Are you struggling to follow through on your New Year's resolutions? Don't be discouraged. Believe me, you are not alone. The further it gets from the start of any goal, the harder it can become for most of us (including myself) to stay on track.
Start by reminding yourself of why you initially established the goal, and that everyday, not just New Year's day, is a good time to adopt healthier habits. If you have fallen off of your "health train," don't wait until 2015 to get back on. Start again. Resolve to keep on trying (and trying and trying). Adopting a healthier lifestyle is a long, time consuming and often frustrating, but ultimately highly rewarding, process.
Next, make sure you are being honest with yourself. Many of us, either consciously or unconsciously, sabotage ourselves by misrepresenting reality.
Don't tell yourself you only had two glasses of wine if you actually had four servings divided into two big glasses. The size of the glass counts! Don't say you "pushed yourself" in your workout if you simply went through the motions. Don't tell yourself you only had one serving of dinner, when in reality you ate while cooking (this is classic me). Food counts, even when it is not on your plate!
I am not suggesting you metaphorically beat yourself up when you drink wine or snack while cooking. If you decide you want wine, enjoy the wine. You can't go back and make a different choice. Instead of feeling guilty, own and enjoy the choice you made. Then, learn from the choice so that you can make a better choice next time. Or, if you decide to make the same unhealthy choice again, fine, you only live once. Just own the choice.
In addition, concentrate on the positive health choices you make. I believe that an important part of adopting a healthier lifestyle is establishing a positive mental and physical health cycle. To make this positive cycle a reality, consciously choose to make your positive health choices "bleed into," and effect the rest of your life. Let's say you want to skip your entire workout, but instead you convince yourself to do half. Concentrate on the fact you did something, not that you didn't do the entire thing.
If you let a negative dialogue "bleed into" the rest of your life, you risk an inner dialogue that sounds something like, "I am such a failure. I am never going to be fit. I might as well eat that bag of Doritos."
If you make positive choices "bleed into" the rest of your day, your inner dialogue will hopefully sound something like, "I wish I had done my entire session, but I am proud of myself for doing something. If a partial workout made me feel good, my entire workout tomorrow will feel great."
Don't misunderstand, I am not arguing you should pretend you made ideal health choices, or take an "oh well, who cares" approach. Instead, I am suggesting you become mindful and respectful of yourself. Find the positive in what you did. This will allow you to replicate positive choices, and will hopefully propel you to have a generally more positive day. Plus, this approach allows you to learn from your choices instead of being dragged down by them.
Lastly, remember that contrary to most health and fitness media tag lines, adopting a healthier lifestyle is never simple. It is not just a matter of becoming "dedicated" or "disciplined." The process of adopting a healthier lifestyle can't be divorced from one's emotions, stress levels, sleep patterns, genetics, self confidence, resources, and current and past mental and physical health.
Be honest with yourself, reflect on why you make your nutrition and exercise choices. Do you eat when you are angry, sad, tired or hurt? Maybe you can't get up for your morning workouts because you haven't built in enough time for recovery, relaxation and sleep? Or, maybe you are asking something of your body that is not genetically possible. Reflect on your goals. Remember, becoming healthier is not just about reaching a certain weight. Adopting a healthier lifestyle is about feeling strong, powerful and energized. If your goals are not making you feel positive about yourself, maybe you need to rethink them!
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