As I wonder about all of your 2019 resolutions I ask you: Are you still able to keep up what you set out to do? Statistics show that about 80 percent of people stop doing their New Year resolutions by mid-February — yes, I repeat, mid-February. I want to talk to you about how to keep up that motivation for the rest of the year.
Goal setting, for one, is not always easy. We tend to set goals that are too unattainable for what we are currently capable of, setting ourselves up for failure. I encourage you to look at what you are currently doing, and set some realistic “short-term” goals as well as “long-term” goals. The short-term goals should be closer to what you are currently doing. For example, working out one or two days more than you are, eating 10 percent fewer calories than you are. A goal weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week is a reasonable goal, try not to expect too much of yourself.
Also, go easy on yourself if you feel like you are failing. No one gets to his or her goals in a linear fashion. Some weeks you won’t have the time to workout at all, but that doesn’t mean you failed or you should give up. One lazy day of eating doesn’t mess you up for the month. This time next year you will be wishing you re-started your resolutions tomorrow. If you feel like you try your best everyday, you are doing better than you were when you started. Progress doesn’t come overnight, and maintaining health is almost always hard work.
Motivation is a strong word and without it, doing anything at all would be impossible. For example, you are motivated to do what you are doing everyday at every moment. If you are sitting on the couch watching TV, you are motivated to do that. So how will you get from the couch to the gym? Ask yourself, what is sitting on the couch doing for me? Is it relaxing you, or is it because you are too tired at the end of the day to workout? Then now we can work on those things to bring more relaxation to your life, stress reduction and improving energy so you have more motivation to exercise. Remember that self-care is just as important to health.
I encourage you in this moment to write down all of the major accomplishments you have achieved throughout your entire life. Then feel how proud you are of yourself. It is possible to have the things you want, and to feel proud of yourself each and everyday if you choose that. We tend to do things within our comfort zone because it is easier. For example, sticking to the same dinner recipes because it’s what we know, or repeating the same workouts. This goes for relationships too, keeping people around who are not adding value in a positive manner. I encourage you to try a little bit more everyday to jump out of that comfort zone. Try a new recipe, join an exercise class, or talk to a stranger that looks friendly. Whatever your personal goals are, it is not too late to start right now. When you are feeling down or like you have failed, just remind yourself that all of it is part of the journey of moving forward.
Allison Apfelbaum is a primary care naturopathic doctor at Tree of Health Integrative Medicine clinic in Woodinville. To learn more go online to www.treeofhealthmedicine.com or call 425-408-0040 to schedule an appointment.