Real talk: Changing your current habits is *hard *and it really sucks sometimes. It takes time, patience, and commitment to create a healthy lifestyle, especially when you are just starting out. I have been where you are, and if we are being honest here, I sometimes find myself back at the beginning again. Holidays and big life changes (like moving) tend to throw me way off and I go really far backwards before I am able to pick up the pieces and start again. I know exactly what I need to do and exactly what I need to eat to get back to where I was, but it’s just not that easy. I am human and although I have come a long way, I continue to learn and make mistakes along the way.
Before I share some of my favorite tips with you, take a moment to think about what habits you would like to stop *OR *start *in the new year. Maybe you want to *stop drinking soda, or start working out 5-6 times every week. When I am working with a new challenger, I like to talk about the things they should start *adding *into their life rather than the things they should starting *subtracting. *Why? Well, it’s a mind trick! You probably know that when you try to deprive yourself of something you love, it can be really difficult. Feeling deprived isn’t a good thing and it often backfires, causing you to do or eat that thing even MORE! When you focus on adding the good things into your life, you naturally have less room for the bad things. The good habits take over and the bad habits start to disappear without the stress of depriving yourself.
With the New Year quickly approaching, I know that you are probably thinking about the goals you are going to set for yourself. The New Year can be a great time for a fresh start, but you have to be prepared! Take some time in the next coming weeks to do your research. Gather healthy recipes, read as many fitness tips as you can, and start to create a plan. Get your mind ready for what you are about to do. Here are some tips to get you started:
*Write down your goals and create a plan. *Chances are, you’ve thought about what you’d like to look like, what you’d like to feel like, or what size you’d like to be, but have you written them down somewhere? Taking pen to paper and recording your goals can be very powerful. You are putting your thoughts in words, and when you do that, you can then move on to the HOW. How are you going to reach that goal? What things are you going to do every single day to get you to where you want to be? If your goal is to lose 10 pounds, your action steps better include exercise and healthy eating.
The next step is to put a timeline on your goal. Think about a reasonable time period and make it official by writing it down. Again, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, you’re going to want to give yourself 2-3 months. 1 month is going to be way too short, and a year is going to be way too long. If you aren’t being reasonable with your timeline, you are either going to be frustrated and discouraged or you’re not going to feel motivated to accomplish what you set out to accomplish.
*Share your goals with somebody. *A goal shared is a goal accomplished. Accountability can be scary, but it can also be the best thing to ever happen to you. I’ve been trying to get up early for the past 2 months to workout before my son wakes up. People who wake up early have always inspired me. I know that it leads to more energy and productivity during the day, and I wanted that so badly for myself, but I just could not get out of bed. I would set my alarm for 6:00am every single morning, and every morning I would wake up and…. LAY IN BED! I told myself so many excuses: I’m too tired, it’s too cold, I don’t have anywhere to be today so I can workout later, I can’t workout this early, my body doesn’t want to move, and on and on and on. I finally decided that it was time to kick my own butt and get some accountability in my life. I told this story on Facebook and told my friends and family what my goals were. I asked for them to hold me to it, and now my friend Kelley texts me every morning at 5:45am to make sure I am up and ready to workout. If I don’t answer her, she has my permission to call me out on Facebook. Talk about accountability! You know I am up at 5:45 and ready to answer her text. After I asked for that accountability, I did have a little short period of regret, but I’m over it. The things I have put into place are going to help me reach my goals, and that is what matters.
After you write down your goals, I want you to share them with a friend or family member, or even better, blast it all over Facebook. When people know what your goals are, you are going to work your butt off to hit that goal. Don’t do this alone! If you do, you probably won’t be successful. You need a community of people who are going to rally around you and lift you up when you are struggling.
*Find an accountability partner. * This goes hand in hand with sharing your goals with somebody. An accountability partner is going to be there for you when you need support. They are the person who goes to the gym with you every morning. They are the person you call when you want to eat that piece of cake sitting in your office. They are the person you celebrate with when you see the scale move, and the person you cry to when you are frustrated with your lack of progress. A good accountability partner will not let you fail. They will be by your side throughout your whole journey and help you reach your goals, while also working towards their own. Find somebody who has goals similar to yours. If you can’t think of a single person, let me help! I can be your accountability partner.
*Take before pictures. *I know you just cringed when you read that, but you have to trust me. I like to call these goodbye pictures. You may not want to do it now, but you will be so thankful you did a few months from now. You want to be able to look back and see your progress. You don’t have to share these photos with anybody, but I bet you’ll want to when you realize how far you have come. These photos can also serve as motivation for you when the scale doesn’t want to budge. Most of us get to a point in our weight loss journey when the scale stops moving, which often times leads to frustration and giving up. Don’t let that be you! Use your photos to see the changes in your body that the scale doesn’t show. Let them motivate you to keep going.
*Record your starting weight and your measurements. *Step on that scale and get the important measurements recorded on paper. These numbers will help you measure your progress and serve as motivation for you and for others. There is no doubt that people will be asking you how much weight or how many inches you’ve lost- and the number you tell them may inspire them to make some changes in their own lives.
*Take baby steps. *You did not gain that weight over night and you definitely aren’t going to lose it over night. Changing your lifestyle and your body takes time. If you’re going to reach your goals, you have to know that the scale isn’t always going to move as quickly as you want it to move. Patience and consistency are going to be your best friends during this journey.
Instead of trying to go all in from day 1, focus on starting with some small changes. If you go out to eat a lot, maybe you can start by cutting it down to 2 days a week instead of cutting it out completely. If you drink soda every day, maybe you can try only drinking it 4 times a week instead of daily. If you try to do a complete overhaul of your life over night, there is a good chance you are going to quit. Good habits take some time to develop and taking things slowly is going to make the switch a lot more enjoyable for you (and those around you). You’ll find that you’ll start to gain momentum as time goes on and these changes will become much easier.
*Work on finding balance. *What fun is life if it is all hard work and no play? I don’t believe in strict diets. You need to create a lifestyle that you can *happily *sustain, and one that doesn’t feel like torture. If you are miserable Focus on sticking to your meal plan all week and then allow yourself to enjoy a treat meal on the weekend! I keep it to ONE meal and a small dessert. Remember, you don’t want to binge all day long because you will most likely slow down your progress from the week. Eat as you normally would the rest of the day, drink tons of water, and get your workout in. Treat meals can be good for your weight loss physically (because they keep your body guessing and increase your metabolism) and mentally (because they give you a break from the strict meal plan and allow you to enjoy the foods you love). You just have to be sure that you aren’t going overboard.
The most important thing to remember is that you* can* do this. You are worthy and capable and stronger than you think you are. Changing your life and the direction it is headed is difficult and takes dedication, time, and consistency, but if you take the time to create a plan for yourself, you WILL be successful! You’ve got this!
*I would love to hear what your goals are for 2015. *
*What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to be? *