Okay, so this post isn’t for everyone. This one is for the yo-yo dieters and the “I can’t stick to my workout” crew. For many people, setting schedules, making plans, and sticking to routines is near impossible.
We might know exactly what we need to do, exactly how we should eat, or which workouts benefit our bodies. Even if we have all the right information, we still stray from the path to success. Why?
Well, we often forget something we’re commonly told: Everyone functions differently. Just because an approach works for Person A doesn’t mean it’ll work for Person B. So why take–on your health and fitness plan any differently?
If you’re setting up your New Year’s Resolutions and, in the back of your mind, you’re already anticipating the struggle, this one’s for you.
Don’t Set a New Goal, Set a New Approach
When we struggle to achieve a goal, it’s rarely the goal that’s the problem (unless it’s unrealistic or unattainable). So, instead of setting a different goal let’s focus on setting a different approach.
This is how to do it:
Zero–In on Your Motivators
1. Take some time to think about what your reasons are for wanting to make some change. However you do it, make sure it’s memorable. Make a list and keep it accessible, think about them to yourself, say them aloud, tell them to someone, or find some other way to make them easy to remember.
2. Choose more than one! This is so important to do. If one of your motivators ceases to matter, or if you successfully hit a milestone, having more than one helps you keep going towards your ultimate goal.
3. Choose reliable motivators. For example: If you’re losing weight for health reasons, and you choose to motivate yourself with the possibility of fitting into a special outfit, what would happen if one day you decided you no longer cared for that outfit? A reliable motivator could be the sense of accomplishment from taking the stairs without getting winded or when you find you’re able to chase your kids for longer than a few minutes.
Rewrite Your Goal
If you have a goal like “I want to lose 25 pounds in 3 months,” rewrite that goal to say something like: “In 3 months I want to be able to run a mile without stopping.” When you’re focused on your fitness level instead of on the scale, you’ll lose weight without even realizing it.
You can also take your big goal with the faraway end-date and dice it up into bite-sized pieces with closer end-dates. Doing it this way means you’ll have opportunities to hit more achievements which can do a lot for your motivation!
Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes
If you make a mistake, don’t let yourself slip into the idea that you may as well stop trying. If you swore off junk food, and one day you couldn’t help yourself and you had a donut, that doesn’t mean you can have junk food for the rest of the day because you already slipped up. Forgive the moment of weakness and enjoy the heck out of that donut. Then get back on track from there without undoing the rest of your day.
On that note, you should also make allowance for small indulgences here and there. Taking the hard-core “cold turkey” approach doesn’t work for everyone and you may sabotage your chances for long-term success.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Remember when we talked about planning and how it’s easier for some than it is for others? Waiting until the last minute can be the downfall of many. We understand. The end of the year is a really busy time. There’s no reason you can’t start to work towards your resolutions on January 10th instead of the 1st, or an hour from now if that’s what you wanted. The important thing is to set a hard start date. If you waffle back and forth on when you really started your diet, you’ll find reasons why this or that cheat meal is acceptable, because you “didn’t really start yet.”
Trust us on this one, your body doesn’t know the difference between starting your health plan on Monday or Wednesday or at the start of the new year or mid-February. The important thing is to decide when you’re starting and follow-through.
We can help you succeed! Follow our blog for helpful posts on fitness and nutrition topics, and for motivational stories from other LA Fitness members. You’ll find helpful posts like our dietitian’s answer to this question about How to Create a Meal Plan. You’ll also be able to listen to the episodes of our podcast, like this one on How to Like Running. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter, today!