Remember those resolutions? Well, it wasn't that long ago that you decided to eat better, get in shape, or make healthier choices. Now, over 2 months later, those resolutions have been pushed to the bottom of the list. There's always next year!
Maybe those resolutions weren't really important to you (that's OK)- or maybe you did not even make any resolutions (even better!). But if something is important to you, you need to act. Strong relationships, healthy bodies, and fulfilling lives don't just happen. These things take work.
Life is short, and most of us want to improve ourselves and our lives in some way. Maybe you want to travel more, improve your health, or spend more time with friends. Whatever your goals, sitting and thinking about them won't get you any closer to achieving them.
If you have a goal you really want to achieve, you need to take ACTION.
A - Acknowledge - acknowledge the barriers and difficulties that might arise. Seldom do the important things you want come easy. Relationships take work, saving money means changing your spending habits, and living a healthier way of life requires persistence and determination. Most of us can do these things for a short time, but true change and healthy habits take some time. What is preventing you from spending time on the things you want the most? Acknowledge those things and slowly chip away at them.
Many people I work with have little trouble making healthy food choices when they are alone; but their day at work or an outing with friends throws all of their hard work out the window. Pastries in the break room and candy at their co-workers' desks are too much and too difficult to resist. Acknowledging and accepting that these challenges are going to be there allows my clients to think about their reactions and to create a plan to avoid and defeat these challenges.
For instance, dinner with friends does not have to mean high-calorie, high-fat foods. Review the menu online (if available) and look for some healthier choices. Don't get stuck in that "what are you having?" mentality. You know - you can't decide what you want, so you ask everyone else and then choose the same thing. Your goals are not the same as everyone else's. Decide before you go what you will order and stick with it. Portions are often huge in many restaurants; share a meal or take leftovers home for another meal.
C - Create a healthy habit - losing weight, improving your blood pressure, getting in shape or boosting your savings account all take some work. The amount of work can seem overwhelming. By breaking down your goal into manageable steps and working one by one on creating a healthy habit, you will find things get easier and will actually make some progress toward your goal.
Think of some of the habits you do each day - coffee first thing in the morning and brushing your teeth are two actions you might follow every day with little thought. They don't take up a lot of your time or energy, because you just do them out of habit. Choose one positive action that will help you reach your goal and work on it until you no longer have to think about it. Drink a glass of water before each meal or take a walk at lunch time are two good examples if improving your health is your goal.
T - Time - Nearly everyone tells me they don't have enough time. In reality, almost everyone has SOME time. Use it wisely. If your goal is important to you, you will find time. Meal prepping is a prime example. When I tell people that I spend 60-90 minutes on a Sunday morning prepping food for the week, the reaction I get most often is "I don't have that much time". Truly, most of the people who tell me that do have the time. It's all about choices. Those who "don't have the time" will spend hours on social media or binge watching a favorite show. Yet somehow they find the time to hit the drive-thru, sit at a restaurant, or make a last minute stop at the store on their way home from work.
Determine how much time you are willing to commit to your goal. Remember, 10 minutes is better than no minutes. If an hour of meal prep seems like too much, start with 15 minutes. In that time you might be able to make a couple low-calorie salad dressings or marinate some meat for the week. In 15 minutes you could definitely prepare some overnight oats and yogurt parfaits to start your day. Choose what is important to you and make the time to make it happen.
I - Individualize - it's YOUR goal, no one else's. Your friends, kids, spouse and co-workers might support you or they may not. Certainly things are a little easier when you have support, but everyone has their own life, issues, challenges, etc. If your spouse does not want to go for a walk, go on your own. If your friends decide they want to go out for pizza and beer, order a glass of wine and a big salad. Don't expect those around you to have the same goal as you - they won't.
O - Ownership - again, it's your goal. If you want it bad enough, you need to take ownership of it. Want to lose weight? Don't use your spouse, your friends or your lack of cooking skills as excuses why you cannot succeed. Don't blame your genes, your thyroid or your busy work and family life for your inability to lose weight. Sure, there may be some real issues that may slow your progress but that does not mean you cannot succeed. Most often those challenges can be overcome with some thoughtfulness and creativity. Persistence is key!
If you are too busy to get to the gym, do a few short workouts at home and throughout the day. Start with a 10 minute workout in the morning. Walk up and down the stairs at work a few times. Go for a 15 minute walk after dinner. Thirty minutes of exercise - DONE!
It's up to you to get what you want. Own it and go get it!
N - No - Say no to anything that does not serve you in pursuit of your goal. Obviously, if you are trying to lose weight, saying no to the cupcakes in the break room is a good start. However, some things might not be so apparent. Most often you will find you have to say no to those things that that are sapping your energy and demanding your time but aren't really moving you toward your goal.
Do you need to check your email every time you get an alert, or can you say no and use those few extra minutes to drink some water? Do you need to spend your time worrying about something you cannot control, or can you use that energy to think positively and imagine how you will feel when you achieve your goal? Do you need to drink that diet coke mid-afternoon or would a cup of green tea give you the boost (and antioxidants) you need to power through the day? Saying no to those things that are not leading you in the right direction is empowering - give it a try!
What is truly important to you? Being healthy? Traveling more often? Spending more time with friends and family? Furthering your education? Saving more money?
Whatever it is, spring into ACTION and go get it!
Thanks so much for reading! I hope I have inspired you to take action to reach your goals.
Please feel free to reach out to me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find me on social media @cinergydynamics
"For the Health of It!"