You’ve made your resolutions. You’ve joined a gym. You’ve cleared the “bad food” from your house. You’ve made a plan. Now what?
When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, some people make it 6 months before giving up, but most people give up before January even ends!
While setting goals for yourself is important, it’s equally-if not more-important to execute your goals in an effective way.
If you’re still going strong with your resolutions, keep going! You’re doing great!
If you’re one of the people who’s already fallen off the wagon, or you’re on your way down, it may be time to re-evaluate and figure out what went wrong.
In my experience, I’ve found that people typically make one of 4 mistakes when they get started on their resolutions:
Mistake #1: Going “All In”
A lot of people take the “all or nothing” approach to goals and resolutions. They’ll do a complete diet overhaul, and remove a ton of stuff at once. Or, they’ll say that they want to commit to 5 days a week at the gym….when they’ve never gone 1 day a week before now. The all or nothing approach is not sustainable. If you’ve never gone to the gym, and suddenly you decide you want to go 5 days a week….it won’t end well. You’ll burn out after a few weeks, and then all of a sudden you’re not going at all anymore. With diet, doing a complete overhaul is ALSO not sustainable. If you removed every single “bad” food item from your diet-including all the foods you love-how long could you do that for? A month? Maybe a month and a half? It’s not realistic to replace your favorite foods with foods you don’t like.
What To Do Instead
START SLOW. If you never went to a gym before now, start with 2 days a week. Commit to going to the gym just twice a week. After you’ve been able to do that for a month, add another day. And so on. Don’t just jump into 5 days a week right off the bat! In addition to your gym time, you can plan things to do outside of going to the gym that will keep you active-such as taking more walks, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting up and moving at least once an hour. These are all small things that you can add to your daily routine that will add up to more active hours.
It’s the same idea for your diet. Start by changing ONE thing. ONE. THING. This could be as simple as buying whole wheat bread instead of white, or bringing lunch to work a few days a week instead of going out. Choose one small thing that’s easy to fix and start there. Do that one thing for 2 weeks, then add another. Instead of changing your entire diet at once, you’re doing it in a more slow and controlled way. AKA: you’re making lifestyle changes that are easy to sustain. Lifestyle changes are much better than a diet that you’ll break after a month.
Mistake #2: Wanting and Expecting Quick Results/Using Fads To Get Them
If something promises you quick results…as in less than a month…question it. If you have to spend hundreds of dollars on shakes or pills or supplements….question it. Change takes time. People are so obsessed with seeing instant results. Many people think that just one month is enough time for them to see results from whatever diet and exercise goals they set for themselves. And you just might see results in a month! But that doesn’t mean you should stop what you’ve been doing. Seeing change and seeing results should motivate you to keep going. Too many people end up like that picture above: they do one month of some fad diet or fad workout and they think that’s enough. And then they end up in worse shape than they were before they started! I can’t tell you how many clients come in with that exact story.
What To Do Instead
SLOW PROGRESS IS BETTER THAN NO PROGRESS. Lifestyle changes take time. Body transformation takes time. These things are not instant. Anyone that tells you otherwise is either trying to steal your money or has no idea what they’re talking about. You are starting a health journey. It’s not a health sprint. Any changes you make now should be sustainable for the rest of your life. You never want to go back to the “before”, and you certainly never want to get worse than the “before”. This is where making small changes is so key. Those small changes will add up and add up and add up. You know the saying, “slow and steady wins the race”? Apply that to your resolutions!
Mistake #3: Not Asking for Help
If you’ve never been to a gym before, how are you supposed to know how to use the machines…or even what you should be doing in order to reach your goals? Too many people join gyms thinking they can do it themselves. And when they can’t, they quit. They get so discouraged that they aren’t seeing results from the workouts they are doing that they just stop. This applies to diet changes too-how are you supposed to know what you should or shouldn’t change? I mean, obviously most people know what foods are “good” and what foods are “bad”, but there’s also a lot of gray area with those good and bad foods. Same thing with supplements-do you need protein powder in your diet? Do you need to take a multivitamin? How are you supposed to know?!
What To Do Instead
ASK FOR HELP. Most gyms offer complimentary training sessions for new members. It won’t hurt to take advantage of that and see if a personal trainer would help you. If in-person training isn’t in your budget, online coaching might be a better choice for you. Check out this article to see if online coaching is something that could work for you. If you are truly concerned about your diet, go see a registered dietician. Ask your PCP if they could recommend one for you! Want to know a secret? I went to an RD for 6 months last year! And I have a nutrition coaching certification! Yup-even I needed help. I honestly believe that every single person would benefit from talking to an RD at least once. If you just have general questions and just need some guidance, find a trainer that also has a nutrition certification (hi!!! I do!)
Mistake #4: Putting Severe Limitations on Yourself
This one kind of falls under the “all or nothing” category. Cutting whole groups of foods out of your diet isn’t necessary, and isn’t sustainable. You need carbs for energy-not all carbs are bad! I’m using carbs as an example because that’s what I always hear the most…”I cut carbs to lose weight”. Cutting carbs will likely cut some of your favorite foods out of your diet. If you replace those foods with food that you absolutely HATE eating, it won’t be long before those foods that were cut start creeping back in.
What To Do Instead
PLAN CHEAT MEALS. Now, a cheat meal doesn’t mean a cheat DAY. This is another mistake I see a lot…people think they can cheat for an entire day and still be fine. Don’t do that. Plan for 2-3 meals during the week that you can eat the foods you like. It’s helpful to plan these on days that you have plans to go out to eat, or have an event. For example, if it’s your best friend’s birthday on Saturday night and you know you’re going out to dinner, there’s one cheat meal. I like planning at least two, and then if I end up having a third then it’s no big deal. Stuff happens….maybe you forgot your lunch and need to buy at work, maybe you got home really late and just don’t feel like making dinner, or maybe the meals that you prepped went bad and you need a quick replacement (this happened to me once!). The goal with cheat meals is to eat food you enjoy so that you don’t go crazy with cravings. I love pizza, like love love love LOVE it, so one of my cheat meals is usually pizza! Believe me, giving into small cravings once in awhile to stay sane is much better in the long run.
Side note: I don’t eat pizza every week. Sometimes, I don’t even have a full cheat meal, I’ll have a cheat snack. Like a cupcake, or some chips and salsa, or a candy bar. It doesn’t have to be a whole meal!
If you find yourself making any of these mistakes, stop what you’re doing and re-evaluate. How can you do better? How can you make positive, lifestyle changes that are sustainable?
If you need help with any of this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! Together, we can crush your goals in the safest and most effective way possible!