Happy New Year! I gotta say, I love the magic of new years. The fireworks. The people bundled around the world to count down a fresh beginning. The cheer and resolutions filling up my social media feeds. But if it’s January 3 and you’re already thinking ohh s**! I already broke my resolutions, or are feeling resistance to doing them every day, this guide is for YOU mama. Here’s how to keep rocking it with through the usual resolution slump.
Take a deep breath. You didn’t fall off anything.
I totally get the temptation to live in an on/off mindset. I basically bought property and lived there for years. But all that thinking did was make me see my life as either ON (eating perfectly, working out daily, other heroic acts of healthy living) or OFF (back to regular life, indulging while preparing for another ON mode). The ON mode was such a stretch from my normal day-to-day life that it felt impossible to sustain, and never did for long. But once I erased this on/off thinking from my mind, it became a heck of a lot easier to maintain healthy living day in and day out. Now I do my best to eat healthy and exercise, but if it doesn’t happen I didn’t fall OFF anything — last I checked, my life is still on! Now I just keep doing the best I can, and don’t view anything as an ON or OFF food or behavior. This mental reframe got me out of feeling like I had to eat #allthethings to prepare for a diet or new meal plan, which always resulted in 3 weeks of indulging for every 3 days of unsustainable dieting, over and over again.
Pick a meaning that serves you.
There is something between your ears that is stronger than any muscle on your body: your beautiful BRAIN. So exercise it accordingly by choosing meanings that serve you. For example, sure, you COULD view eating cake as doing something wrong. As falling off your new year’s resolution. As throwing in the towel and giving it a go next new year or month. But you could view that same thing as simply part of life well lived. As no big deal. As a delicious part of life that you enjoy, that’s worth the calories or sugar.
Even though overly obsessive or restrictive thinking feels like it gives people some sense of control, it usually just makes them feel worse about themselves and food in general, which makes it harder to eat well. So choose a meaning that serves you, your relationship to food, and your ability to keep on keeping on no matter what you eat.
Choose something smaller you can crush every day.
If you find yourself repeatedly coming up against a wall with your health resolutions, you might just be stretching too far compared to where you’re at right now with healthy living. Most people who have healthy lifestyles didn’t just wake up one day with 20 healthy habits that they effortlessly maintained. They more likely added one, then another. They gave the whole smoothie-for-breakfast thing a whirl, then started adding protein powder, then maybe a little spinach. Then that felt so good that they started going to the gym. Or they tried to drink an extra glass of water, then figured they enjoyed that so maybe they could cut out a cup of coffee, then read something about adding lemon so added that to their routine. So if you feel like there is this massive gap between you now and Health You, try meeting in the middle. Make your resolution feel more doable. Master that, then add more when it feels right.
People are usually concerned that they won’t see a big enough difference by starting small, but the momentum naturally carries them to bigger steps soon enough, and consistency yields more results than a few heroic days ever will. Think about it objectively for someone else: will they see bigger gains from an hour at the gym for a few days, or a month of 20 minutes every day?
Celebrate how far you ARE getting.
Think of your health journey like riding a bicycle. Sure, as you’re learning how to do it, you might take a few tumbles. Heck, you might completely wipe out. But whatever distance you travel each time is still getting you further than where you started. So celebrate THAT and keep it moving. Ultimately, it’s not about getting to some elusive destination, but about designing a healthy lifestyle you love more and more every step of the way. You got this, pretty lady!