“Quitting because you don’t want to be uncomfortable will prevent you from growing.”
~Amy Morin, Author, LCSW
Yep, there’s a date for that: Quitter’s Day, which marks the week that most quit their New Year’s resolutions. The actual date may vary, depending on the resource you check, though most resources state that it falls somewhere between January 11th and 19th.
Most will agree that over 80% of New Year’s “resolvers” will fail by February. Read on the learn how to continue to living as the minority in a majority where quitter’s mentality is status quo:
#1 – Put Your Past Successes (and Failures) to Work for You: One advantage to having “lost the same 30 pounds 30 times” or “tried every weight loss program under the sun” involves knowing how your body responded in the past. Results of past behaviors and outcomes can help set future goals IF you are reasonable in your assessment. If you have been lucky to have followed a moderate plan in the past and lost weight (KKW lifestyle, Whole 30, or similar), then lucky you! You know how your body responds to sustainable nutrition patterns you can adopt for a lifetime. (DO NOT use your weight loss results if, say, you followed a 500-calorie-per-day diet or the first few weeks of a liquid or high-protein, low-carb diet. Those quick results tend to reflect a lot of fluid loss, as well as behaviors that simply aren’t sustainable.) Most will lose more in the beginning, and if you have a history of how quickly your body lost in the past over a month or so, that’s about the rate you might expect this time around, assuming not much has changed medically or weight-wise. If you don’t have the luxury of that rear-view mirror, it’s nearly impossible to predict steady losses over a considerable length of time (hello, unpredictable human behavior!). Work with a coach for goal-setting, or consider a range of 0.5-2# per week, planning for no movement on some weeks (yes, it’s also part of the process). Note that no one – not even an experienced coach – can have an exact crystal ball, and that no one ever loses at the same rate each week. Manage your own expectations about what’s truly realistic.
#2 – Go Back to the Future: No matter whether you use a paper calendar, online calendar, or future date reminder (timeanddate.com), set some milestones in your future! Most realize the importance of a compelling long-term goal though few set – actually write out – shorter milestones along the way. Want to lose 25# this year? Totally doable! Set your expectations at least monthly – i.e., “I will have lost five pounds OR reassess what I need to change” by setting actual reminders on your calendar! Your present self forces your future self to face the music, as opposed that goal that you initially had in your head on January 1st but was recorded nowhere…
#3 – Make Every Day Groundhog’s Day: Staying focused is like learning a language: in order to gain traction in the short term that sticks for the long term, you have to touch it daily. My gift to you in the new year…here are the four questions that I ask myself within the first 30 minutes of each and every day:
· “What five things am I most grateful for?”
· “What’s driving me today?”
· “What am I doing today to reach my long-term goal of _______?”
· “In what way(s) can I ‘stretch’ myself today?”
#4 – Plan for the Setbacks (Damn Them, I Know!): Example: These past four weeks, I’ve dealt with a bacterial sinus infection, lost my voice for five days, and am forced to take a month off from the gym, thanks to removal of an atypical mole. All of those things are definitely interfering with my muscle growth plan short term! Setbacks will happen, the unfortunate will rear its ugly head when it’s least convenient, and you will be frustrated. Plan for it: vow to focus even harder on your nutrition. Make and freeze some high-protein, healing meals for that “someday” when you’re sick. And have ready that reminder or even letter to your future self when your mojo has been pulled out from under you. You know, the “it sucks but embrace the suck anyway” message you will need to hear. Write it when you’re motivated, and back it up with that old favorite that we despise but know to be true: “COMMITMENT MEANS STAYING LOYAL TO WHAT YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO DO LONG AFTER WHEN MOOD YOU SAID IT IN HAS LEFT YOU.”
#5 – Publish & Promote It: Yeah, it’s uncomfortable at times. And you may be afraid of sharing with the world your intentions, setbacks, and successes; no one likes to look like a failure. But it is important to share with others what you’re doing it and how. Otherwise, you’ll be inclined to give into what everyone else at the party is drinking, hide in the restroom to eat what no one else is eating, and live at something else other than face value. If you have intentions to live healthier, you’re going to have to OWN THEM, or face the exhausting work of keeping up a charade. You’re going to need to retrain others how they treat you as you are retraining yourself. Success will not happen in a vacuum nor go unnoticed. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? You’ll face some health shaming, and you might trip along the way. What’s the best that can happen? You give others the chance to exceed your expectations (chances are someone else also has similar wishes to get healthier) and get some partners in success along the way! Your choice where you ultimately wish to do that work.
In summary, don’t fear the follow through! Cut out the easy exits from your past, and embrace in 2020 what’s on the other side of not giving up.
Coach Jodi Sheakley-Wright, PhD, is one of the lead behavioral coaches at KK Wellness Consulting. She has also achieved pro status as a natural bodybuilder, donated a kidney, and appreciates each day to help clients achieve more than they thought possible! Request a consult or related service at https://www.kkwellnessconsulting.com/services.