You know what they call a New Years Resolution? It is just a to-do list for the “first week” of January. Why is it that most resolutions fail? It is because they are not rooted to a deeply held desire. The Bottom Line is this: While people may consciously want the outcome, subconsciously they prefer what they have, to doing what it would take to achieve that outcome.
Do you really want it? That is the question you must ask yourself, before committing to any kind of lifestyle change. In order to create mental, physical alignment, you must attach your goal to a deeper purpose. You virtually must get to the point where not having the outcome, becomes MORE painful than what it will take to achieve that outcome.
To achieve that allusive goal, you must pinpoint your personal motivation and desire. When you do not want the goal bad enough, you will unwittingly self-sabotage your efforts. No matter how smart the choice seems on a conscious level, if subconsciously you have not attached that goal to something you deeply want, it will likely fall flat.
Once you decide that you deeply want change, begin to outline the payoff for your actions. What will you get out of making a lifestyle change? This needs to be your focus. It is not about the behavior that helps you achieve the outcome; it is all about the outcome. Keeping your eyes, thoughts, and intentions on the outcome will allow you to maintain your motivation. Clearly articulate the payoff, why you want the desired outcome, examples:
1. I want my clothes to fit better.
2. I want to be healthy.
3. I want to tone up my muscles.
4. I want more energy.
5. I want to take control of my body.
With payoff in mind, decide what actions you will need to take to achieve that outcome. If weight loss is what you have chosen as your desired outcome, then you must PLAN the actions that you are willing to commit to, in order to achieve it. Be specific, set boundaries for yourself. Outline clearly the path you are taking to achieve your goal. Write it down and be specific, examples:
- I will wear a fitbit pedometer to log at least 10,000 steps daily.
- I will weight train four times per week.
- I will move for at least three minutes for each 60 that am sedentary.
- I will write down my food intake for 30 days.
- I will keep my calorie intake under 1800 calories per day.
- I will use an accountability partner to keep me in check.
- I will compete in a contest to boost my motivation.
- I will create a daily journal and relaxation ritual to manage stress.
- I will ask myself if I am actually hungry before eating or if I am uncomfortable, bored, upset, or tired and want the food to mask those feelings.
- I will balance carbs and protein at each eating episode. (P2B Ratio: 7g of protein for every 12g of carbs)
- I will savor the food I choose to eat.
- I will put my fork down between bites.
- I will choose foods that will fuel my body.
- I will clean out my pantry, kitchen, and other food stashes of off-plan choices.
- I will allow for indulgence foods on occasion.
- I will not blow my whole plan because of a few off-plan choices.
- I will take my vitamin and mineral supplement.
- I will drink at least 64 oz of water each day.
- I will make getting quality sleep a priority.
- I will see this goal as achievable and visualize myself meeting this goal.
So you have a plan, now what? What will you do the first time you make an off-plan choice? What will you do the first time you do not feel like following your plan? Decide now while your motivation is strong. You can use the carrot or the stick, depending on your own personal motivation style. Plan rewards for meeting milestones and plan consequences for not following through. Make them personal to you and stick with them.
If you are serious, but have trouble staying accountable, then find a partner, group, or program to help keep you on track. Gentle friendly pressure can keep you on course and stop you from sweeping small bad choices under the rug. Refocusing on the outcome, and away for the actual task, is the best way to reset your attitude. Begin to identify fully with that healthy and fit person you are becoming. See yourself as that, and you will begin to do those things that bring it into reality. You can do it, when you want it bad enough.