We have all had it happen. We set out to accomplish something big. Maybe it's a race, or trying to fit into a particular outfit for an event. We start out super motivated and ready to conquer the world! Day 1 is always the best. We are hyper-focused and ready to tackle the world! We have food planned out and prepped for the week. We hit the gym every day, making every workout a butt-kicking to remember. No excuses, right? A few days go by and everything is still on track, but our interest is starting to slowly wain. Week #2 is still on track for the most part. Then, week 3 kicks in and the wheels start to fall off. The alarm goes off for the early morning workout and we decide to hit the snooze button and vow to get the workout in later in the day. It doesn't happen. We forget to prepare something healthy to take for lunch so we decide to just run through a fast food drive-thru "just for today". No worries. We will get back on track tomorrow. Tomorrow becomes a repeat performance of today. Now it's Wednesday and we figure that we might as well wait until next Monday to start again. Why start back over in the middle of the week, right? So, we skip the workouts and we overindulge in eating because we "will make up for it next week". Why do we do this to ourselves over and over again? I believe one of the biggest reasons that this happens is because we think that perfection is the only way to be successful. We can never have a piece of cake. We can't miss a single workout. And, when we fail (by our own definition of failure), we think that we are weak. We have no will power. How is it that everyone else is stronger than me? They aren't. They are just realistic. Here are some things to help you stay on track and get back on track if you fall off.
1. Set goals and write them down. Your goals should be challenging to reach, but realistic. They should be specific and measurable. Just a goal of "losing weight" is not going to get you there. For example, if you want to start running, set a specific goal like "I want to run the New Year's Day 5k that takes place in 12 weeks". That is a specific goal that is measurable. You put the date on your calendar, you tell your friends that you are training for this event, then you get busy.
2. Share your goals with the people closest to you. Write in on your mirror. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell your co-workers. The more people you tell, the more likely people are to ask you about your progress. Accountability is a huge help in reaching goals.
3. Allow for some changes in plans. Perfection is not only very unlikely, but is not realistic or sustainable. Instead of saying that you are not going to eat anything "bad", figure out a way that you can still enjoy some of the things that you love in a reasonable manner. Maybe you decide to have a small treat each day after lunch or maybe it's something you do once per week on Friday afternoons. This will keep you from binging and feeling terrible afterward. Missed one run on your schedule? It isn't the end of the world. Get back on schedule the next day and move on. Maybe you got your run in, but but was less than stellar. Guess what? We all have bad workouts. It's part of the deal. The challenge is moving on and focusing on the goal at hand, not dwelling on the setbacks.
Ready to tackle your next goal? Don't wait until January 1st to do it. Let's go!