It is the 21st day of the new year and though it may seem soon, this is the week where new year’s fitness resolutions start to fall off. Despite best intentions, lots of anticipation and motivation in the beginning and even a game plan, sometimes they just don’t stick. But that is ok. Why? Because it is simply a learning process.
Whatever resolution you had in mind, did not stick for reason and usually with fitness resolutions people try to do too much, too soon. The beauty is, you learned what did not work and you can now adjust your resolution to make it work for you. I always recommend starting with habits that are so small, there is no way you can not succeed.
Habits are created with hope, but also hard work and action. Hope is what keeps us going and taking action is what builds our confidence and actually gets us to our goal. Small action day in, day out with a bit of optimistic pessimism.
One of my very first personal training clients,has always had a mindset about training that has kept her consistently attending classes for 8 years. What is her secret? Don’t get too excited. She would always tell me to watch the clients who came in sooo excited only to taper off a few months later. And while that method might not work for everyone I get that she was keeping her expectations realistic, taking action and just being consistent.
When deciding to change we often fantasize how life will be different when we change, how life will be better. It fills us with hope and makes us feel good in the moment creating a sense of instant gratification that initially motivates us. It is kind of sweet that we believe in our future self so much that we think we will workout 5 times a week, even when we don’t now. We think we won’t have dessert at all even if we eat it every night. Whatever we tempted with now, we feel someday we will be able to give it up simply because we want to.
When we realize we have to practice all kinds of self control to get to that point, it is not nearly as fun or motivating. Instead of implementing a consistent habit to make a change, we would rather start, stop, start over, again, again and again, because that is much more fun and interesting.
So why not look into the future and predict how and and when you may break your resolution. If you know you struggle at breakfast, make prepping that a priority. If you know you struggle getting your workouts in, find the time and day you are most likely to be motivated to do it. Ask yourself what excuses you will try to make and how you will convince yourself that the change is important to you?
I am all about optimism and positivity but if we can’t meet these expectations we set for ourselves, we are often left with feelings of guilt and self doubt. And that is usually when people drop their resolutions altogether, until they are motivated by the promise of change once more and the cycle begins again.Change is more than just about feelings, it is about activity changing our behaviors and habits.