It’s that time of year again where we hunker down and claim this is going to be the year we lose weight, ditch sugar, start exercising…
But, every year, we get to February and have fallen so far off the wagon that we feel defeated. We think we just don’t have enough willpower, so we give up.
It’s a frustrating journey to want to be healthy while feeling powerless to change.
The good news is there is a way to get what you want that doesn’t require willpower. Cause let’s face it. Willpower never works. None of us can muster up enough willpower to change our lives.
Here are the 3 New Year’s resolution mistakes people make and what to do instead:
Mistake #1: We don’t change our identity.
We make resolutions to exercise or eat healthy, but we don’t think about what kind of person we need to be to exercise and eat healthy.
If you didn’t exercise last year, you are not the kind of person who exercises. So, who do you have to become this year to be the kind of person who exercises?
If you want to ditch sugar, what kind of person do you need to become? How do you want to show up in the presence of sugar? Do you want to be the kind of person who can take one bite and leave the rest or the kind of person you were last year who eats the whole thing and gets another serving?
The first thing you have to decide when you want to change something is who you want to be and how you want to show up.
Mistake #2: We don’t prepare our environment to support us.
If you want to eat less sugar, you need to get rid of the sugar in your house. If you have sweet treats in your pantry, you’re going to need an awful lot of willpower to not eat it and we already know willpower doesn’t work.
When you know who you want to be, then you can set up your environment to support who you are becoming. You can clean out your kitchen and get rid of all the foods that don’t serve you and require willpower to avoid.
Set up your environment at home, work, with family and friends, and in the car to support the person you are becoming.
Mistake #3: We focus on the goal rather than the habits or action steps we need to take to accomplish the goal.
Resolutions have no power behind them, no motivation, no incentive. They require willpower to achieve and since no one has enough willpower to achieve anything, they always fail.
Instead of making resolutions, set an intention and then create habits (action steps) that serve your intention.
Habits are things we do every day. We have a habit around getting up in the morning and going to bed at night. We have habits around eating, where we eat, and when we eat. We are creatures of habit. We like to automate things, so automate getting healthy. Habits are a whole lot easier than willpower and they work.
If we want to exercise, we need to create a habit of exercise. The best way to do that is start small and increase gradually. The first step might be looking at a picture or visualizing what you want to look like. The next step is setting out exercise clothes before going to bed. Then we put on the exercise clothes. Next, we exercise for 1 minute and then 5 minutes until we are at the level we want to be. Voila, we created a habit of exercise. We are now the kind of person who exercises and it didn’t require a boatload of willpower to achieve.
If you want more in-depth support for creating habits that serve who you want to be, read Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s a game changer!
If you want to deep dive into creating a supportive environment, join my Kitchen and Body Reboot starting January 4th. Here’s what you will achieve:
- Prepare your mind to be the kind of person you want to be around food.
- Identify your habits and make a plan to nurture or create habits that serve your intentions and break habits that prevent you from being the person you want to be.
- Create a menu plan tailored to you and your food preferences that you prepare once and use over and over again. You will never dread the ‘what’s for dinner?’ question again! You’ll also never have to wonder what to buy at the grocery store. You’ll know exactly what you are eating every day so you won’t need to stand in front of an open refrigerator wondering what you want only to shut the door and grab a brownie in the pantry.
- Create a pantry, fridge, and freezer filled with foods that serve your intentions and no foods that make you fall off the wagon.
- Kick your sugar cravings to the curb.
You will start your new year with an environment in place that will serve your health intentions so you can actually accomplish them this time and never have to rely on willpower again.
Happy New Year! May it be your best year yet.