Why previous attempts at ‘new year/new you’ have failed you – and not the other way around.
Every attempt you might have made to get fitter, lose the pounds or live more healthily which has failed you in the past has failed you for one reason: it has compromised on your own personal values. There is another way.
First, think of the things in your life that you hold most dear, the things that bring you the most joy. If I take those things away from you or in some way affect your relationship with them in order to able you to reach your goals, how long do you think you’ll be able to keep that up?
Let me give you an example: Debra has been trying to lose weight on and off for the past 20 years and can never seem to stick to her diet. Debra is a mum of three and has a demanding job so she decides to get some help this time from ‘Dan the Restriction Man’, a 20-year-old, freshly qualified PT at her local gym.
Dan puts her on a plan that requires her to eat very little and never even think about having a drink or a bar of chocolate. While in theory Dan’s plan will lead to Debra losing weight, it very rarely lasts. What Dan has failed to do is get to know Debra and what it is that is important to her. Debra’s number one core value is family, spending time with her kids and her partner brings her more joy than anything else does. So when Dan asks her to stick to a diet that compromises on family time because nobody else wants to eat the depressing salad that he has planned for Saturday night, there is only one way it’s going to end. As soon as the pain of missing out on family time outweighs the pain of being unhappy with her body, she gives up.
The point being that if you want to make changes to your lifestyle, they must be in line with your values so they are changes you can actually stick to. Most people don’t have a fat loss problem, most people have a maintenance problem. Almost every person I speak to with a fat loss goal has done it before – and usually multiple times. If your target has an end date, you’re already setting yourself up to fail. What happens after that end date? If the answer is go back to what you were doing before, you risk repeating this cycle for the foreseeable future.
So, what is the actual solution here? I’m going to give you three actionable things you can start with right now.
- When it comes to your diet, focus more on what you can add to it rather than what you can take away. What can we add to your diet that it is currently lacking? The usual suspects here are fruit, vegetables and protein. All three of these are very satiating food groups which means that if we increase the amount of these we eat, we’ll often feel more full for less calories. Let’s stop food planning being a challenge to see who can eat the least.
- Be active in ways that you enjoy or find satisfying, whether it’s the ‘right’ thing to do or not. I have my preferences for what exercise I think you should be doing, but the reality is if you don’t enjoy it you won’t stick to it. If you can’t stick to it long term then we don’t get results. A key part of enjoying exercise is doing it at an intensity that you can handle, rather than “go hard or go home” let’s “go at your own pace, increasing the difficulty or amount when necessary”? (Doesn’t have the same ring to it does it)
- Try to focus more on how these health-promoting decisions make you feel rather than how they may impact how your body looks. Your body will adapt and change in its own time and unfortunately that usually happens at a slower rate than we’d like. However, the buzz you get after exercising, that satisfaction of cooking a nutritious dinner or the feeling of getting some fresh air on a walk after work can be felt immediately. Let the rest come as a by-product of you making decisions that make you feel on top of the world.
I hope you found this different take on your usual new year changes helpful. If you’ve got any questions or want some personal support, get in touch.
Find Sam on social media (Instagram and Facebook) @SK_Strength or get in touch by email, email@example.com