New Year’s Resolution- One 21 Days at a time
27th December 2011 | Megan
It has long been thought that 21 days makes a habit; meaning that it takes that number of days to create a change in your life. My older sister first told me this when we were making “New Year’s Resolutions” in junior high school. That was shortly after she had recorded the top 100 songs that kept us awake on New Year’s Eve.
My mother kept my New Year’s Resolutions from that year… it seems I had 16 resolutions. Likely I made it through the week before the list was stuffed under the bed. Here they are..
- run down and up street every week
- jump on pogo stick every day
- work better in school
- brush my teeth
- scrub my face!
- Clean my room . all of it
- Ride my bike
- Say please and thank you and all that junk
- Read books
- Pay attention to family
- Take Primo out (the dog)
- Feed Primo
- Play better in the piano
- Sew all year
- Stop eating so much
- Exercise every morning
OMG! I could have written those today! They all still apply, OK, perhaps not “the sew every day”, though my mother did give me a sewing machine several years ago. Sadly, it sits in my attic with a broken needle.
I am sure it would only take one professional to say that with that list I was setting myself up for failure. Although many were redundant exercise thoughts, the list was too long to be successful. Even at that age I was setting myself up for implosion…too many resolutions to follow, too many changes to be made.
We often hit the New Year full steam ahead. “I am going to lose 15 pounds and begin an exercise program”, all in one month and one breath! Day 7 comes and we are tired, stressed and in need of a “cheat”, opening the door to failure.
We are most successful if we set ONE goal. That’s right, one goal. So if you are inclined to do something that sticks, chose one thing and do it well, then after a month or 21 days of success, add another goal. Make them small and attainable, not big numbers or miles that will take months to reach. Set them small and attainable. Redundant yes, but successful too.
When I run a marathon, I break it down to smaller races, then check them off as they are done. This way, I am refreshed after each completion and the entirety of the event doesn’t seem so daunting. A New Year’s resolution may have the picture of the bikini clad model on the fridge but the goal should be in increments. AND, it should not be cutting calories and starting a fitness regimen in the same breath. ONE or the other.
So sit down this week and plan it out. If you are making drastic life changes, do them with caution. I know, the teeny bikini is a great goal, but you won’t get there tomorrow if you cut your calories and begin a fitness program that is too lofty. Again, (yes, I am beating a point in to you) pick ONE.
My triathlon coach, Eric Hodska (to learn more about him or follow his challenges, visit https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/279447542288/ or www.hodska.com) has his athletes begin the year with a big game changer, especially after the holidays. This is however, after he has given us the month of December with a strength regimen every day. He asks us to eat REAL, avoiding the whites such as flour, sugar and processed foods. Produce, protein and multigrain goods; basically the perimeter of the grocery store. No alcohol, no sweets, no nuts (too easy to grab too many handfuls) and limited dairy. I have done this for a few years and it is altering. Hard at first, it gets easier the further you are from the start date. This is always a great way to start off the year, but that is because I am already entrenched in a fitness program and not asking my mind and body to be shocked into change from both angles.
If you are starting this year with the fitness makeover and diet plan together, choose the fitness program before making huge changes to your diet. If you move your body, you will see change which could intrinsically alter your eating habits. With the thought that you need to fuel your body for the next workout, your dietary habits will gravitate toward the healthy. As you move your body you will keep the fire going, raising your metabolism, increasing muscle mass and therefore reducing body mass.
About a month ago, I blogged about thinking about your 2012 goals. I wanted you to get the ideas into your head all month so that January 1st is not so daunting and abrupt. Now we are several days away and it is time to write it out carefully; make a plan that is gradual and incremental. Take some time and think carefully, don’t wait until the Top 100 countdown is on to hastily write them down. If you do, the list might stay with you forever (such as my 7th grade list) but the goals will not be reached. Let’s choose one and give it 21 days before we add on. Seal one deal then introduce the next.
Baby steps, they aren’t always pretty but they lead to bigger and better things! Happy 2012!