Check in: New Year’s Resolutions

I’m sure I am not the first to say this, but I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. While January 1 is the first day of a new year, and you can think of it as a clean slate, there’s nothing stopping you from saying that January 27 is a new day and it’s the day I am embarking on my journey.

The truth is that goal setting is a life-long process. I’m sure most of you have heard the acronym SMART Goals. Goals should be:

Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely.

By establishing achievable goals, you set yourself up to succeed. And the goal can be big or small.  Starting off small helps you to build your confidence so you can be successful.  Starting out on January 1 with a goal to lose 50 pounds maybe specific, measurable, attainable — but is it realistic or timely? Take the time to think about why 50 pounds? What will happen if you lose 50 pounds? Is your goal really about a number on the scale, or is it about better health? Or is it about how you feel about yourself? Some introspection goes a long way when setting these goals.

When working with clients, we start off with some short term goals, then build upon those to set goals for the mid-point, and finally goals for six months. Through the course of the six-month program, we continue to refine goals. Along the journey, you may find that it’s not about losing 50 pounds, it’s about setting up a routine for good nutrition. Or it could be about finding balance in other areas of your life, like career, relationships, or physical activity. Spending some time clarifying your goals really helps set you up for success, but it also forces you to think about your “why.”

So, it’s January 27. Let’s work on some goals!

  1. Write it down! When you write down your goals, it makes them concrete. Post them where you can see them every day, so you can keep them top of mind as you embark on this journey.
  2. Visualize the outcome. Create affirmations to help encourage yourself through each step of your action plan. How will you feel when you achieve your goal?
  3. Hold yourself accountable. Remember your “why.” Especially on tough days. Set up a support system to help with accountability. This could be an app to help you track steps or log food, it can be a close friend or family member, or it could be a health coach. Whatever works for you! Find your support system and rely on it to help you keep your eye on the prize!
  4. Schedule your time. You have to make time to make your dreams come true. Actually schedule activities on your calendar and make them as important as that big meeting, the kid’s soccer game, or any other obligation you have on your agenda.
  5. Make self-care a priority. If you don’t take care of yourself first, how can you take care of everyone else. What activities energize you? What rituals do you find relaxing and revitalizing? Build these into your activities to make sure you’re in your top form. Any mood boosting activity will help you stay positive and focused.

Dig deep and really get to the root of all the things you want to accomplish. Have some awesome goals you want to share? Let me know!

Interested in learning more about health coaching and how we can work together to help you achieve great things? Contact me to schedule a free session.

The food and mood connection

If you are reading this, chances are that you are actively focused on being healthy, getting healthy, or some other wellness related goals. A new year is a great time to start changing your habits, but don’t fall into the New Year’s resolution pitfalls of making your goals too lofty and unsustainable.

When incorporating new healthy routines, whether it’s fitness or nutrition or journaling or whatever, it’s important to connect to the “why” behind it. And to get to the bottom of the “why.” In some coaching guidance I received about goal setting, there’s this theory about the 5 whys. If your goal, for example, is “I want to lose 10 pounds,” ask yourself why, 5 times. It goes something like this:

  • I want to lose 10 pounds
  • Why?
  • So I can fit into my jeans
  • Why?
  • So I can feel better about myself
  • Why?
  • Because I want to build my self-esteem and confidence.
  • Why?
  • So I can take control of more things in my life.
  • Why?
  • So I can feel empowered to change the things I know I need to change.

So…and this is just an example, everyone has their own reasoning — is this really about the 10 pounds? Does the number on the scale really control you that much? I think diving into the rationale behind your goals really helps to structure a clear goal with a visible path forward.

I had this discussion with a client, and it led to a discussion about making some different decisions around meal planning and overall nutrition. When making a change like crowding out animal products or adding in healthy greens, one of the things that can make it feel like less of a sacrifice or deprivation is to track how that change makes you feel. How do you feel when you prepare it, when you eat it, when you get up the next day, or when you’ve done it for the first week? Do you notice improvements in energy, in your sleep, or your focus? Do you feel better that you are doing something for yourself? Seriously, think of all the feelings that food evokes. The notion of comfort food comes into play. If your comfort food in the past has been all the junky foods you’re trying to crowd out, ask yourself whether that food actually provided comfort, or was it a go-to in a mindless, irrational, emotional way?

When you start to pay attention to how you feel after crowding out something, or adding in something new, you start to get to the root of intuitive and mindful eating. This is not something instantaneous – it takes time. But aren’t you worth it?

This week, pick one of your new habits and journal about why you are doing it, and how it makes you feel. Just owning those feelings can be very empowering! And that’s how you nourish yourself, both on and off the plate.