As the Christmas hangover starts to wear off we move onto the next focus period: The New Year. It is a time of year when we assess what we have or have not achieved in the past year start and think about what we would like to achieve in the upcoming year.
It’s not uncommon to set lofty goals in the New Year. Pain points (after a month of eating out and drinking) and motivations to change are high. There’s nothing wrong with setting these ambitious goals, but has this yearly goal setting become another routine that doesn’t lead to much change?
Can you remember your health and fitness goals that you set last year? How many of those goals did you achieve? I know I didn’t reach my fitness goals from last January, but I did reach my fitness and life goals set later in the year (because I started practising what I preach....which I will cover in this email).
The process of setting goals can be addictive; the thought of what could be can get those feel-good chemicals pumping. And it’s normal to want to achieve those goals as quickly as possible. But often, doing everything at once, especially alongside a hectic work, family and social life doesn't work.
This year, try something different:
Enter Slowing Down to Speed Up
Slowing down to speed up is the opposite of what most people try and it underlines the core philosophy of my coaching process; from exercise & nutrition to lifestyle coaching.
First, let's explore the usual way of doing things: making lots of changes at once.
When you try to change a lot at once you might see progress for a short period of time; a few days to a few months. After the initial progress, there is often a rebound as you are unable to maintain the changes you have put in place. Using weight loss as an example, you may lose 6lbs in two weeks but gain 6lbs over the next month. The net change is zero.
If you are tired of your efforts leading to little long term change, then you may be ready to slow down so that you can speed up.
Slowing down to speed up is:
- focusing on the habits, behaviours and processes that lead to your goal instead of the outcome e.g. some of the processes that lead to weight loss are managing hunger, eating better quality food, moving more and managing your sleep & stress.
- choosing and working on one habit at a time, and working on that habit daily. You will require less physical and mental effort the more often you practice the habit.
- after you master one habit, you introduce a new and more challenging habit.
Initially, the progress on the scale or other health markers may not change as quickly as you would normally hope. That can be frustrating if you are used to seeing rapid changes. But as you master each new habit the progress will speed up, and more importantly, the changes will stick. You will feel in control of your change, you will enjoy the process more and you will not feel like you are fighting your body and mind every step of the way.
Why should I slow down?
Most people do not gain weight or fall into poor health overnight. It is often a process that happens over months, years and even decades as small changes in activity levels and food intake happen. And reversing that process is no different. The main difference is that gaining weight or losing fitness requires less intent and effort than losing weight or gaining fitness.
Map out a strategic plan over the next year that focuses on taking consistent, daily action that leads to consistent and gradual improvements and you will see the biggest changes in your health and fitness. A year of well-planned exercise, nutrition and lifestyle changes is a long time, especially as the progress starts to snowball.
It all starts with a change in your mindset and expectations. Have those intensive diet and exercise programs really served you in the long term? Or are you ready to commit to trying something different?
If you’d like help with breaking down your goals into a strategic plan then drop me an email at email@example.com with ‘I’m ready to try something different’ in the subject.
Enjoy the rest of the Festive period and have a great New Year.
That’s all for 2019. I’ll be back in the New Year with plenty of new content and tips.