It’s that blessed time of year again; the time of year that we set insurmountable goals for ourselves in hopes to better our minds, bodies, or relationships. If you’re the type that actually sets realistic goals that they can accomplish THROUGHOUT the year, then congratulations. You’re the very slim minority.
If you’re like me and set goals with the best intentions and then forget or fail halfway (or two months) into the year, then you’re like the rest of us. So hows about we nip this in the bud and set some realistic goals today? Find that humility, push away that perfectionist in you, and suck it up. You’re not perfect. In 2015, you still won’t be perfect. Embrace it, and just focus on getting better (or doing your best to get there!).
What your goals SHOULDN’T look like and WHAT you can change them to.. or in other words:
Typical Goal #1
Probably the number 1 goal that everyone writes down. This is unspecific and focused on the wrong thing! Don’t focus on “weight,” in fact, weigh yourself less. If you weigh yourself too often, you’ll just stress yourself out, get disappointed, and quit. If you focus on wanting to lose weight because you hate the way your body looks in the first place, then you’ll never lose it. I love the quote “you can’t heal a body you hate” even though I don’t know who said it. It’s true.
REAL Goal #1
Love your body.
This is an all encompassing goal. If you love your body, you’ll be careful about the ingredients and quality of the food you put into it. You’ll appreciate the food more. You’ll stress less about your appearance. And in doing so? You’ll probably lose weight.. but not that that matters because you love YOUR body! Be grateful you have tbe ability, drive, and knowledge to get healthier. Focus on HEALTH instead of WEIGHT. Focus on the ingredients, quality of your food instead of how much you’re eating. Don’t focus on “counting calories.” Focus on listening to your body when it’s full. Focus on eating slower.
Typical Goal #2
Go to the gym 32 times a week.
I exaggerate, yes. But I know we’ve all set that goal of going to the gym every day, or 6 times a week, or twice a day, etc. etc. etc. I know that when I set this goal, I never give myself a break. I stress, I give myself crazy anxiety in order to push myself to go to the gym every day even if I don’t want to or don’t like the class I’m going to. “You hate going to the gym? Go anyways. You made the goal, and you HAVE to stay in shape.” < that was your conscience speaking. You know what I say to that?
REAL Goal #2
Do what you want, when you want.
Drop that bad workout habit. Don’t go to the gym if you don’t like it, don’t run a million miles if you don’t like it, and DON’T go to that crazy intense cardio-weights-bend-over-backwards class IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT! What do you like? What makes you get up and get active without wanting to jump out a window? For me, it’s yoga and walking. For others, it’s lifting weights. Swimming, running, pilates, cycling, etc. are all awesome ways to get active. So try them out! Find something you love, and go! Don’t necessarily focus on how many times a week you’re going to go, just go. That being said, I think you should do SOMETHING active fairly often, because it’s just good for you! Makes ya happy, healthy, and glowy. (Seriously, my skin glows after I work out.) But at least now you won’t HATE doing it, because it’s something you picked and something you like.
Typical Goal #3
What does that even mean? “Healthy” can mean so many different things for so many people. “Healthy” can mean low-fat, or low-carb, or low-calorie. It can mean still eating a standard American diet, but just eating smaller portions of it. It can mean ordering NutriSystem or eating Lean Pockets like it’s going out of style. As a nutritional therapist, you know what “healthy” means to me?
REAL Goal #3
Healthy means eating REAL, WHOLE food. Not processed. Not something that can sit on the store shelf for 5 years without spoiling. In our nutrition schooling, we learned to search for high quality foods because they pack the biggest punch when it comes to their nutrient value. This is important because nutrient-dense foods will satisfy you. You won’t be left with cravings or feeling like you’re completely depriving your body, either. And don’t eliminate an entire macronutrient group (carbs, fat, or protein)! Eat well-balanced meals that consist of about 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates. This is a very realistic, very doable goal, and a GREAT one to add to your list o’ resolutions.
Typical Goal #4
Don’t eat sugar.
Writing this one down year after year always makes me a little sad. Why? Because it’s giving up a lot. Admit it, you’re sad about it too. It means giving up dessert nights with friends, not having chocolate, or missing out on cookie and milk night. B-u-m-m-e-r. But hey, you wrote it down, so it has to be done! No sugar for you. Ever. At all. *One week goes by* aaaaaand you binge. Why did you binge? Because that goal is unrealistic!
REAL Goal #4
Eat REAL sugar sparingly.
I, personally, don’t think it’s realistic for everyone to give up sugar all the time. You miss making cookies with your family, you miss fun social outings, and you just miss it. That’s not healthy! You have to enjoy your life, right? And sometimes that means eating small amounts of natural sugar. Don’t worry. Instead, pick REAL sugar. Don’t use the crappy refined white cane sugar or refined brown sugar. Use raw, organic, unrefined honey. Use organic Grade B, pure maple syrup. Use coconut sugar. Use sucanat. Use molasses. Use LESS that you normally would, and don’t make desserts every day! Sugar is still a treat, all I’m saying is don’t rid yourself of this treat completely.
Typical Goal #5
Again, I exaggerate. I only say this one because I’m guilt of it to. No, I don’t actually write those words down when I’m making my resolutions, but I do set an expectation in my head to never deviate from these goals and that if I do I’m a total no-good failure. (I’m kind of a jerk to myself. OR at least I was until I started with this NEW AND IMPROVED GOAL!).
REAL Goal #5
CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK, YO!
Baby steps forward are still forward steps. You don’t have to do everything at once and never falter. It’s okay to be human, I promise. All I ask is that you set a goal to be better and to TRY. Try replacing some of your food to organic or grass-fed. Try doing a workout you think you’ll enjoy. Try replacing those nasty white sugary desserts with good quality, real sugar desserts. Just try and love your body. TRY and love yourself for it!
And Happy New Year, to you, too.