Do you have big dreams for who you see yourself becoming? Although it may be stereotypical to make new year’s resolutions, now really is a great time to assess where you’re at, where you’re headed, and what changes need to be made in order to get there. The holidays and their excessive indulging and celebrating are over, the days are getting longer, and we have the clean slate of a brand new year to make any fresh starts. 2018 has arrived!
We know it can feel like a chore to the point of being quite painful to really look at ourselves clearly and see what changes need to be made, so we’ve put together some tips on how to ease the process.
- Get clear on the “why” of your goals. What we’re trying to get away from with this tip is the tendency to make lofty, unmeasurable goals: spend more time with my family; lose weight; be healthier. These all sound well and good in theory, but they’re so large and intangible that inevitably they’ll fall by the wayside with all our other good intentions somewhere around January 18th and then we forget about them altogether.
What we suggest is creating specific goals (ie. lose ten pounds) along with a clear understanding of why you want to achieve this goal. How will achieving this goal make you feel? For example, I want to lose ten pounds because I want to feel light, energetic, and alive. Or, I want to get a new job because I want to feel creative and inspired in my career. Simon Sinek believes that the greatest leaders and organizations are just that because they start with their why in every endeavour. We’d suggest that the greatest individuals do just the same.
- Setup healthy cues. We are creatures of habit, so instilling obvious reminders can help us change our patterns. According to registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians of Canada Andrea D’Ambrosio, you can redesign your environment to persuade yourself to make nourishing choices. Stock your fridge with healthy foods that are ready to eat in a hurry; store a large glass jar on your desk as a reminder to fill it with water regularly throughout the day; put your favourite exercise class as a recurring event in your phone’s calendar; keep a pack of NutriPod Originals in your day bag to ensure you’re getting your daily vitamins and don’t have to think about which vitamins to take.
- Be kind to yourself and start where you are. Sometimes with goal-setting we can be so future-focused that we lose sight of where we’re at, and the fact that we need to have a good relationship with ourselves in order to successfully make any changes, and ideally, to enjoy the process. You could always lose a few more pounds, or squeeze another workout in each week, but what’s the use if we’re stressing ourselves out and missing our life as it is right now by being so focused on where we’re headed? A common misconception is that if we aren’t hard on ourselves, we won’t be motivated to go to the gym or to eat well or take a trip to the supplement store etc. But we suggest that actually the opposite is true: when you are kind to yourself, this allows for a much more relaxed style of motivation, where you have room to breathe and are free to make your own choices, not being too constricted by all the “shoulds” and “musts.” As self-compassion expert Kristin Neff says, “while the motivational power of self-criticism comes from fear of self-punishment, the motivational power of self-compassion comes from the desire to be healthy, to reduce our suffering.”
So there you have it, our tips for becoming the new, better you this year: get clear on your why, setup healthy reminders, and start compassionately where you are. We hope this helps! If you have any other tips for successfully implementing goals and healthy habits, we’d love to hear them.