Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New You? The ABC's of Reaching Your Goals

Happy New Year! It's Day 2 of January - how go the resolutions? I noticed something odd today in the gym... it wasn't packed. Why is that odd? Because it's Jan.2. Traditionally, this is the first day of the Resolutioners Invasion. They come in, sign up, and crowd the gym. A huge part of me loves this - after all, I'm a former Resolutioner myself and I am thrilled to see new faces with passion and drive to achieve their goals. Go Get 'Em!! A small part of me isn't so happy with all the new faces. It's the cynical part of me - she knows that the vast majority of these folks won't be here in a couple more weeks - some won't even make it through the first week of their Resolutions.  I mentioned that's the cynical part of me, right? ;-) 

But today.... the gym was quiet. Didn't notice any new faces. There was plenty of parking, and I didn't have to wait for any of the machines (though one guy kept working in on my set and leaving the pulley up so high I had to jump for it to move it back). As I worked, I wondered why the Resolutioners weren't here. I wonder if it's because Day 2 falls on a Wednesday, and they're already putting off getting started, telling themselves, "I'll start Monday". 

Speaking as a former Resolutioner, I can say with absolute authority that getting started is crucial. Sounds a little silly doesn't it, but really - if you don't start, you'll never finish. Doesn't matter necessarily, whether it's Jan 1 or Dec 31. Just don't put it off. You want to change? You have to start the process. A wonderful friend of mine, @TheIronPirateKaptain, (she's also a fellow Eat Clean Diet Ambassador) is hosting a lifestyle change challenge on her facebook page, and invited me to guest blog. My post went up yesterday, and I wanted to share it here with you. Though the challenge is closed, you can follow along on her blog - she's a great gal and a huge inspiration. 

New Year, New You? Or will it just be the same’ol flash in the pan? For so many of us, January 1st marks the launch of New Year Resolutions that generally peter out and finally go kaput around January 15th. Why? Why is it so difficult to start something AND finish it?

Here’s the super-secret answer: B’cause it’s HARD. Yes, it’s really that simple. We begin our journey full of energy and passion, and within a few weeks (sometimes days), that passion is fizzled and our energy is frazzled. Once the energy and passion are MIA, motivation goes POOF!

So… how do we prevent it? Here’s another super-secret answer… We DON’T. This is real life. We don’t live in a bubble and can’t use a magic wand to eliminate obstacles. We can, however, be prepared.  Prepare for what? Here is a glimpse down the road: we’re going to hurt, stumble, cry, hunger, want to give up and walk away. 

Gee, Chelle – thanks for the positivity. Want positive? Read a fortune cookie. Want to finish what you start? Keep reading.

The reality is (remember the super-secret answer?) this is HARD. But… it’s doable, and let me tell you right now – it’s worth it. So… you know what’s ahead, now let’s prepare for it. There are three things that can help us finish the journey… and they’re as simple as ABC.

A)    Accountability    B)  Behavior     C)  Compassion

Accountability. Remember Yoda? Do or Do Not, There Is No Try. Well, there is if you don’t tell anyone what you’re up to. Let’s ditch that loophole, and quit “trying”. Tell Someone. What’s your goal? Speak it, write it, put it out there. When people know what we’re working toward, they can help keep us accountable to that goal – and to ourselves. We’re pretty darn good at letting ourselves down, aren't we? But isn't it true that we’ll move mountains to prevent ourselves from letting someone else down? When our motivation or energy flag, when we’re feeling blah, or tempted or whatever – make it known. Accountability. It’s a tool. Use it.

Behavior. What do we do when we run out of motivation? We act like we didn't  Yep. Use your behavior to create the change you want. Don’t wanna work out? Do it anyway. Don’t wanna cook? Do it anyway. Don’t wanna eat healthy? Do it anyway. ACT as if you’re fully motivated and fully engaged in your goals. Do not wait for motivation – it’s like a butterfly, flitting in and out of our lives. If you wait, you will find yourself never changing, never growing, always waiting. Behave as if it’s there, and let motivation catch up to YOU.

Compassion. Cut yourself some slack. We’re our own worst critics. And we’re brutal. Yes, we need to be committed and disciplined. No, we don’t need to rip ourselves up when we slip. It’s going to happen, so when it does, don’t treat yourself like something you stepped in. Being prepared means knowing that mistakes will be made, and when they are, you pick yourself back up and move on. Really, would you ever say to someone else the things you say to yourself in your head? Be compassionate - to you.

Am I making it sound like it’s “easy”? It’s not. I know it’s not. I've walked this road myself. There are hills, ditches, roadblocks, detours and wrong turns. I've been there – and my journey isn't over yet. January 2, 2007 I walked into a gym and changed my life. It wasn't easy – I sweat, cried, burned – and reached my goal. I lost over 80 lbs, and have kept them off for 4+ years.  I’m proof that you CAN do this. You ABSOLUTELY can do this! 

The road to change is waiting - C’mon, ya’ll…. ROAD TRIP!!!!

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