Like many of you out there, the new year takes on new meaning when it comes to your health. From decreasing your weight, to increasing your energy level, people start off the new year with great intentions to get healthier by changing their bad habits.
So why do so many people fail when it comes to losing weight, eating better, adapting a better mindset, and so many other health goals? Here are some of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to goal setting and learn how you can set yourself up for success to reach your health goals this year.
Shift Your Focus on How You Feel
Food should never be a reward and exercise should never be a punishment. For most people, the top resolution is to change the number on the scale. Losing weight goes far beyond what type of food we eat or exercise we perform. People try to lose weight with the worst state of mind possible. They get obsessed with the end result and will try any type of quick fix diet or exercise program to take the weight off. Instead of focusing on long-term health, disease prevention, energy levels, and how we mentally and physically feel every day, self-deprecation takes over with using words such as ‘fat’ not good enough’, or ‘trouble spots’ to describe how we feel. These type of limiting beliefs lead to failure as negative thoughts generally lead to negative results.
When we shift our mindset away from the end results and focus on self-care, our attitude around weight changes. The same goes for how we think about our body. The more dissatisfied people are with their bodies, the more likely they are to avoid exercise and continue with their unhealthy eating habits. Workout because you love your body, not because you hate it. By changing your words from ‘I have to workout’ to ‘I get to workout’ will have a more positive impact on sticking with daily exercise. Focus on the nutrients you are placing into your body to build a superior immune system instead of counting calories with foods that are nutrient deficient. When you change how you think and use positive words, you feel better about yourself.
Keep It Simple
I’ve seen this happen way too much with people starting off the new with great intentions and wanting to do it all in the shortest time possible. Unfortunately, our bodies are not designed to handle so much change at all once. Choosing too many goals or the ‘all or nothing approach’ as I like to call it, can spread you too thin. Each of us is unique when it comes to our health goals. Everyone should have a tailored exercise program and nutritional plan that best suits their needs. By choosing too many goals all at once, you are setting yourself up for failure. Your system becomes overloaded as you focus on too many goals and you overwork your system. Getting healthy isn’t a race. If you want to succeed in the end, you need to go at your own pace. Set yourself up for success not burnout or injury.
Get an Action Plan
How many times have you created goals to only fall off the wagon a few weeks later? When we have the best intentions to set out and conquer all of our goals, they are merely words on paper without a plan in place. For instance, if you goal is to run a marathon, you just don’t start running 26.2 miles, but rather build up to that distance over time. In order to achieve that distance, you need to define a progressive set of fitness goals to build up to that final goal of running a marathon. Breaking down a big goal into smaller, realistic goals is not only physically realistic, but mentally stimulating. It also helps you gradually build your fitness level without getting injured or burned out.
For many fitness professionals, we use the SMART principle when it comes to goal setting. Read my blog post on ‘A Smart Guide to Goal Setting’ to help you get started with all your health goals.
Willpower Doesn’t Work
You see that bag of chips in the pantry calling your name and you promise yourself if you don’t eat them, you will reward yourself later. If you want to achieve your health goals, willpower is actually holding you back, not helping you. Let’s look at food as an example. Food is an addiction and you have to treat like any other addiction. No matter how much internal resolve you have, you will fail to change your eating patterns if you don’t change your environment. The environment is more powerful than your internal resolve. As a human-being, you always take on the form of the environments you continually place yourself.
So, let’s take a closer look at food addictions. If we want to stop eating processed and junk food, you first need to stop buying it. You can change up where you go grocery shopping, shop at a different time of the day (especially when you’re hungry), or you can take someone with you to go grocery shopping to prevent purchasing ‘bad’ foods. Also, thinking differently about food, is a tool that is used when trying to get people to stop eating less junk food or omitting it altogether. We adapt based on the environments we select. You are who you are because of your environment. Want to change? Then change your environment.
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well