Resolution or Road Block
I opened my e-mail this morning to find an article entitled, “Have you given up on your resolution?” Mid-January is notorious for being the time that many people quit striving toward the pledges they made just a few weeks before. Just enough time has passed to become discouraged by a lack of progress toward an unrealistic goal and you start to lose steam.
I know I’ve fallen victim to that mindset in the past and it would have been easy to do it again this year. I had big plans for how I was going to start this new year. I had my blog posts scheduled out, my workouts planned and everything mapped to a tee. You can start snickering now, because you can guess how that worked out – a client project blew up, I got sick and now I’m behind on everything.
Instead of giving up, I reset my expectations and refocused on my goal. The process I’m learning for goal setting focuses on small incremental change that is sustainable over time. The hard part for me is limiting what I want to accomplish. I used to make an enormous list of all the things I wanted to achieve that year. When I looked back at the end of the year and had only completed a few items on the list, I would be discouraged instead of celebrating that I made big steps forward. This year, I’ve limited my goals to two. I may add others if I achieve these two before the year is over, but I’m completely committed to these two goals with laser focus.
Second, I make sure that my goal really represents what I want. I set the goal to build healthy routines that support me in living an active, healthy life. Sure I’d love to wear the size I wore 20 years ago, but I’m not sure that’s realistic. What I really want is to be healthy and active. When I started working from home, I lost my exercise and food routines that I’d set up for my office schedule and I don’t feel as fit as I did before. The nice thing about this goal is it leaves it open for me to try new things if something isn’t working and I don’t set myself up for failure if I don’t lose x number of pounds. I’ve created a new workout schedule that I’ve been able to stick with and I’m consciously planning healthy meals at home while monitoring how often I eat out.
Finally, I make sure I’m very clear about why I want to achieve this goal. For me, being active and healthy means I can do the things I want like dance with my niece and bowl with my nephew. I’m not motivated by a new dress, but I am determined to ride my bike to the farmers market and swim a mile and a half with ease. Staying focused on what I will get by achieving this goal is enough to get me through that last set of push-ups and to skip the hamburger.
My brother-in-law Shane inspired me over New Year’s Day dinner when he told me his resolution. He has a day job in high tech sales and also opened a brewery last year where he and his business partner dedicate nights and weekends to turning out great beer. Eventually the brewery will be his full-time job, but until then he is on the road more than he’d like which led him to eating fast food as often as two meals a day. Needless to say, it was showing up in his waistline and he was feeling fatigued which was robbing him of quality time when he was with the family.
His promise to himself this year was to eat healthier and he quickly identified that cutting out the fast food would be an easy way to accomplish that goal. We talked at length about how he was going to pull this off while he maintains two jobs and a heavy travel schedule. He came up with the following:
- He takes food to the brewery each week so that he can make his own meals.
- He has identified several grocery stores between the house and the brewery who sell packaged meals that he can pick up when he doesn’t have food at the brewery or time to make something.
- We came up with a list of healthy options he can usually find on the road when traveling. Having run the airport food gauntlet for several years myself, I know this is no small feat. Surprisingly, Starbucks is one of your best friends on the road – they are everywhere and they sell sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, protein plates and healthy snacks. If you skip the sugary coffee drinks and the pastries, you can easily put together a healthy meal on the road.
I checked in with Shane this weekend and he said the plan is working. He hasn’t been to a fast food restaurant yet this year and hasn’t missed it. He’s losing weight (not the goal, but a byproduct) and feels better. Nice job Shane!
Did you set resolutions this year? If so, are you still working toward them or have you given up? Do you need to reframe your goal so you are focused on what you really want? How can you turn that road block into a promise that you keep?
Find your inspiration and go for it! And let me know if I can help. I love a good challenge and the road blocks are easier when you have someone helping you over.