I love the New Year! It calls many of us to slow down to reflect on the past year’s challenges and triumphs and define what new changes and experiences we would like to have in 2017.
So first, my dear reader, let’s take some time for reflection and intention setting:
What is it that you have learned in the past year? How is it that you have grown? What did you accomplish? What are you most proud of? What will you carry forward from this year into 2017? What are your intentions for your health and other parts of your life in 2017? What are you ready to change in 2017?
How ready are you to renew and/or dedicate your time and energy to your health this year?
If you are ready for this commitment, I congratulate you! Saying “Yes” is the first step in any venture, whether you are saying “Yes” for the first time or are renewing your commitment. In fact, you are accepting your call in your own hero’s journey, a story we are all too familiar with in fictional and non-fictional examples. You are the hero who has heard the call to fight the late night food cravings or train for your marathon and fight your inner monsters of resistance and self-doubt. It can be scary and exciting at the same time not knowing what lies on the other side of the threshold. There is something truly magical in making a commitment—in saying “Yes” to this new experience. In fact, it’s not an easy thing, because we do need to consider that a commitment to our health and change in lifestyle means dedicating our time and energy towards our vision, sometimes in exchange for something else. It calls us to shake up the safety and certainty of our current habits and comfort zone.
While the other side of the threshold, is uncertain, I do want to share some things I know for sure from coaching and in my own experience:
If you take time to reflect during and after each commitment, you will gain invaluable data about yourself and what to do next time to set yourself up for success.
In fact, I invite you to think of your commitment as an experiment. In the space of weight loss, we can be harsh on ourselves focusing on a binary YES or NO if we followed through on our commitment. For example, we commit to giving up sweets for a week, have a single cookie on a Saturday night and then beat ourselves up for the 1 failure amongst the 6 successes we had previously. In thinking of our commitment as an experiment however, we can analyze what was different about that Saturday night that made it harder to follow through. Perhaps we were at a social gathering and feeling deprived or perhaps we were feeling lonely and the cravings were much stronger. However, in committing fully to the experiment we are able to analyze the results and find ways to be better equipped next time.
Be open to receiving other outcomes you did not expect – both desired and undesired.
In NASA’s mission to the moon, not only did the mission put the first man on the moon, many well-known inventions sprouted out of the research including: cordless power tools, programmable pacemakers, and solar panels (Read more here). In the same way, committing to going to the gym 5 days a week may lead to other unexpected benefits such as meeting new friends who introduce you to new ways to work out and new ways of eating. Perhaps you try a certain diet – to find the structure was too rigid for you but that you enjoyed making certain recipes that you will carry those forward. Perhaps your struggle and successes with weight loss and emotional eating leads you to develop an expertise in the field and sets you up to become a coach for emotional eaters. That's my personal story and something I never saw that coming during my weight loss journey!
You will have more clarity from your efforts
As Marie Forleo, life and business coach has said: “Clarity comes from action.” In taking action, you will have more information about what works for you what does not – so that you can better inform your next steps.
So how is it that you can set yourself up for success in 2017?
Define your “Why” – When the going gets tough, remember why you began.
Be specific – The more specific the better. Be able to define the answer to the following question: “How will I know exactly when I’ve achieved my commitment for the day/week/month?”
Outline the steps - Ask yourself the question: “What is the first step to get to my goal?”
Set the minimum, middle, and maximum goal – A lot of people get overwhelmed by goals that are too big or underwhelmed by goals that are too small. What is the minimum you will do to move yourself forward to your vision? What is the maximum you will do?
Set up time each week to reflect and reassess each week
Set up accountability – Find a person and a system to help keep you accountable. A coach like yours truly is also an expert in this process and can help you get there.
So here’s to you committing fully and deeply to yourself in 2017. After all, even in the end if you do not get what you originally asked for, there will be many treasures and rewards on the journey this year. So enjoy and be open to what else may come!