It’s that time of year again. The gym is full, everyone in the office is bringing their own healthy lunch and no one seems to be consuming alcohol. This will run pretty strong until about February when an astounding 92% of people will start to fail on their new years resolution. How can so many people, fail so hard at the same thing year after year?
Our bodies like consistency, we aren’t great with change, especially sudden extreme change. We like the same bed time, the same amount of sleep (~8 hours if you had not heard), the same routine day after day. When you wake up January 1st and decide to go from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, your body usually isn’t too happy about it. Losing 30 pounds, saving $ and eating healthy are all BIG changes. It’s why most people fall off their resolution, it’s too much change, too fast. The key to keeping a new year's resolution is slow, consistent change.
Start by making your new year's resolution a goal, you aim to hit by the end of the year. Let’s say, for the sake of example, your goal is to lose 30 pounds. Now within this goal you’re gonna need some things to change to get there right. At a minimum you’ll need to start working out and start eating right, so those can be the things you need to execute to get to your goal. Now the key to maintaining the execution of those things is to take them slowly and methodically until they go from being weird to being part of your routine to becoming a habit you can’t live without. Once it’s a habit, we can ‘twist the screws’ a little bit and add in another new task that we can develop into another new habit that leads us to reaching our goal.
Let’s take this goal of losing 30 pounds by eating healthy and working out and let’s break it up into 12 small manageable tasks, one for each month. To kick off January, let’s start with a small task, maybe our first goal is to starting doing a 20 minute run/walk 2 days a week and not to eat after 8pm. Easy and simple, not too much to overwhelm, but just enough to get the ball rolling. Knock that out through all of January and when we get to February, let’s add to it. Lets add one day of strength training (consult a doctor and/or a professional trainer) to the 2 days a week of run/walk and let’s say that we are going to add in a protein shake as our mid morning snack in addition to not eating after 8pm. Knock this out through all of February and roll into March knowing you are already doing better than most people who drop off after 6 weeks.
Continue to set small manageable changes to your life and continue to add a new change each month. Even map out all the changes in advance so you know what you need to do when you get there. Everyone is going to have different changes, but by breaking up the big goal into lots of small executable tasks we can slowly start the march toward hitting our new year’s resolution just before it’s time to do it all over again next year.
As always, there is help. If you wanna chat more about new year's resolutions or endurance training in general drop me a line! Also, I use a product called the Best Self Journal. It’s great at helping you set up your big goal and break it down into small manageable steps.