Stay Off the Fad Bandwagon – Change It Up for 2016

As we head into the new year, it’s a great time for self-reflection.  Spending time to think about your goals you set, what you accomplished, and comparing those two lists together helps to keep you focused on your progress.  It can also help drive your plan for new goals or new behaviors to focus on in the coming year.  This can be an extremely effective practice to engage in all throughout the year…not just at the start of a new year.  Honestly, you should be evaluating your goals set vs. progress made at regular intervals.  But really, that’s a topic for another day.  I’ll put that on the list.  Right now, though, let’s talk about the “trap” we can fall into at the start of each year.  We are well-meaning, wanting to challenge ourselves, and continuing becoming a better version of…well…YOU!  I’m sure you’ve figured out where I’m going with this. That’s right, resolutions.

It’s become part of the standard questioning at parties now: “What New Year’s resolutions are you setting this year?”  I’m not saying it’s not helpful to goal set or set intentions for the year, but I believe there is a very big difference between a resolution and a goal (or an intention…again, something we can chat about later).  Resolutions have the negative connotation of something we’ll stick with for all of…4 seconds, maybe…before throwing in the towel and chalking it up to be “another failed resolution.”  Why is this common?  Well, typically because our resolutions aren’t constructive/helpful goals…they are more extreme “fads” that aren’t likely to stick as a part of your routine.  We’re approaching it the wrong way. We want to start off the new year with a bang to really show 2016 who’s boss!  The issue??  We’re going about it the wrong way!

As we head into 2016 and the goal-setting/resolutioning (yes, I’m calling that a word) that comes with it, I wanted to share some helpful hints for avoiding the fads.  Don’t jump on the fad bandwagon of crazy changes this year.  Make this year the year you focus on truly creating a realistic and healthy plan you can keep fo’ life!  Resolutions are sooooo 2015.  #dontjumpontheresolutionbandwagon

  • Don’t get sucked into the latest and greatest!  Everyone has the new “miracle” plan to achieve weight loss, but think about how many miracle plans there have been…too many!  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  Truthfully, there is nothing magical about weight loss.  There’s not a secret weapon or an undercover piece of advice everyone is hiding.  It’s all about tipping the scales…in the right way!  We need to watch calorie intake and increase calorie burn.  That’s an over-simplistic explanation, but you likely already know what you “need” to be doing.  You’re not missing out on some secret strategy!  Don’t get caught up in the hype and think you’re missing the boat…you’re not!
  • I stole this next tip from one of the RDs I work with.  She mentioned this in working with clients a few years ago, and it stuck with me.  I love it because it’s so true of our society!  She essentially said … you are never going to lose weight by trying to figure out how you can eat more.  As I mentioned above, you know what to do.  It’s not about trying to game or trick the system (aka your body).  You are not going to win that battle.  The body is a lot smarter and a lot more adaptable than we give it credit for.  Stop spending energy trying to “cheat the system.”  Spend that energy trying to change your habits and your mindset!  “Remind yourself that your body is a machine, counting calories all the time.  You have to learn to live within the rules of the machine.  You have to bend for it because it is not going to bend for you.” I don’t remember exactly where this quote came from, but I think it’s so helpful to illustrate this point as well!
  • Give yourself “the realist” pep talk.  You want to be optimistic, but you also need to be realistic about your goals.  Give yourself a pep talk as someone who is a “realist” and sees things as they are.  Remind yourself of other trends or plans you’ve tried…how did that work out for you?  A little reflection on this past year may be a wake-up call for those previous plans, strategies, or even just ways you approached your goals. If you’re shopping around for something else, then those previous plans clearly didn’t work out very well.  It’s not about finding the magic bullet, but it’s about staying the path to make true lifestyle changes…not to bounce from one fad to the next.  That’s not only annoying, but it’s not likely to give you long-term success.  It will just give you a headache and leave you feeling disappointed!
  • Stop trying to use food to solve your emotional and stressful problems!  Find other ways to take care of yourself that don’t include food, unless you are using food as a way to nourish and care for yourself.  Food doesn’t solve our emotional/stressful problems.  The only problem food solves is hunger.  End of story.
  • Small success creates confidence to build bigger success. You wouldn’t go from not working out at all (aka lifting 0 lbs) to trying to bench press 200 lbs.  You will start small and increase your weight over time.  Confidence and success work the same way.  Set small goals you know you can achieve.  As you achieve success, you build confidence in yourself, making it easier to achieve success in the future AND easier to tackle harder goals – because you’ve built that confidence to overcome barriers.  This creates a positive feedback loop of success, creating confidence to have bigger success, which gives a bigger confidence boost to fuel bigger success…and so on and so on.  Start with small goals that are almost “eye-rollingly easy” to ensure initial success you can feel good about and gain confidence from achieving.  That confidence will drive you to build on your goals and have more success and more confidence and more and more…

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on setting resolutions and staying away from the fads that surround the idea of living a healthy life!  Until next time, keep pursuing your fit life.  It’s a work in progress after all…

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