The TOP 5 Ways to Finally Achieve your New Year's Resolutions.
It’s that time of year again. Once all the gifts have been unwrapped, food has been eaten, and celebration of the year has come and gone, we enter the most motivational time of year. This of course is when the vast majority of people tell themselves about all the changes they are going to make and create a list of one or many, “New Years Resolutions”.
For some, this will be a year of triumph, weight will be lost, inches on waists will shrink, and the proud feeling of accomplishment will be found.
For most others, the year will start with a fire inside by maybe joining a gym, meal prepping for a few weeks, and feeling motivated to make this year “My Year” only to end almost as quick as it begins.
Before we get to that, let’s look at some interesting statistics revolving this topic.
According to the rhythm-of-food.net, which uses Google search interest to analyze and reveal food trends over the years, theirs a common them starting in January. The following are images of some of the most popular food related searches: Kale, chia, quinoa, smoothie, and diet.
As you can see, from the colored bars, there is a steady decline of searches throughout each month, only to dive bomb in December and then dramatically increase in January.
If the goal is to make health a lifestyle, logical thinking would mean that this graph should be more balanced. Let’s take “kale” as an example and look to see how this is searched in Japan.
As you can see, much more balance but in the US the pattern stays the same. Peaking in January only to tail off through the year and fall off a cliff in December. Obviously in certain seasons there will be more searches than others, ex: "Hot Chocolate" searches in winter or "Fruit Salad" in the summer. However, the stats highlight the mentality that exists. People just fall off the wagon eventually and never get back on.
Culturally, the United States has a different attitude about food than other countries. With all the advancements in technology, wellness, and new diets/nutrition education coming out frequently, one would think the US would be one of the healthiest of the major countries worldwide but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
For the record though, it’s not like every country in the world is making serious progress in fighting obesity and diseases. Some countries have small populations which can contribute to higher overall obesity numbers per citizen. However, with the abundance of resources this country has to offer, it’s disturbing how in September 2010, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development published that 28% of all US residents are medically classified as obese. This doesn’t include a person who could be considered overweight either, strictly obese. To put that in greater perspective, every time you step outside your home and count the first 4 people you see, there's a greater than 25% chance you'll see someone who is obese.
As of 2015, according to the American Diabetes Association, 30.3 million Americans (9.4% of the population) have diabetes. Senior Citizens (65 years or older) have the highest rate at 25.2%, (12 million seniors) and nearly 1/3 of the entire population of the country 18 years or older (84.1 Million Americans) are pre-diabetic. 1.5 million new cases are diagnosed every year. These are huge amounts of the population of what many believe to be the greatest country in the world. Is it too much to ask for healthiest to be the goal as well?
Now, in 2018, US life expectancy is 78 years of age, which is only an 8 year increase since 1960! In that same amount of time, let’s take another look at Japan, who’s life expectancy has risen from 67 years of age in 1960 to 83 years now, surpassing the US.
This isn’t to say that Japan is the only country out there the US can be compared to, but it’s alarming how vastly different the countries are. Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the world, but the US has Lower Respiratory Disease and Diabetes as leading causes of death also. Canada’s life expectancy is 82, Germany is 81, France is 82, the UK is 81, Australia is 82, Korea is 82, and the list could go on and on. The growth of all these countries has risen higher and fast than the US.
Fitness has never been more popular than it is today. Schools invest more money in to athletics and training facilities. Restaurants now give calorie and sometimes macronutrient totals of their menu items. Even with the explosion in popularity of Social Media, people can’t wait to post their picture of exercising and there are thousands of fitness personalities/professionals more easily accessible now than ever thanks to this.
Numbers and statistics can be thrown around all day, but the numbers don’t lie, the US is one of the unhealthiest countries in the world. It’s clear past generations are feeling the effects of uneducated health decisions, but the future today is still being affected.
So back to the original point, why do people fail to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions?
The simple answer would be “People just don’t want it bad enough”.
I used to think like this too. Working with hundreds of people over the years, it’s easy to label someone “lazy” or “un-disciplined”. What matters more is understanding how to learn a new habit and get rid of old ones that will only hinder your success.
Here’s the TOP 5 ways you can achieve your New Years Resolutions for the first and last time.
1. Set realistic, specific resolutions (goals): Even if you want to lose 50lbs, setting out to do so within the first 1-3 months is impractical. A better way to goal set would be to say. “My goal is to lose 50lbs. I will lose 5-10 pounds per month with exercising at least 3-4 days per week and eating at least one serving of vegetables at every night.” It helps to break down goals in smaller, more manageable ones. Small steps lead to the greatest success.
2. Focus on Today. It’s great to have long term goals, but focus one day at a time, one meal at a time. Even within your small steps, sometimes there will be obstacles. In difficult moments think, “What’s the one think I can do at this moment, right now, that will bring me towards my goal?”
3. Find Support (Accountability): It helps to have someone to report to. This could be a friend you will report to every week, exercising with your friend that always exercises, or hiring a personal trainer to guide you. Whatever it is, having someone to support you but give you the accountability you need to not make excuses is often forgotten. What’s easy to do is also easy not to do.
4. Celebrate Success: No need to wait until the day you complete your goal. If you lost 10lbs in the first month, celebrate! Did you lose 4lbs in two weeks? Celebrate! This doesn’t mean to go out and drink the bar or eat the buffet, but acknowledging your own progress is important in building the personal relationship you have with yourself and body.
5. Trust the Process: Always be mindful of where you’re at. If you’re in the very beginning still, work on your consistency, if it’s been a few months and you feel progress is slowing down, research and try something new. If that doesn’t work, try something else. There’s always an option for a solution, it just matters if you want to find it.
Habits can be created. We don’t even remember how we gained all the habits we possess. Every successful habit and tip given must always be simple to implement. This means that if you can’t implement a new habit this moment or this day, it’s not small enough. New habits lead to new actions taken.
Even if you have a bad day, it’s all about the story we tell ourselves. If you tell yourself you did something wrong and that's the reason you’ll never lose weight, then you’ll probably never lose weight. If you tell yourself you can lose the weight because you’ll work at it and commit to figuring it out, then you’ll figure it out.
Failing often makes our goals seem more difficult or unattainable. In reality, failure is just reminding you how far you’ve come and how close you are. When you fail to remember to go grocery shipping, what do you do? Get mad and never shop for food again or be frustrated for the moment and then just go and get the food anyway. Most of life isn’t what our problem is, but how we respond to it.
It's there where I believe many issues are sourced. It's not that people want to be obese, overweight, or develop certain health ailments. It's that many become tired of trying something new, or tired of failing and not seeing the right progress.
Hopefully by the end of reading this you will have decided to not quit and will feel more confident about going in to the new year.
Remember, the goal isn't to be perfect, just to be better than you were before.
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