups. Do this circuit 4-5 times. *Have at least one restaurant that you can get take out or delivery from that fits your new fat loss lifestyle. Have them programmed in your phone. There will be times when the fridge is empty despite your best efforts and planning, this can help you avoid ordering pizza or Chinese! Need more quick, fat loss supportive meals and other healthy stuff be sure to keep up with me on Facebook. Questions, comments, stuff to share? Stuff you want more of from me? Post it here! Be Better in 2013!!