Thursday, December 1, 2016
How to Get a 4 Week Jumpstart on Your Resolutions
You may have heard it defined as "doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results."
That is probably a fairly lame definition of a complex term, but we can all agree that the behavior is illogical and irrational. Yet we all do it. A lot. This time of year there's a pretty universal behavior to illustrate my point.
Most of us start eating whatever we want at Thanksgiving continuing on through New Years and then pull out our resolutions and try to recover. Every year, however, we find ourselves further and further behind in our goals and just can't seem to figure it out.
What if I told you that when everyone else is planning their leaf turning on January first you could already be ahead of the game?
That's right. I'm suggesting you start your New Years resolutions today, December 1st.
I know. I know. You have: the company Christmas party, your kid's class party, baking to do, candy to make, cookie swaps to go to, the neighbor who delivers homemade peanut brittle, brownies in the breakroom, not to mention hot chocolate by the fire and cocktails with friends.
And in my case, a birthday.
That, my darlings, is the point.
Why add five extra pounds to the number you already need to lose come January 1? Or why add all that sugar and feed an addiction you want to conquer just a month from now? Why booze it up and then go dry the first 31 days of 2017? Why give yourself a 4 or 5-week pass and then start a new year beating yourself up?
What crazy person starts their resolutions in December? A crazy person who is serious.
Here's the plan:
Visualize: The very first thing you have to do is imagine that when all your friends and colleagues are giving up things and complaining about how hard it is after the holidays, you, you genius you, have already spent a month cultivating better habits. I mean literally, lie in bed and night and imagine this scenario. Feel what that would be like. Pretty damn awesome, huh? Make this a nightly practice.
Choose: If you were waiting until after Christmas to start thinking about making better choices next year, go ahead and do that after Thanksgiving instead. What is it you want to work on in the coming year? More exercise? Reading a book a week? Cutting out an hour of TV a day?
Plan: Think about how you are going to go about this craziness. Are you going to opt for veggies instead of dessert? Are you going to skip the wine and have water? Are you going to walk around your neighborhood looking at Christmas lights each evening? Are you going to start picking out that book list? Are you going to plan to find a yoga class during the holidays or take up meditation?
Here are 3 ways to make it work:
See it. Write it down in your planner or on your calendar. Written goals inspire and remind. You'll see it there and think "Oh, yes. I am crazy serious about this goal."
Speak it. Start telling people you are already getting a jump start on the year. Yeah, so now people are watching and you are accountable. Plus they assume you'll fail and act like you are crazy. Embrace that. Think how much fun it will be to prove them wrong. And just embrace your craziness. Do you really want to be ordinary?
Act it out. For example, eat a healthy meal at home before parties and events. When you arrive and your willpower is highest, ask for water and fill your plate with veggies. Hosts and servers who see your empty glass or plate will offer you tempting things. Keep them full of the things you chose for your jumpstart. Think of other ways you can take preemptive action depending on your goals.
Are we really going to be able to say no to all those tempting goodies or get to yoga when we have extra things to do this month? A book? Who has time to read a book with all the cooking, shopping, and decorating? Well, maybe you, but I'm guessing you have never tried before. We all just keep falling into the same trap of indulging our bad habits in December and then acting as if they'll magically be transformed in January. But habits don't work like that. It takes 66 days to cultivate a new habit. Those two months can be rough. Most people quit. February is the graveyard of resolutions.
What I'm asking you to do, and what I'm planning on doing, is to make some progress between Thanksgiving and New Years. Skip the extra piece of pie you would normally excuse with a joke about dieting next month. Drink a full glass of water between every glass of wine. Read a few pages of your book, turn off the TV 30 minutes early, ask for running shoes or a yoga class for Christmas.
Can we do it perfectly? Nope. Can we do better than we ever have in December before? Yep. Unless you are brand spanking new to this blog then you know that my motto is "Something is better than nothing."
Perfection can be daunting and paralyzing. Let it go.
Embrace small improvements. Join me in this craziness. Let's be weird together and win starting day 1 of the new year.