When it comes to diet and exercise, most people use the New Year with the best intentions to start new habits, finally losing those extra 10 pounds, starting eating a healthier diet, join a gym, stop eating sugar, etc. However, how many of us really stick to those resolutions and feel accomplished at the end of the year?.
A New Year is a good time to reset and start new goals, or continue with past goals. Most of us have a break from work during the holidays, and enjoy a more quiet time with family, and friends. Our minds might be clearer during this time, and that sets a good stage for setting new goals, and new intentions.
I think New Year resolutions for weight loss can be a very good practice, and can also be a very destructive practice depending on our approach. Especially for people with a history of dieting, restrictions, lack of self-acceptance, etc, like it was my case a few years ago.
A positive approach to New Year’s resolutions would be; evaluating, and recognizing the positive things we accomplished the previous year regarding our health, nutrition, diet, wellbeing, etc. Based on those accomplishments, we can set new intentions, and goals; but remembering to stay flexible, because we are in constant change physically, mentally, emotionally.
If we keep strict goals we might be setting ourselves up for failure, disappointment, restriction, grief, resentment, guilt, etc. Let’s accept that we are not in control of everything that happens in our life.
Personally I think that one year is a very long span, when we think we have a whole year to accomplish something it is easier to postpone goals, and even to forget them. A better practice is to break down our big goals into small, and short term mini-goals to keep us inspired, focused, and creating momentum. Remember to always allow room for adjustment. I like to go by every week, or even setting daily goals, that will lead me to my big goal in the end.
For example, instead of saying: “I will work out 5 times a week for one hour everyday”, or “I will lose 20 pounds this year” we can change it to something more attainable, and compassionate like: “This week I will make my best effort to listen to my body, and exercise when I genuinely have energy, and my body feels up for it”, “ Today, I will make my best effort to listen to my body (not my mind) every time I eat, and chose the foods that make my body feel good”. Instead of saying “I will cut out sugar from my diet completely”, say “Today I will make my best effort to be mindful of my food choices, and choose fruits when I crave sugar”.
Repeating this phrases and setting them as an intention at the beginning of a day, or when beginning to eat is a great practice, it programs your mind and body in a positive way.
When we focus on “making our best effort” we are holding ourselves accountable. Making our best effort is always within our reach, because no matter your current weight, physical, or emotional condition, you can always make your best effort with the resources that you have.
Understand that making your best effort looks different on a daily basis. One day you might wake up with tons of energy and your best effort is going for a 1 hour walk, while the next day you might be running on an empty tank and your best effort is a 10 minute walk with your dog. Either way you can feel great because you did your best.
On the other hand, “losing 20 pounds” “building a six pack abs” are very big goals, and not always within our reach, because there are so many variables involved, and some of them might take a very long time to fine tune, depending on our level of health. So, on a daily basis, focusing on “losing 20 pounds”, will take us away from the present moment, it might leave us feeling pressured, frustrated, fearful, guilty, an unaccomplished.
In my experience setting the goal of losing however many pounds I wanted to lose, failed every time. I later understood that I had to focus on feeling happy and healthy every day, I had to heal my body from within, so that my body felt safe enough to let go of the weight and extra fat.
This doesn’t mean we can’t have the intention of losing “weight”, or body fat, it just means that not making it our main focus might result in a better approach with successful results.
Making your best effort is something you can feel good about every day!
How are you going to craft your New Years Resolution to succeed at weight loss this year?