What does the typical January look like for most people who have made the resolution to get healthy or lose weight?
They probably join a gym, show up with no plan, hit the treadmill, hate every second, then go home and eat “diet” food that they also hate. They complain that they are miserable but they want to stay committed this time. They do everything in extremes because they think they have to, they really want it to work, and they want to see fast results.
By February or March, they have given up because it was making them miserable. They missed their old habits and routine. It was as if they were suddenly living someone else’s life that didn’t fit them.
But not you, not this year. This year you’re going to follow our plan, and January is going to look completely different for you.
A Whole New January That’s Not New At All
You may look at this plan and think it’s too easy and not enough. That’s the point. This? You’ll be able to stick with. This? You can implement into your life for the LONG TERM. Isn’t that what you want, to seamlessly transition so that you don’t really even notice that change is happening? Don’t you want to not have to kill yourself with diets and workouts every January just to give up 2, 3, 4 months later? Don’t you want to never make a resolution to get healthy or lose weight ever again?
This January, start here. While your friends make extreme changes and might even lose a few pounds, remind yourself that you’ll still be transforming in May, June, July and they’ll be back to their old ways, wondering how you did it.
- First, make a list of the steps you need to take towards a healthier lifestyle. Do you need to start exercising? Start eating better? Lower your stress level? Sleep more? Quit smoking? Write these down. Each month you’ll be slowly chipping away at each area until new habits exist in place of the old unhealthy ones.
- This month, choose 2-3 new habits that will make you healthier. Make them small and sustainable. If you try them and they feel too extreme, take them down a notch until it feels do-able. No step is too small as long as it is easy to stick with. Try to choose one small habit from each area of your life that needs work. So if your long term goals are to eat healthier and lower your stress level, here are some steps you could take this month.
-Replace your cream cheese and white bagel breakfast with a whole wheat bagel
-Set an alarm and take 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the afternoon to practice deep breathing
-Replace your coffee creamer with skim milk
If you need help coming up with healthier habits, read these:
- Once you feel comfortable with these changes and they have become a habit, you can move onto the next baby step. Do not move on to the next until you are ready! This isn’t a race. This is building the foundation of a lifestyle that you will be living daily for the REST OF YOUR LIFE, so just like building a house, it’s important that the foundation is strong before the rest of the framework is added.
- Make it a monthly goal to add a few new habits. When you are ready, you can even add on to your new habits and take those up to the next level. So for example, once you have mastered walking for 30 minutes a day, try running one minute or so, then a little more and a little more. If you’ve mastered a healthy breakfast, move onto a healthier lunch. If you’ve successfully replaced soda with water once a day, move on to twice a day until eventually, the soda is gone.
- Do NOT get caught up in results. This will just frustrate you. Focus instead on your accomplishments, the way you feel, the energy you’re developing. We, as humans, LOVE instant gratification. Weight loss done right is NOT instant. So find the instant gratification in your new habits, it’s there if you look for it.
- Replace, don’t eliminate or avoid. Instead of “giving up soda”, replace it with water (preferably one at a time). Instead of giving up a nighttime sugary snack, replace it with fruit. Don’t force yourself to do or eat things you don’t enjoy. Keep experimenting until you find what you like.
Keep It Going
Build on your new habits each month until before you know it, you’ll realize that without really thinking too much about it or feeling deprived and miserable, you’ve changed your life. Next January, you will be an entirely different person with new healthy and sustainable habits.
What’s your plan for the new year?