Why Setting New Year’s Resolutions can Thwart your Success

Please don’t set New Year’s resolutions! At least not today, because it can unintentionally become permission to mistreat your body during the holidays. 

Think about how easy it is to shrug off bad decisions… with “what does it matter if I overeat, under-sleep or over-commit myself? It’s ‘that’ time of year.”

A promise of starting in January hangs on the idea that life becomes perfect – or at least normal – as we flip the calendar page from December to January. But it’s no different than “I’ll start Monday.” Both give false hope and promote an off-and-on lifestyle that doesn’t lead to sustained health and fitness.

The real reason someone doesn’t consistently engage in healthy habits is that she gives other things greater priority. And that’s okay as long as it’s intentional. But when a busy schedule and over-stressed emotions are allowed to take over, and life develops an emergency feel, there is no room for wellness.

New Year's Resolutions
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When “New Year’s resolutions” and “starting Monday” kinds of thinking are a pattern, it’s hard to step back and determine what’s needed in order to ultimately be successful. That’s because it promotes a belief that circumstances need to be better or we need to feel more motivated. The inevitable failures that come are energy draining, and undermine the self-confidence necessary to know that our health and weight loss goals can be achieved. That a healthy lifestyle is always possible. 

My favorite definition of commitment is the ability to follow through with a worthwhile decision once the emotion of making the decision has passed.  Once a commitment is made it’s time to live it—now—not put it off to an idyllic future time.  

No matter what this month holds for you, your work and your family, be intentional with your wellbeing. Take small daily steps that keep you on track with your healthy habits so that come January you feel confident in setting any goal you want.

This is how I know someone is serious about getting fit and healthy

Right now is an unlikely starting point for healthy habits. I mean, we’re mere weeks away from Halloween. The year is “almost over.” The holidays will be here before we know it.

But when someone does start now, I know… she’s committed, which means she’s more likely to follow through, no matter what life throws her way.

You might wonder how I can know that she’s not taking on too much or being unrealistic about what can be done. Honestly, I don’t. 

What I do know is that she’s not waiting for the right time, for life to get back to normal or her schedule to calm down. That if she’s decided something needs to change and she’s willing to take action, the foundation for transformation is there. 

Think about a time when you’ve decided to take action, even though it would be easier not to. Like enrolling in night classes to finish a degree while working full time with a toddler at home. Or signing up to train for a marathon while taking care of your aging parents and running a business. 

Being willing to take action and move forward when life isn’t perfect indicates a seriousness about the desire to change. So I know that when someone hires me as her coach in the fourth quarter, she’s ready to dive in and make the necessary shifts for greater wellbeing.

Because really, there’s never a better time to start feeling better. 

getting fit
Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash

And just imagine, if someone who does start her healthy habits now can get through the next few months, the muscle she’s building for taking action – even with tough circumstances – is incredible.  

Maybe you have a hard time getting motivated to even start healthy habits, or you’ve been inconsistent and feel like you’ve let yourself down. Or maybe you regularly pursue a healthy lifestyle, but you’re in a bit of a rut. If so, now is the perfect time to commit to change.

My challenge to you is this: intentionally choose the habits you want to change, add or subtract right now. Set a timeline to step-by-step implement the changes. Take small steps every day. And by the way, if you want a roadmap to establish a foundation and develop strategies for change, I’ve got a cost-effective tool for you here.

It’s not important that you lose 27 lbs by December 31st or that you massively change your diet and reduce your medications in the next 86 days. It’s about who you are becoming – the muscle you are building – by taking action everyday that feels uncomfortable. Because the more you take those actions, the less uncomfortable they become. 

And that’s when you’re ready for the next round of change. 

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