Are New Year resolutions worthless?
Strolling around the internet, it’s clear that many health and fitness professionals despise New Year’s resolutions. They tag them as BS – a waste of time and energy, and maybe even a sign of weakness. If you’ve made a resolution, you might feel a little sheepish about it.
But wait – there’s a lot of good in resolutions. Here’s why I love the energy behind them – and one simple tool that can help with getting back on track when the best of intentions lose a little steam, as they will.
A LITTLE RESOLUTION LOVE
Resolutions come from an awesome place. They’re rooted in our deepest desires to look good and be healthy, active, organized, and just generally on top of things. Also, let’s be honest – they’re kinda fun, right?
No, resolutions are not the problem. The problem is that we walk away from them on January 22, February 4, or whenever our goals are no longer shiny and new. We stop once the unpleasant reality comes into clear view and life gets in the way. We remember how much it sucks to get up early or how hard it can be to make healthy food or drag ourselves to the gym. That once-shiny resolution becomes as disposable as yesterday’s coffee cup.
Everyone can relate to this.
What does it take to stick with a fitness goal?
HOW TO MAKE OUR RESOLUTIONS STICKY?
No matter what what the goal, we need to …
• KNOW what to do
• Have the SKILLS that are necessary to do it
• Have the ABILITY to actually pull it off
Think about a goal to eat healthy dinners:
• Information is needed – for example, knowing what “healthy” means for you, recipes, food prep info, etc. Not too long ago, I was reviewing the finer distinctions between using arrowroot or cornstarch to thicken sauces. That was key info for me at the time.
• Skills are needed, such as using a knife to cut up veggies efficiently. Nothing makes you feel like a real chef quite like a little knife bling.
• Most of all is the ability to actually pull it off. Meaning – actually overcome the natural inertia that whispers to just get take-out. The ability to pull together a meal the way your best self intended.
If a goal is getting neglected, there are three questions to ask:
• Am I missing some important information?
• Do I need to develop one or more skills to get me where I need to go?
• Is something hindering my ability to get it done?
Information and skills can be really important, but a lot of the time, we know what to do, and we can do it, but we just aren’t great at actually making it happen consistently. Ability is the limiting factor.
FOLLOWING THROUGH – THE BCD PLAN
Ok, how does the ability to follow through get stronger? Let’s start with one simple tool that can work miracles when things get a little rough. It begins with a question:
Is “all or nothing” thinking getting in the way?
“All or nothing” thinking happens when we’re either “on” or “off,” but nothing in between.
This happens a lot with food. I don’t know how many times I’ve decided I’m going to eat a certain way, but then a treat pops up at work like an evil interloper on my road to success. I’d have some, and then be off my game the rest of the day. I mean, what’s the point? I’ll start again tomorrow/Monday/next year.
All or nothing thinking is a huge roadblock to fitness success, in my humble opinion. We’re on a plan, but the second we deviate, we say, “oh well, that didn’t work out …” and the next thing takes over.
The antidote to all or nothing thinking is what I call the BCD Plan. Embrace an optimal Plan A, whatever that is, but also have a Plan B, C, and maybe even a D as backups.
Sticking with the idea of a healthy family dinner, the BCD plan might look like this: I planned to (A) make some chicken and veggies tonight, but I got held up at work. Story of my life! No worries, I will (B) stop off at the store and pick up a rotisserie chicken and cut up some carrots and celery to go with it; (C) stop off at the store and pick up some chicken salad at the deli and pair with said carrots and celery; or (D) eat some of that leftover chili I have in the freezer.
The key is to think about backups in advance, at the same time the intention is set. It’s incredibly hard to do, but so worth it.
Notice that BCD planning is best done by saying “when” and not “if” … because everyone goes off plan. It’s gonna happen. Also, the BCD options might not be perfectly on plan, but the point is to keep yourself in the game. A little protein, a little veggies, a little momentum maintained.
It’s all about allowing yourself room to fail, to grow, and get better.