So your 2019 goal to kick the bad eating habits and exercise more than once a month hasn't gone exactly to plan? Well guess what?... you're not alone. According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, just 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals, while around 80 percent fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions altogether!
Finding an eating and exercise plan that's sustainable for you can take years and it's a little more complicated than you might think. In saying that, there are easy steps you can take to get the ball rolling without giving you a complete feeling of overwhelm. First of all, you need to stop beating yourself up. There's a reason it hasn't worked out for you thus far and not all hope is lost. Step one: forgive yourself and move forward.
As human beings, we resist change so it's important to assess what we have tried in the past and why it hasn't worked. Many of us are "all or nothing" when it comes to health and fitness which isn't always the best strategy (shock horror!) We are creatures of habit and no matter how strong willed or emotionally stable we are, old habits die hard. Step two: self assess and learn from the past.
Once you assess what you've done before and why it hasn't worked out then it's time to strip it back and make smaller, more manageable changes. You could start by making some small changes to your diet even if it's just altering one meal a day. Once you feel comfortable with your new eating plan, change it up a bit more or add a couple of walks to your weekly routine. Step three: don't try and change allllll the things.
Another rookie error is to force yourself to do something you hate. Whether it's with diet or exercise, if it eats away a piece of your soul every day then it's not for you. Hate bike riding? Don't sign up to a Soul Cycle gym. Hate green vegetables? Don't buy broccolini because it's on sale and because Women's Health Magazine told you to. Find something you like or that doesn't make you want to curl up in a ball and hide and you're a zillion times more likely to stick with it. Step four: don't force yourself to do things you hate.
Now It's time to change the goal post and stop aiming to be the next Michelle Bridges. Every win is a win, no matter how small and starting with achievable goals is a great way to stay motivated. Success is the best motivation after all. Once you succeed in the smaller goals, you can step it up to challenge yourself but don't go too hard too soon or you'll feel overwhelmed and be more likely to throw the towel in. Step five: change the goal post.
The most important thing is not to give up!! You may not be where you want to be right now but it doesn't mean you won't get there. It took me a long time, even after I became a personal trainer, to find an eating and exercise plan that's sustainable (and not soul destroying) for me. I'm not perfect but after years of "failing," I finally found what I needed to change in order to maintain a steady routine and I've managed to stick with it for quite a few years (with the occasional wine and chocolate binge of course) Step six: never give up.
I bet most of you are sitting there, like me and thinking, 'how the hell is it almost April?' So if you don't have your s%$t together yet, there's more than likely someone close to you who feels exactly the same way! Find a support person, get a personal trainer, adopt a dog you can walk every day; just get started in one way or another and don't be too hard on yourself. Start with small, manageable steps that are sustainable for you even if it means exercising once a week to begin with. January 1st is just a day and it doesn't matter how many January 1st's you need because every time you climb back on the wagon, you get a little bit better at staying on.
Here's to a happy and healthy you in 2019, no matter how long it takes.