OMFG NEW YEARS IS THIS WEEK. Know what that means? A ton of people have new years resolutions on their mind. But are you making SMART new years resolutions?
A really common resolution is “to lose weight” after
a little okay, maybe a lot of overindulging during the holidays. It happens, people. Then once January 1st rolls around, everyone’s running around like a chicken with its head cut off like “OMG I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT RIGHT NOW SO I CAN FIT INTO THIS BIKINI!!” News flash people, it’s January. You have at least a few months until your spring break/beach vacation/or whatever.
But let me put this out there. I am totally the resolution type. 30-day paleo challenge, whole30, no-sugar whatever? I’m your girl. I rock that sh*t. I even coach people on how to do these kinds of challenges, eat healthier, exercise more, reduce cravings, etc. I get it. But I also totally used to be the type to want to “lose weight” every year as their New Years resolution. Yeah, I wanted to “lose 3 pounds” like Regina George.
Newsflash: I’m over that sh*t. Just having a lofty goal of “losing weight” or “exercising more” or “getting healthier” without any plan to get there isn’t going to get you anywhere. Talk to me January 16th when you’re face first in a tub of nestle tollhouse cookie dough after your two-week raw vegan juice challenge or two-a-day insanity sessions, after a holiday season full of treats, cocktails, and no exercising. Not to knock vegans (too much), but those juice challenges? Check yo’self before your wreck yo’self.
How about this year, if you do have a specific goal in mind, you set some New Years Resolutions that are SMART?
The #1 reason that those lofty “goals” above fail is because they’re missing out on every one of these factors. So what are “S.M.A.R.T.” goals, anyway? Well, SMART is a snarky little acronym to help you set and develop a solid plan to actually reach the goals you’re setting. These goals are:
Let’s get serious here. “Get healthy” isn’t specific enough, and neither is “lose weight” or “go to the gym more.” You goal must be CLEAR, concise, and focused. What does success mean to you? Get into the nitty gritty as much as you can! Break that sh*t down, and make a plan.
How will you measure your success? Can it be measured directly, like a number on the scale or on the barbell, a dollar amount, a number of vegetables you’ll eat every day, the number of push-ups you can do to failure, the time it takes for you to run a mile?
Achievable (& have Accountability)
Do you have all the tools and resources you need to reach this goal? How are you going to get there? Just saying you want to lose that little bit of weight isn’t going to make it come off. How are you going to do it? Who’s keeping tabs on you, to make sure you don’t “fall off the wagon” into the old habits you’re trying to get rid of? A doctor? health coach? Gym buddy?
Realistic (& have a Reward!)
Let’s be real here. If you can only do one push-up on January 1st, there’s no way you’ll be able to do 300 push-ups at one time on January 30th. It’s the same with weight loss. Want to lose 30 lbs in 30 days? Probably not realistic, if you only weigh 150lbs, especially not if your goal is to keep the weight off. There’s no point in setting yourself up to be disappointed by creating an unrealistic goal! And let’s put a reward in place for when you reach this realistic goal. (Hint: if your goal is to lose weight, don’t say your reward is that tub of cookie dough – you’re just reinforcing old habits that got you to that old weight you didn’t like. How about a shopping trip, to feel great in smaller clothes? Or a spa day? Treat yo self.)
Your goal must have a starting point and an end point, not just “whenever”. It must be ACTIONABLE – you’re going to start on X date, and you’re going to change something to help you reach that goal on X date. If your goals are open-ended, why does it matter when you get there? Having a start and end date makes it much more realistic that you’ll actually reach the goal. People get sh*t done under pressure!
For example. You want to “lose 3 pounds” like Regina George. Fair. Who doesn’t after the holidays after all those amazing little indulgences? Let’s make a plan for you to get there. Your goal is Specific, good! It’s also Measureable (you can get on the scale January 1st, and at the end of your “challenge”, to see). Is it achievable?
One thing I’ve really been digging when working with clients who have weight loss goals is to get them more in tuned with their bodies natural needs and wants, instead of driven by constant sugar cravings and energy/mood swings. And a great way to do this is something like a 30-day paleo or whole30 challenge, by way of more real food in, processed junk food and sugar out. (This also covers the Timely factor!) After 30 days of that, just try and tell me you don’t feel like a million bucks. So where’s your Accountability? Do you have a gym buddy, who texts you to get your lazy butt out of bed in the morning? A friend you can text when your cravings kick in? A health coach who you can check in with and ask for new recipes from? Realistic? I’d say 3 lbs is pretty realistic for a month. Finally, make sure there’s a Time factor in there, like with the whole30 challenge. And how about a Reward for yourself at the end of your challenge?
So to put this into place, here are some refreshing, totally not run-of-the-mill tips from yours truly on how to set SMART resolutions, win the battle of
the bulge actually sticking to those goals you’ll set this year. You stick to these tips, and no matter what healthy resolution you’re setting, they will definitely help you feel like a rockstar:
1. STOP FREAKING THE EFF OUT.
Did you know the more stressed you are, the more cortisol your body produces? Which means the more abdominal fat your body hangs on to AND the less likely you are to lose it? Yep. Google that sh*t, it’s real. Science, people. Or check out these articles I’ve already found for you, on: Cortisol and Abdominal Fat, Chronic Stress and Health Risks, another on Cortisol and Belly Fat, and Chronic Stress and Modern Disease.
2. DON’T force yourself to go to the gym every. single. day.
First off, if you’re forcing yourself to do something for a New Years resolution, something you really hate, how likely are you to actually stick to it? I’m thinking…not so long. You’ll burn out extremely fast and eventually dread your workouts. Especially if you’re a gym newbie, don’t think you can just go from zero to 100 real quick. Plan some rest days in there, and you’ll come back even stronger. And if you really hate the gym that much…
3. Find exercise you actually enjoy.
For me, that’s crossfit, weightlifting, and yoga. And taking my puppy for long walks in the park. For you, it might be running, swimming, hiking, a hip hop dance class, even walking on your lunch break. You’re much more likely to stick with something that brings you joy, rather than an exercise class or workout DVD that makes you grit your teeth every time someone mentions it. Try something new and fun! People are all up on the “fun fitness” trends now. How about a trapeze class? Gymnastics, so you can frolic around like a little kid again? Rock climbing? Parkour? Even pole dancing fitness classes are popping up all over the place.
4. DON’T do an extreme detox program
…like a 30 day raw vegan juice cleanse if you’ve been eating meat and processed food every day up until that point. You’ll be hungry (and hangry) ALL the time, experience a huge dip in your energy, go through a really rough withdrawal period and probably run into some bathroom issues. Sorry I went there. Oh, and you’ll probably just go back to your old ways whenever you fall off the wagon (which is almost inevitable). Remember, we’re going for something realistic and achievable here. If you really want to do some kind of whole foods based, non-extreme detox/cleanse, I highly recommend a program like the Whole30 or the 21-day Sugar Detox. I’ve done both of these programs multiple times, have encouraged many others to do so, and seen fantastic results. Plus they’re not crazy. It’s just real food, people.
5. Prioritize sleep.
How are you supposed to have the energy to achieve all these kicka** SMART goals you’re setting, if you’re not getting enough sleep? 7-9 hours a night is best for most people. Yep, that means you, people who think “you just don’t need that much sleep.” Sure, this might mean turning off the tv and going to bed earlier. GASP. But not to worry, it’s not Game of Thrones season yet.
6. Focus on nutrient-dense, real foods
…and cut down on processed foods and added sugar. See tip #9.
7. Stress less.
Easier said than done, right? But the more stressed out you are, the more your body goes into primal “survival” mode and clings on to its fat cells. Not kidding. If that alone isn’t a good enough reason to sign up for a yoga class or at least download an easy meditation podcast like Headspace…See #1. You’ll also sleep better, feel better, enjoy life more…you know, the little things.
8. Slow down. take the time to enjoy your food.
If you’re going to eat a cookie or two (or any “indulgent” food), why not actually enjoy it instead of shoving it in your mouth and pretend that no one sees you, or scarfing it down as you’re watching TV? You might find your craving is actually satisfied, and you won’t need to eat as much as you might have thought. This also goes for your “normal” meals. Take the time to sit down, appreciate your meals, and slow down. You’ll be more satisfied eating less food than you think you need, especially if you’re distracted while eating it.
9. KISS: Keep it simple, stupid.
The best acronym ever. You really want to get back on track? Stick to eating REAL food. Cut out the processed crap and sugar. Don’t worry about making super fancy recipes or following an extremely complicated new diet. Stick to the basics of real food: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices. Easy as…super healthy pie? Check out my What is Paleo? and Whole30 pages for more info. And make sure you have someone to keep you accountable or ask questions to about it!
P.s. I unfortunately did not make this amazingly smart (haha, I’m punny) acronym up. I’d probably be a bazillionaire if I did! Just google that sh*t, it’s literally all over the internet. BUT it’s extremely useful. Give it a try and see!
What are your New Years Resolutions or goals for 2016?
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