Lets talk resolutions.
Have you ever made a New Years resolution, went all in and then by February that resolution is a distant memory? Leaving you feeling defeated and stuck from "failing"?
No worries! I think we've all done this at least once! Most of us are inspired and moved by the beginning of a new year. Seemingly a new clean slate to create the life we want. We visualize our perfect life, the big dream we wish to achieve, we get excited, we dive in and we rESoLVe to change.
So whats wrong with that?!?!?
The idea of wanting to create change is a beautiful and noble one and we always have the best of intentions when we begin. Some people have been able to make enormous leaps in their lives simply by committing and sticking to their resolution, so why do the vast majority of people give up after a few weeks or months?
Well I'll tell you. Unfortunately, we as a species aren't the most patient and we tend to look at the BIG picture and disregard the steps it takes to get there. WE WANT IT NOW. We shoot for the moon and go for a goal that may be years off from our current skills and capabilities, because sadly the ability to want to make a change does not prepare or help us in the present if the goal is something wildly different from how we are living or acting currently. This is especially true of health based behavior change. I'd put money on the fact that all new years resolutions that people don't achieve are ultimately linked to a behavior change. ALL. OF. THEM.
Whether it be eating better, losing weight, saving money, thinking more positively, spending more time with our family or going to yoga. All of these things are linked to habits, how we spend our days and how we see and travel through the world. Mostly these things are automatic. It takes work to create change, because we are literally teaching our brain to do something different from our norm (the behaviors we've already taken time to train into it-whether we like those behaviors or not). We have only ourselves to blame, but don't feel bad, because you have about seven and a half billion other people who are in the same boat. Our brain is ancient and it likes simple and so to save us from having to think about everything little thing we do, it creates patterns and auto responses to certain stimuli(IE life). In the long run this saves us energy(calories), time and ultimately it keeps us alive. Stay with me!
Our brain has been developing and evolving for over 300,000 years or even more if you are including our pre-split ancestors. These people hunted and gathered for food and had to travel huge distances in harsh elements, equating to mass amounts of energy usage just to live day to day-very different from the desk job lives many of us live currently. Modern humans now are vastly separated from these early people in time and lifestyle, yet our brains still hold onto these long ingrained ways to help us stay alive. So when creating new habits, especially ones that elicit more energy expenditure, we are very literally fighting against hundreds of thousands of years of internal programming.
Some might view that as a defeating thought, I however choose to view it as something positive. How nice, my cave woman-lizard brain is trying to help me out and keep me alive by streamlining things for me-so sweet! Does it make it harder to make changes? Yes, absolutely. But accepting and understanding that fact can help to cut down on some of our over blown expectations and truly view our resolutions as a lifestyle change that will probably have many, many steps to our beautifully envisioned goal. So when making resolutions keep in mind that our life is a journey and each day is an opportunity to make a small change. Even if that change is the same tiny one we focused on yesterday and the day before until it sticks.
And when running into problems with not knowing where to start, how to create a smarter goal, support along the way or if your goal is feasible-coaching can help with that!
Cheers to a new decade and a newer-more patient-yet ever growing you!
Heres a couple examples of behavior change road blocks and how coaching and chunking these goals works.
Goal: I want to lose 25 lbs. by summer
Road blocks: Currently over eating by 500-800 calories daily, not paying attention to the types of foods being eaten, living a sedentary lifestyle, schedule is too packed to get to the gym, client lives in an area thats below freezing most the winter months and hates the cold.
REALITY: client would have to lose 5 lbs. each month through a calorie deficit (eating less and/or exercising more) of at least 625 calories EVERY day from January- June.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE COACHING SOLUTIONS*:
Determine whether 25 lbs. is a healthy amount to lose, based on current weight, muscle mass and overall health goals. It might not be possible to lose 25 lbs. without becoming under weight.
Create awareness of the foods that are being eaten.
Start writing down emotions throughout the day and a basic description of what was eaten.
Start wearing a simple pedometer and aim for 6,000 steps a day.
Start tracking foods in a calorie counting app.
Finding a workout buddy or two to go to go to the gym on a regularly scheduled day.
Focus on creating a much more feasible deficit of 350 calories per day(overall) for 9 months.
Goal: I want to save more money this year
Road blocks: Goal is not clear, living paycheck to paycheck, but only 50% of income is allotted to bills, auto pays on bills and several unused monthly memberships, no budget in place, overspending on eating out from not planning meals in advance, overspending on shopping.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE COACHING SOLUTIONS*:
Download an automatic financial tracking app and upload last several months of account activity.
Create awareness of areas that are hemorrhaging money and unnecessary expenses.
Unsubscribe to unneeded memberships, investigate lowering bills through different providers, bundles and upfront payments.
Create a realistic budget (and know that it will probably change a bit), taking into account emergencies and big ticket expenses, like travel and car problems.
Either meal prep to lower food costs or create space in your budget for that as a priority by cutting else where.
After 3 months of tweaking and sticking to new budget create a savings plan that is feasible for the remainder of the year.
Multiply by the remaining months, rounding down to get your yearly savings goal. Create check in dates for savings mini goals along the way.
*You would tackle these one, maybe two at a time