With New Year’s Day approaching, you might be considering some resolutions to change your lifestyle. Many of us tend to set grand goals at this time of year, but then by February or March we’ve given up. Why does this happen? And how can you set goals that you’ll actually want to stick with throughout 2020?
Often what we see is that patients overhaul their entire lifestyle – from the way the eat, to their workouts, to their daily schedules – but trying to implement that many changes all at once becomes overwhelming. Too many favorite foods make the “bad” list, and too many detested exercises make the “must do daily” list. Then, when people slip up and violate one of their many rules, they feel like a failure. Internalizing those feelings makes them want to just give up entirely.
But the truth is, one skipped workout or one cookie are not going to make a difference in the long run. So ditch the perfectionism, and focus on reasonable, incremental changes that really work over time.
Set one or two new goals at a time. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to suddenly life a completely different life overnight. But you can make slow and steady changes that add up to make a difference to your health. For example, you can set a goal to walk every night after dinner, or to get your five servings of produce each day. Once those become regular habits, you can add a gym workout to your schedule, focus on eliminating sweets, and so on.
Don’t label your foods. Naughty and nice lists work for Santa, but not so much for the rest of us. When you label foods as “good” or “bad”, you set yourself up for a cycle of temptation and disappointment. Remember, it’s just food. If a particular dish is less healthy, eat less of it.. But you don’t have to say goodbye to it forever.
Live in the moment. One bad moment is only a moment. If you do indulge in unhealthy choices, don’t punish yourself or assume that your plans are ruined forever. Dust yourself off and keep going. You’re still making progress.
Avoid boredom. No one wants to stick with a lifestyle that bores them. Keep your food interesting by experimenting with new recipes or ethnic dishes, and switch up your workout regimen regularly to keep yourself out of a rut.
Monitor your progress. Daily monitoring of weight or workout results might lead you to obsess over details. But on a weekly basis, over time, you will see progress and feel encouraged to keep going.
As you set your goals for 2020, remember that we’re here for you. Set an appointment to discuss medical weight loss or any other health goals you’re considering, and we’ll help you put together a plan for success.