The New Year is a time for reflection. Unfortunately, thinking critically and harshly judging your (lack of) goal accomplishments and progress from the previous year often happens as a result.
Instead of criticizing yourself for what you have not done, praise yourself for small victories the year before: For taking the vacation you always wanted; for reading the book that has been sitting on your desk for months; for choosing veggie sticks instead of chips with your hummous; or for being kind to strangers on the street.
The key with resolutions and goal setting, whether they are personal, professional, physical or mental, is to not get bogged down with where you think you should be, but to continue moving forward. Eventually, you will get there.
Continue reading below where Ashley, CleanWorkout.com writer at large, half-marathon runner and mother of two, shares her insight for creating healthy, realistic resolutions and habits for the year ahead.
You made that ever so popular new years resolution to up the ante with your health.
You told people about your resolution.
You bought a Vitamix and new workout gear in anticipation.
The problem is that you decided to completely overhaul your eating and fitness regimen and now you feel that the tall order you initially made for yourself is impossible to achieve, let alone to maintain.
As with any goal, the key to fitness goals is to be realistic. Good health is important and is something that everyone should strive for. It is important to set yourself up for success even if means tweaking things incrementally.
Maybe the health train is new to you; Perhaps you lead a healthier lifestyle and are interested in adding some health and fitness goals; Or maybe you consider yourself healthy and fit but just want to achieve something new for the upcoming year.
Regardless of where you are, it is important to set yourself up for victory.
Turn that health resolution into a lifestyle with the following steps to help you thrive:
- You need to decide. The decision to embark on a new lifestyle has to be your choice, and you must own it.
- Establish realistic goals. Decide on what you want to zero-in on. If a healthier lifestyle is new to you, avoid completely overhauling your nutrition and fitness regimen. Break your overarching goal down and start small instead. Set a few realistic short-term goals to begin: that may mean cutting sugar out or drinking more water. These may seem insignificiant, but compounded everyday overtime will help to achieve amazing results.
- Write your goals down and post them somewhere you will see them. This will serve as a daily reminder. Once some of your short-term goals have transitioned to habit and you are feeling good about your progress, set some new goals. This will keep you motivated.
- Tell others about your intentions. There is something to be said about telling others what you are up to. It creates an accountability factor. You are more likely to follow-through because who doesn’t want to hold true to their word? More importantly, when you let those nearest and dear to your heart know about your lifestyle changes, they can help to support your efforts.
- Plan. It’s simple: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The best way to get moving is to find something that you love. If you commit yourself to new habits and behaviours that you dread, it will be counterproductive. Schedule physical activity into your day. Think of it as an important meeting with yourself. You would’t cancel on your boss would you? If you are wanting to eat more healthfully, do a clean sweep of your kitchen. Get rid of the temptations. If food isn’t aligned with your goals, toss it. Meal plan. Stick to your grocery list, and prep as much as you can in advance for the week to limit your time in the kitchen and set yourself up for success.
- Follow-through. Stick to that plan. It is so gratifying to follow-through and reach your goals. This is where the importance of establishing realistic goals really comes in – once you achieve them, you set the bar higher for next time and continually become hungry for more. It’s about setting yourself up for the lifestyle, and always having something to work towards.
- Visualize your results. Envision yourself at the point you want to be. Always be forward looking.
- Reward yourself for success. Celebrate your victories and have fun! If that means having a cheat day or a single cheat meal once in a while, then go for it. This will keep you motivated and without feeling deprived of guilty pleasures.