Here we are with January coming to a close and statistically speaking about 25% of you who made New Year’s resolutions didn’t even make it the first week.
Oops! Do you fall into that 25% or are you still going strong? Isn’t it funny how nothing physically changes between Dec 31st and January 1st but all the sudden hopes and dreams are rekindled. Overnight we have a desire to respect our bodies more, follow through on commitments and become our best selves, yet very few (19%) find themselves victorious come year end. I have some ideas why I think this happens, and some simple action steps to help you find success.
Why Our Goals Are Frustrating
Looking back at my previous resolutions (most failed) the most frustrating part was that they were all obtainable, I just couldn’t get myself to follow through. I lacked the self-disciple and desire to accomplish the things I wanted to do. How crazy is that?! I wanted these things, I dreamed of my fingers flying across those ivory keys and my skinny jeans sliding on with ease…these were my dreams, so what was the problem? There was no one to disappoint except myself, and most of these were fun things that I was confident were going to add joy, fun and spice to my life.
Purging my house of junk was going to feel good and make my days less chaotic. Learning to play the piano was going to be therapeutic. Working out was going to give me energy and make getting ready a more peaceful experience. Reading all the books was supposed to make me more well-rounded. As I reflected over my plans and wondered why they weren’t shaping into my desired outcome, I realized: I was the common denominator. I was the one stopping all my best laid plans. Why would someone do this to themselves you ask? Because my “why” wasn’t strong enough.
Life is typically frantic, fast paced, and overfilled with mundane and menial tasks that overpower our desire for more productive, meaningful activities because we haven’t figured out our “why.” For example, when I realized I wanted to play the piano, I found free online classes and a keyboard to borrow. I put the piano next to my desk and starred at it every day for about 6 months until my friend asked for it back. I literally played it one time for 10 minutes after feeling satisfied with myself that I learned Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. I never invested the time to cultivate the habit of playing every day because I didn’t have a strong reason to choose learning the piano over browsing social media and Netflix.
This year I decided to invest in reading a book about personal growth every month and so far I have stuck with it. Every night when I am tired and just want to check out, I pick up my book and read because I’ve learned that “leaders are readers.” Reading not only helps me to cultivate new skills but inspires me to grow as a person. Growing as a person benefits my marriage, my kids and my business. So finding how my “why” fit into all of those areas has greatly increased my success rate. That success also helps to build discipline to follow through on other commitments.
Be Your Biggest Champion
“If you don’t hit your goals this year, it’s probably not because you didn’t have the skills, but because you procrastinated.”
Ouch, that one hurt. But isn’t it true? Procrastination is a lack of self-discipline, the act of delaying. Most of the things I have put on my resolution list required some amount of work, and didn’t have overnight results (lose 5 pounds, do the splits, read my bible every day, spend more time with my family, volunteer). That’s why having a “why” is important; it will be the motivator when you have to choose to workout after a long day instead of watch This Is Us.
I have spent a majority of my life trying to fit into other people’s expectations. I worked so hard to be who they wanted me to be yet I have never worked as hard to be proud of myself, to be disciplined enough to keep the commitments I set for me. Bottom line: we have to have a Take the Stairs mentality. All those things we want out of life like being in better shape, eating well, a deeper relationship with Christ, and memorizing scripture all require effort. We have to come to terms with that on our own level. Rory Vaden described it this way:
“When you are at home on the couch and thinking about going to the gym, what’s the hard part? Physically getting up off the couch or deciding that you are going to go to the gym? Deciding!”
Once we know why something is important to us, then we can come to accept the amount of work it will take and get busy.
Healthy Living Baby Steps
The focus of this series is about Living Whole: taking steps towards the best you while specifically focusing on health and wellness. Last time we went over what it means to revamp your pantry, tips for making it work and why eating more whole foods is vital to your health. This time, now that we are inspired to stick with our goals, I want to talk about the Core 4: Getting more sleep, staying hydrated, moving your body, and eating better. These four things, when practiced can mean the difference between surviving and thriving but they will take some discipline. Here is what has helped me:
This is a hot topic for us parents of little ones. We can try so hard to get to bed on time to only be met with multiple requests for water, someone wet the bed and then just as you lay your head down, somehow the baby reads your mind that you are going to sleep, and wakes up. That’s why I have found that I have to be diligent about the things that I can control.
– Get on a schedule that gives you somewhere between 7-8 of sleep at night
– Block blue light on electronic devices in the evening
– Eat an early dinner. This helps your body settle down and repair itself while you sleep instead of focusing on digesting food.
– Diffuse lavender oil or rub mandarin oil on the bottom of your feet to relax
Did you know the majority of headaches, constipation, hunger and/or fatigue could actually be from dehydration? Your body requires a significant amount of water every day. A good rule of thumb is to take your weight, divide it in half and then drink that much water in ounces (i.e., 120 pounds divided by 2 equals 60 ounces of water a day). This has helped me:
– Limit drinking soda, juice, coffee, tea etc. I know, I just wrote that out loud. A great way to build up to this is to swap out 1 glass of soda for a glass of water a day and build up over time until you meet the daily need.
– I carry a water bottle with me everywhere!! This helps me to track my progress plus if I keep water close I am more likely to drink it.
If you have a hard time tracking how many water bottles you have finished off a day, start with rubber bands around your bottle and every time you finish drinking 1, take a band off and keep going until you have no bands left. This Hydr-8 Water Bottle is also a great tool.
Confession: I’m sort of not a fan. It just has a bad stigma in my mind of lots of sweating, being bored and always struggling to make the time for it. So this year I decided to make a mind-shift and instead of saying “exercise” I tell myself “movement.” I focus on moving my body more than working out, and guess what? I have been moving more and I actually have been exercising pretty consistently. So this mind shift was huge for me.
– Try using an online subscription service such as Beachbody or Daily Burn. These services allow you to try out lots of different workouts and styles. Sometimes you need to work off that anxiety through an intense sweat session and sometimes stretching is all you’ve got that day.
Remember to love yourself where you are. We are all learning to love ourselves and also better ourselves. If you aren’t thrilled about your activity level or your body, take small baby steps that you can accomplish and build from there.
4. Eating Well
A new trend I am loving are all the food subscription services. Most of us feel we don’t have the time, nor do we want to make the time to eat as healthy as we want. Here is a list of some great snack/meal services to streamline healthy eating:
Hungryroot – a whole food snack service with great variety and everything takes under 7 minutes to make!
Hello Fresh – choose from 10 different recipes weekly and all the ingredients are mailed to you.
Prepdish – subscribe to this service and you will get recipes for 4 meals, a dessert, a snack and a salad every week. It also comes with a printed grocery list and lays out your week of cooking so you can prep on one day and then just reheat on those busy work nights.
Juice Plus – this has helped us bridge the gap between the fresh produce we are eating every day, and what we should be eating every day. Each of us gets 30 different fruits, vegetable and berries every day and I said bye bye to mommy guilt.
Now go with grace my friend with your “why” in your heart and get busy keeping your promises to yourself.