Somehow it's already that time of year again?? There's a crispness to the air, kids are heading back to school, everyone's schedules are different this year, we're all adjusting - AGAIN - where did the time go. You may find yourself wondering... how will I prioritize my healthy habits through this season of life?
If you're anything like most people, you've found yourself in a similar predicament, asking similar questions before, determined to harness the season change to your advantage and overhaul your diet and lifestyle. And, if you're anything like most people, you may have found yourself fizzling out on this plan just days or maybe weeks into it. "Ah, that was good enough... do I really care that much about this anyway? I just don't have the time!" ... sound familiar? While you certainly had the right idea and best intentions, without a realistic goal and a corresponding plan of attack, your efforts were futile. So let's talk about a few common pitfalls when it comes to goal setting, routine and schedule changes, and offer up some pointers to help you get it done right this time!
1. Trying to do Everything all at once - especially if you're feeling like you've veered pretty far off course, this one can be a tempting trap to fall into. Making big sweeping changes overnight is already difficult to maintain on its own, but with the added layer of changing routines and no real plan in place, this can be a recipe for disaster. Typically this setup lands us in the "yo-yo" phase. Big swings of on again off again, where progress gets defeated and sometimes we end up worse off than if we had never started in the first place. Instead of making the emotionally charged (often times a result of negative self-image and talk) chaotic decision to flip everything over on it's head TOMORROW, choose one or two areas to focus on, and devise a plan of attack. Make a list of the things you're already doing really well - maybe you've been drinking a lot of water daily, getting a decent amount of steps in, or solid and consistent sleep. Keep yourself committed to these pros you've already got going for you, and layer on one or two more realistic habits you can bring in daily. "I will wake up 10 minutes earlier and take the dog for a walk." "I will eat an extra serving of veggies every day". "I will go to bed 30 mins earlier.". Choose one or two to start, and stick with it.
2. Vague Goal Setting - similar to the first one, but important enough to repeat and say it a different way: a successful goal is specific and actionable. When our language around this topic is vague "I wanna get in shape", "I wanna eat better", "I wanna be healthier", we have nothing concrete to adhere to in order to actually get there. Maybe we don't know when we've even arrived, because we haven't clearly defined where "there" even is. What does it look like to you to be healthier, fitter, nourished? Start with the specifics of where you want to be, and then set specific and actionable goals to get there. So we go from "I wanna get in shape" to "I want to lose 5 lbs. in one month" to "I'm going to walk an extra 5k steps a day and only eat out 2x/week". Break it down into actionable and measurable goals, so you have a reference point as you move through it.
3. All or Nothing Mindset - let's face it - things come up. Maybe you're up against a hard deadline at work, your babysitter fell through, feeling a little under the weather, at some time or another something will show up and you will have to deal with it instead of staying committed to your clearly defined goals. This is really okay. If you have a solid and consistent foundation built with healthy habits, missing a day or two or more is not the end of the world and not going to derail all of your progress. You move through it and get back to it next time, no problem. But what our minds tend to want to do when this happens is keep it rolling and make excuses that prevent us from getting back to it. Our mind is not our friend in this scenario! All or nothing is a lie, the truth is ANYTHING is better than nothing. Getting back to it sooner, letting a shorter workout suffice, or making a healthier meal choice at a fast food restaurant, IS BETTER than an extra day of no healthy habits, no workout, or an all out junk binge. If you can recognize that this is a thought, a story, a mind trick, and not reality - you'll know you can always make a healthier choice even when the circumstances are less than ideal, and you'll move through these challenges in a tactful and beneficial way.
4. Not Enough Planning - so far we've talked a lot about mindset (it's a big deal!) but without some proper planning and preparation, it's going to be near impossible to stick to your goals. Having a goal is great, but have you ever had a goal and just... kept not doing it? Not hitting it? What's the deal here, clearly it must be me and something I'm not good at/can't do. No! Does a plane just magically hover into the air and reach its cruising altitude in and instant? There are many stages to get to take-off, pre-flight checks, onboarding, safety checks, starting down the runway to hit the right speed, lift-off, wheels up, then still the time it takes to get up there. Set yourself up for success by gathering all of the necessary things and putting a plan in place before you start. Carve out some time on the weekend for meal prep, have healthy snacks you can grab stocked up and ready to go throughout the week. If there is a day you know is going to be particularly stacked and difficult, carve out some downtime for yourself before or after then. Lay out your gym clothes the night before, put your supplements next to your water bottle, whatever it takes to have what you need where you need it, when you need it, so you're not running around in the moment or just missing opportunities as the week rolls on and gets busier. Set yourself up for success, get creative. If and when you miss, consider what went wrong, and how you can set it up better for yourself next time.
5. All Talk - You've probably heard before that you should tell other people about a goal you want to hit, because it will help serve as accountability. This can be a useful tool for some, sometimes, but according to psychologist Marwa Azab, announcing your goals might actually be preventing you from achieving them. This is because both talking about and achieving your goal releases dopamine, making it impossible for your brain to tell the difference. So the more you talk about it, instead of doing it, the more the brain is getting what it needs, and the less likely you are to actually do it! Our suggestion? Talk less, do more. If it feels powerful for you to speak your goal into existence, go for it, but then, get to work. This goes for the mental chatter, too, all the ways your thoughts will try to run the show, creating a convincing argument for why this moment is not actually the right one to get started. Clear out the mind, and just do the thing, one step at a time. You've got this.
If you're ready to carve out some time in your new routine for a killer workout with great community and coaches to keep you motivated, click the link below to get started with your FREE 14 day trial as we head into the Fall!