A really big piece of self care is taking the time to care for your body in ways that sustain, revitalize and strengthen it. Let’s face it, without our health, we are in BIG trouble-we’ve got nothing. When we don’t take care of our bodies, we run the risk of getting sick and not being able to do the things we want to do or are meant to do.
I know for me, when I’m not movin’, I’m not groovin’-meaning, i feel really stagnant. I feel like somebody backed up a cement truck while I was sleeping and poured me full of concrete. Everything feels heavy and hard when I’m not practicing my physical self care.
However, there was a time where I remember setting these ridiculous New Years resolutions. By February I could never even remember what they were. Or maybe I wanted to forget-it was always lose 15 pounds or ‘eat healthier’ -very generic, very un-motivating.
New Years resolutions set me up every year for disappointment, frustration and saddness. I wanted to achieve my goals, I wanted to succeed. But I failed to really understand how to set goals that actually stuck.
There are so many incredible benefits to physical self care and movement -sleeping better, improved brain function, and reduced risk of illness and disease. But for me, I was so focused on the weight loss and looking good to impress others, that I never even thought about how great physical movement made me feel and what all the other amazing benefits would do for me.
Why are resolutions so difficult to keep? What can we do instead to make lasting, healthy change?
Here are five reasons New Year’s resolutions suck, and what you can do instead.
1). They are usually goals that deep down, you may not really care about.
You think you ‘should’ do or create, not actual goals that inspire you on a deep level. “I’m going to lose 20 pounds” or “I’m going to save money” sound like great, objectively good goals.
If you aren’t passionate about these things or are only doing them based on outside opinion, (which was ALWAYS the case with me) you aren’t going to have the motivation to stick through changing your habits.
Your goal must inspire you on all levels.
Losing 20 pounds NEVER sounded inspiring or felt inspiring to me. I always did it, but I hated it. I hated every second of it. It felt cold, torturous and like punishment.
2). New Year’s Resolutions don’t really give you a good reason to push through the challenging times.
It’s no surprise that old habits will pop up. It’s how we as humans are hard wired. So when the goal doesn’t fill you with passion or excitement, it now becomes grueling and something that is permissible to skip out on. Like sitting on the couch binging on Netflix instead of getting up an hour early to go to yoga class.
Those little habits are just so tempting and easy to slide back into.
3). Most New Year’s Resolutions are vague.
So consider my yearly goal of losing 5, 15 or 20 pounds. I never really had a plan to ditch the weight. There were times that I had a loose plan, but the moment I lost the weight, I would always be done with the program and gain all the weight back.
I never really asked myself questions like-what habits need to change in your life to make these things happen? What support do you need to reach these goals? How will you monitor your progress? Is there a time limit on them?
A well-formed goal is concrete, detailed, and results are measurable.
This way you can tweak and adjust as you go. You can keep taking action, view the results and adjust over and over. I just pulled something out of thin air, and usually went with it because it sounded good ( and because diet culture told me I should be thinner-but we will get to that in another episode).
4). New Years Goals are almost always set in the negative.
New Year’s resolutions have us trying to move away from something we don’t want, like being overweight, rather than towards something we want, like being a healthy weight, being able to deal with stress in a healthy manner
For a goal to be really worth your time, you must move towards something you do want, rather than just move away from something you don’t want.
A good goal is set in the positive, moving you towards who you want to BE.
5). New Year’s Resolutions give you a good reason to beat yourself up.
Quite frankly, for most of us, resolutions make us feel like failures. Because they haven’t really been thought through, they are so easy to give up on. This is exactly why you couldn’t get a spot on the gym floor in January and now you’ve practically got the whole class to yourself come February.
Listen, not a single one of us needs more of a reason to be mean to ourselves. Most of us do a really great job at that. But when you’re setting goals the wrong way and being a victim to what culture says is appropriate or acceptable, then exercise and physical self care more than likely will always feel like punishment.
So how can you set intentions or goals that WORK? How can you set yourself up for success to BE, DO and HAVE all that you desire in the new year?
1). Decide how you want to feel.
Smashing a goal is really about deciding how you want to feel. Instead of placing your focus on, “I want to lose 20 pounds,” focus on something more positive. Saying “ I want to feel light, energetic and strong,” is much different than focusing on the negative of losing 20 pounds. It feels powerful, it feels positive. Its fuel to get you through the challenging periods.
When you want to lie down and creep back into old habit and patterns, focusing on how you want to FEEL really gets you through.
2). Set your goals in the positive.
So now that you know how you want to feel, it’s time to identify thought patterns and behaviors that hold you back from how you want to feel. What are the fears that come up around reaching your goals, what limiting thoughts might you tell yourself about why you can’t achieve your goals?
Identifying and building awareness around what is holding you back is imperative to move forward.
3). Reward yourself along the way.
A reward is anything that brings you pleasure. Any step IS a step in the right direction and is something to celebrate. This motivates you to maintain focus and keep winning. It is a way to program yourself for long term achievement and happiness. You could reward yourself with fresh flowers, a long walk, your favorite cup of tea, spending 30 minutes reading a great book, calling a friend, watch your favorite T.V. show, breathe in your favorite essential oil, walk around target by yourself, enjoy a cup of delicious apple cider, listen to a podcast, enjoy a wonderful glass of wine-it really could be anything that brings you just a little spark of joy.
Celebrating yourself is something that we women in particular really struggle with. It’s easy to want to keep moving forward, but slowing down enough to enjoy and celebrate the wins makes the journey so much more sustainable in the long run.