Put your hands up; how many of you have made, or are thinking about making, new year’s resolutions that include something along the lines of, “I am going to lose weight and eat better this year?”. I will tell you now that the chances of you sticking to those resolutions are 98%* unlikely.
I am not saying that there is no point making resolutions; goals and aspirations are important to have. What I am saying is that there is no point making wishy-washy resolutions that are wide open to interpretation – “I ate 2 tins of Quality Street last week, so only eating one this week definitely classifies as eating better”. For the record, it doesn’t.
So here are some thoughts from me on how you can bullet proof those resolutions and really starting heading in the direction of your goals.
1) Be specific with your goals. Saying you want to lose weight is non-specific. How much do you want to lose? 3 kilos, 1 stone, 5 stone? And when do you want to lose it by? Do you want to fit in that dress for your daughter’s wedding in July? Do you want to feel confident wearing your bikini on the beach in August, or are you giving yourself the whole year to get down to your ideal weight?
If you don’t have specific goals then how do you know if you are getting nearer to reaching them?
2) Break your goals down. One giant goal can feel daunting and unreachable. The stuff dreams are made of, but not real life. Break your goal down into smaller, bite-size stages (no pun intended) and suddenly it seems possible.
“I am going to lose 5 stone by Christmas 2016”. Wow, big goal. December seems a long way off, right? Can you keep motivated month after month? What about if you said, “I am going to lose 5 to 6lbs a month, so that by the end of December 2016 I have lost 5 stone? 6 lbs a month seems more achievable and realistic than 5 stone doesn’t it?
3) Know your ‘WHY?’. Are you actually ready to lose weight, change your eating habits? You might not be. Making changes to your lifestyle is a big deal. Changing how you eat, how you exercise and fundamentally how you think should not be underestimated. These things take commitment, dedication, a change of lifestyle in many cases and lots of hard work. If you don’t know WHY you are making these changes then I can guarantee you won’t stick to them for very long.
How will losing weight make you feel? – fitter, more confident, more outgoing? What benefits will you get from losing those kilos? – more clothes options, a better sex life, you can complete your first 5k race?
You have to want to have to achieve your goals, so you need some really good reasons WHY. Take a couple of minutes now and write down your reasons. If you can’t even be bothered to do this, then you are probably not going to be bothered with taking the actions needed to achieve your goals.
One client I had wanted to be able to play more with his young children. He realised that he was not being the dad that he wanted to be. After a few minutes kicking the ball about with them he needed to sit down and when playing cricket with them he actually tried to get himself out on purpose!
Another client wanted to lose weight because she realised that she had become a totally different person. With the extra weight came a loss of confidence, she no longer wanted to go out anywhere with her husband, she felt embarrassed socialising with her colleagues. She knew that this was not the person she wanted to continuing being.
Once you have your whys just go for it. No back-tracking, no re-considering, no dwelling on the decision. Let go of all that negative thinking. Tell those doubts in your head to “shut up” and this is where Point 4 neatly fits in….
4) Take action. NOW! For most people the words, “I want to lose weight”, come easily out of their mouths, but that is as far as they get. No actual changes are implemented. They don’t stop snacking on office treats. They don’t start making themselves a healthy lunch to go. They prefer to stay stuck to the sofa as they have always done, than go for an evening walk. Change unfortunately, does not happen magically or by osmosis. If all you do is read this article and nod along with it, then you have not got any further in reaching your goals.
With anything you need to create the change.
Don’t dwell on making changes. You don’t need to write a whole battle plan before you can get started. Get started right now, not tomorrow, or next Monday, or once your parents have left after their visit, [insert any other excuse here]. Just do something, anything to get the ball rolling and stop procrastinating.
Good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those who put in the effort, the time and the sacrifice. It sucks I know, but there is no point lying to yourself any longer. Change requires bravery. It requires action. It requires focus.
So there you have it. Not quite so simple as writing some hopeful words down is it? However, it is not all hard work and painful changes. Once you commit to your goal and start making changes, you are likely to find that many other positive changes start taking place linked to this shift in thinking and acting. You might find you have more energy, you might find that because you have been decisive in making one decision, you are being more decisive in other areas too. The strength you feel from making a decision and knowing you are sticking to it is exhilarating and powerful. It can be an enjoyable process as you start noticing changes in how you look and feel and other people start noticing it too.
So after all that, if you are still intent on making those resolutions, what are they? We want to know and maybe I will tell you mine….
• I made this statistic up, but I bet it is true.