This is an article we wrote at the end of 2020. The tips for sticking to your resolutions are timeless.
There is a good chance you’ve made a resolution or set some goals for yourself. We think that is fantastic and would love to support you in any way possible.
We know a couple things about you. For example, you’ve got excellent taste in gluten free foods!
The other thing is…we know you are human.
And being human means the path to achieving those goals and resolutions is going to be a bumpy one.
It’s likely you will fall off the wagon. (Why is it always a wagon? Who even has a wagon these days?)
You may just give up completely.
Let’s not forget we are all doing this in the middle of a pandemic!
Then there is that part where you feel like a failure and you just carry that icky feeling around into other parts of your life which complicates things even more.
You may not know this, but before we started Think.Eat.Live., Dan & I made our living as organizational psychologists. Basically, we studied why people think and behave the way they do. We coached individuals, leaders, and teams to achieve breakthrough goals!
So, if there is anything we truly understand…it is that you are human and change is hard.
Your brain wiring, your environment, and your social systems are perfectly aligning to support you STAYING EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW.
So, not achieving that goal isn’t a failure. It’s just being…human!
But, we don’t want you fighting that “failure” feeling all month.
(Did you know 80% of people fail at their resolutions by early February? Jan 17th is actually Ditch Your NY Resolutions Day.)
Here are some tips from your favorite Organizational Psychologists:
Understand your WHY. Your desire to change must come from within. It should come from a place of caring and self-love, not punishment. It has to be your goal, not someone else’s goal for you. If eating healthier or losing weight is one of your goals, are you envisioning a future where you feel better and are thriving? Some people refer to this as their “Big Why!” What is your Big Why?
Understand there is a payoff you are getting for staying exactly the same. (oooh, this one gets uncomfortable to explore, doesn’t it?) Many times people don’t do things because the payoff they get from not changing is greater than the rewards for changing. Put another way, it often pays to stay the same. If you don’t understand what is anchoring you in your current state or what is making you very comfortable right where you are, then setting goals will likely result in that failure feeling! You’ll want to spend some time thinking about this.
Understand your desired state. You have to be able to picture what your goal looks like and get specific! What does being healthier look like to you? What does it feel like? How will you know when you’ve achieved it? This might be a good time to make a vision board!
Create specific plans to reach your goal, if only a week at a time. Many people stop at the level of defining their desired state and don’t get specific enough with their planning to be able to follow through easily when all the overwhelm of change inevitably hits. this is where the rubber meets the road and a resolution either turns into reality or gets ditched quickly. You’ll want to be clear about: what activities will you start that you aren’t doing now? What things will you stop doing? What might be some likely obstacles you’ll encounter and how will you deal with them? What things will help you be more successful? For example, if eating more healthfully is your goal, you might start doing meal planning for a couple days or week at a time, and ensuring you have healthy foods around especially for times when you are likely to be tired or busy and grab junk food. You might have a partner or friend who has a similar goal who can do things with you so you can make it more fun and more likely that you’ll follow through.
Do not rely on deprivation and “will power.” Many resolutions are about quitting things and you might see some great results in the short term, but it just isn’t sustainable for most people. You are much more likely to be successful in meeting your goals if you start or replace things. I once quit coffee during a cold Chicago winter by switching it out for tea. I didn’t focus on the fact that coffee was going away, just what was in it’s place. Doing this, I could still keep the ritual, the warmth and the caffeine but no longer had coffee robbing calcium from my bones (I was getting a bone density issue too young but thankfully was able to reverse it with just a few new habits!) If you replace something you’re doing that you want to stop with an incompatible behavior, you are much more likely to succeed. Drinking coffee and tea isn’t very compatible–most people would just pick one! It was the same idea when we went low carb gluten free. We replaced the things we loved with other things we loved. We didn’t just avoid baked goods altogether, and we didn’t want to eat dry and crumbly substitutes. Both things would never have worked long-term.
Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would a good friend. Give yourself the chance to have small wins every day. Think baby steps instead of running a marathon. Get that positive celebration energy going right away! And remember, change should not be about punishment. Your friend would never call you names or berate you, but we often do this to ourselves with negative self-talk. It is not motivational to most people! You will have some great days and some not so great ones. (You know, you’re human). What you tell yourself about your progress matters. Cheer yourself on and be accepting of yourself like you would do for anyone you love.
We are certainly excited about 2021 and some of the things we have to share with you in the upcoming year, but this year things just feel a bit different.
If you are in a place where making big changes, following restrictive “rules,” or cutting out some of your comforting foods and routines just feels like too much, we understand that.
We started Think.Eat.Live. because we literally wanted to have our cake and eat it, too! We wanted our gluten and dairy free foods and we wanted balanced blood sugar and to knock out hunger cravings. We are pretty proud of our little sunflower seeds! We want you to feel good and feel proud and get to eat your cake, too. (Or waffles, or pancakes…)
That feeling when you took care of yourself and your family, knowing that you just served up a nutrient-packed, blood sugar friendly meal and everyone loved it? That is the “feeling” we want you to carry around to other parts of your life. You’ve got this!
- Figure out your Big Why.
- Ditch the icky failure feeling.
- Create specific vision and plans.
- Don’t deprive yourself–serve up yummy food!
- Be kind to yourself.
We are cheering for you this year!
Caryn & Dan