With each 365-day flip of the calendar we find it to be the consummate cliché: this new year is going to be the year that we finally start eating right and commit to a fitness regimen.
Well, some clichés are clichés for a reason, right?
Most years we do experience at least some modicum of success with that ever-so-popular promise to ourselves. Maybe we get all the way through the first week of February before we start to become discouraged with the apparent lack of results. We drift away from that new year’s determination and commitment because that health and fitness hill (in our minds) just becomes too steep to continue climbing. We get discouraged because establishing a proper nutrition foundation to launch ourselves toward our fitness goals ca nseem daunting.
By the time March rolls around, we forgot what we committed to in the first place.
So, the real question becomes: how do we stay motivated?
You don’t need to be perfect
Let’s play out a typical new year scenario:
For the first couple of weeks, you feel pretty good about yourself. It’s the new year! It’s a new start! Motivation is high: you’re exercising five days a week, eating the right foods—the health and fitness wheels are in motion.
Then, you hit a week where work is crazy, you drop the ball on meal prep and you hit the gym only once. That week bleeds into the next, and the next, and before you know it, you’re right back where you started before the new year.
So, what happened?
Make a (realistic) plan
The key here is to be realistic by making consistent, habit-forming changes. On average, it takes about 66 days to form a habit, although the amount of time varies depending on the task. While coming up with an ambitious plan and trying to be perfect right out of the gate may seem like a great idea, it might do the opposite and compromise your chances of reaching your goals. Before you commit to an intense exercise routine while eating perfectly healthy home-cooked all at once, take some time to:
- Break down your goals into manageable steps and
- Come up with strategies to help yourself get back on track quickly
Now, let’s consider a slightly different scenario. The overall goal is still the same: eat & be healthier. Before you commit to anything (like signing up for that 6 AM Crossfit class only to be disappointed when you find yourself bailing two weeks in), take a good hard look at your daily routine and find the best time during the day that you can set aside for working out. Find a range of low to high intensity workout routines and have them bookmarked so that when it comes time, you have no excuses.
In a similar vein, depending on where you are in your food journey, rather than going from regularly ordering take out to a strict, home-cooked diet plan, go with a softer goal. If your Uber Eats app is your weeknight best friend, reduce the number of days that you order take out each week. But don’t stop there, make sure that for those no-take out days, you have a list of go-to recipes that you can easily fall back on. Or, maybe you’ve already started your home-cook journey but find yourself relying too much on refined grains & sugars for your meals. Set a goal to find healthier, whole food-based swaps for your most frequently used pantry items.
Or, maybe you don’t want to spend time thinking about what’s for dinner because you’re busy and have stuff to do. We get it. Luckily for you, Thistle takes all of the work out of finding the best foods from around the world to create amazing meals delivered straight to your door! With high nutrition standards, top notch ingredient quality, and dedicated chefs, we put in the work so that you don’t have to.
Most Importantly: Progress Over Perfection
As you begin adding these small (but not insignificant) changes into your daily routine, you’ll notice that they will get easier and easier until they become almost second nature. When you put in the work to build up those healthy habits, you’ll find your body and mind wanting more and more of whatever it is that you’re doing to continue that feeling. Then, you can start thinking about your next health-related goal (maybe now you will be ready to join that 6 AM Crossfit class) and continue along your journey.
Here’s to getting and staying healthy in 2020!