New Years and Resolutions are two words that seem to go hand in hand. Though resolutions made with good intentions often fall by the wayside without a good plan.
I know I’ve been so guilty of that. In the past, I have declared I will lose weight or eat better. Though these vague ideas lead to frustration, inaction, and negative self-talk. Eventually, the idea becomes too much disappointment, and I give up.
Here are the steps that I started using to help make them stick. Please comment if you think these steps will help you, or if you have success using a different process.
Step 1: Start with ONE action statement that is specific, realistic, with a timeline
· For example, “I will work to lose 5 pounds by February, by giving up soda and exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes.”
· This statement gives me two specific actions I can take, first, take all the soda out of the house make sure my husband doesn’t buy any.
Step 2: Take a calendar and schedule it
· I will schedule Monday, Weds, and Friday throughout January alternating between yoga and walking for my exercise
Step 3: Pick a way to check in your progress
· I will weigh myself every Friday to see if there is progress and decide if I need to readjust or feel strong enough to add another step like having a protein smoothie for breakfast or workout one more time a week.
Step 4: Take Action while keeping track on your calendar or a check-off list you’ve made
· I will check off my calendar for every exercise I have done and if need reschedule to make sure I’m still completing three a week
Step 5: Celebrate and Reward Yourself
· In the past, this is the step I’ve always left off but it is so vital not only for forward
momentum but for your shift in mindset helping rid of all that negative self-talk.
· Think of something you might want such as a new shirt or lipstick or something that makes you feel more confident.
The key to habit changing is to start with small tangible ideas that you can actually do. You could say you’re going to the gym 6 days a week at 5 am even though you’ve never got up once before 6 o’clock. It sounds like a great idea at the time, but in the end, you are setting yourself up for failure.
New habits require stacking and replacing. So, let’s go back to the soda. Think about when you drink the soda and why you drink it. For me, I would drink at lunch for a mid-day pick me up because I love the carbonation, sugar, and caffeine. Therefore, I can try to replace that with a seltzer water at that time since it’s better for me to see if it would stick to still get me through the mid-day hump.
Exercise is always the tricky one for me, I always have good intentions and then something gets my way. I found that making my first steps smaller really helped. I would like to say I’m going to lift weights and go to the gym six times a week. But am I realistically going to do that?
I’m more likely to do a walk in the morning or do yoga. For me, when I focused on walking and getting outside to get fresh air, I felt better. When I do yoga, both my body and mind felt better. However, when I do aerobics, I felt a bit better, but I would find myself making more excuses leading to more failed attempts. Therefore, rather than keep beating myself up for just talking a walk, I added a morning walk to my morning routine. This choice is easier to make on days I don't feel motivated. And many times, when we don’t feel motivated, we give up.
However, personally, I found Mel Robbin’s explanation of motivation to be an eye-opener. “Motivation is garbage. You’re making a mistake if you think at some point, you’ll feel ready to do that thing you’ve been thinking about…You can’t control whether or not you’ll wake up and feel motivated, but you can always choose what you think or do next.”
Therefore, it’s not about waiting to be motivated, it’s about making that decision to take action and using that feeling of accomplishment as a reminder to keep going. Write yourself a note about how you felt at that moment and leave it on your mirror for tomorrow when you don’t feel “motivated,” to still choose to take action.
The other aspect that helps me keep taking this action is finding an accountability partner(s). When you state to another person what you intend to do, it helps to keep your forward momentum going and when you are in a slump reaching out to them can give you that extra push you need. I found accountability partners in my journey to be invaluable. From having a friend to share my morning walk with to a person who would support me when I was feeling weak.
The difficulties I found in creating my own routines, finding what I thought I needed in motivation, and consistent accountability partners created a desire in me to create a community where moms could learn new habits that work for us while having the grace and support of others alongside you.
For me, I felt lost in motherhood, who I was, what I liked to do, and how to be my true authentic self. I wanted to provide a space for other mothers to come together and learn how to put that oxygen mask on ourselves first through self-care and give each other grace and support as we keep each other accountable in this new journey.
Starting Jan 20th, our six-week live zoom course will begin. In this course, you will rediscover yourself after motherhood while having the accountability and support of Your Circle of Grace. Please click on this link for more information, and I'd love to answer any of your questions with a free consultation. Together we will create this community of empowered moms.