Happy New year my lovely readers!
I can’t quite believe we are in 2017, and firstly thank you so much to all of you whom have continued to support me and this spaghetti-esque journey I’ve had for half a decade. We’ve been through ups and downs and stay the sames. We’ve “drawn the line” more times than we can count – and we have survived exams and night shifts and even brexit together – always with the motto “we got this!”
So roll around January, after the festivities of Christmas and the Newyear, society is plunged into this “new year new you” state of remorse. Suddenly all those unsolicited blind rumages deep into the tub of celebrations chocolates, shortbread, mince pies and champagne top ups don’t seem such a good idea. Its super easy to feel not only guilty what has happened before, but also under a lot of pressure to erase the damage done as soon as possible!
I am aware that the blog/youtube/IG and well everything is very “goal saturated” at the moment – so much so I haven’t even looked at one article for advice and you probably might not even want to read this assuming it will be the same old same old. It all feels a little…. cringey…. and I have a little secret – and I know I probably shouldn’t say this – but I strongly dislike goals and goalsetting (I wanted to say hate, but hate is a big much)
The reason is that I’ve lost count how many resolutions I’ve made and have been unable to stick to. As a teenager, I promised myself that by every summer I would have lost 2 dress sizes and be in a swimsuit, yet every autumn I found myself looking at myself bigger than the one before. Breaking resolutions is heartbreaking – as you are essentially letting yourself down over and over again, stuck and unable to change.
It got to a point that the “G-word” instilled fear in me – I found myself being a complete self-sabotager. This was particularly true for weight loss. If I told myself right by the end of the month you must loose 6 lb, ie 2 lb a week – I usually found myself gaining that amount instead! The pressure of goal setting would send me into a frenzy – I would freak out, and find myself acting and behaving in a way that was in the total opposite of my initial goal!
So – a few nights ago, alone and uninterrupted, I spent a long time sitting down thinking to myself about my intentions (not goals) for 2017 (A week late to the resolution party i know lo)l. If Im honest i felt totally overwhelmed with the new year. I wanted to change everything and nothing at the same time. And not just in the world of weight. I know i want to lose weight, but felt completely saturated from half hearted promises over the years, and overstimulated with the 1000s of ways to do so (not just in terms of quick fix diet vs long term lifestyle, but also the ethics of “counting” calories/points/kgs and the ethics of the diet and clean eating industry).
All lovely enough to have such food for thought – but i was, in effect, “binge-ing “on information and emotionally overeating others opinions, so much so it has stifled my journey in many ways. Im your classic give a girl too many options & she won’t make a decision at all.
The below is a step by step guide as to what I decided to do, which already a few days in is better than all the resolutions I have made combined.
Step 1: what do you want?
So I decided my intention for 2017 is to get back to basics. Looking specifically at my weight, I made my intention clear whether i want to gain, lose or stay the same weight.
I know it isn’t rocket science, but having made that first very basic decision (to lose) i then moved on to…
step 2: how much and by when?
…how much i want to lose, putting a number to my efforts and having a tangible goal. There is no “end date” but creating focus date helps not to get lost in the vastness of the journey. I have decided that Valentines day will be my first mini goal date (as it my weightwatchers anniversary) and then April 1st and my last mini goal date. Be realistic – you are not going to lose a stone in a week, but at the same time don’t sell yourself short – with a healthy weight loss range of 1-2lbs a week you could be shifting a stone in 2 months if you really focussed!
step 3: what do I do now?
I then looked at the behaviours i specifically need to do (more than not do) to achieve my goal. With everything I have tried over the years, I have come to a place that I want to be in a mindset of abundance not restriction, so if i choose not to eat x y and z its from a place of loving not loathing. In practical terms – I got REAL specific – right down to explicitly writing our in my book what I want to do and why I’m doing it eg.
- “I will drink 2l water everyday because i feel better when I’m hydrated”
- “I will cut down on drinking coffee, only drinking on special occasions from good coffee houses, because I find caffeine dehydrates me and makes me feel more tired and too wired”.
step 4: why now?
Finally, and possibly most importantly (& most neglected) is WHY NOW. Why 10.01.2017 ? What makes this month/year different from the last? This q. Is the hardest because it forces you to be real with yourself, because, frankly you can (ans probably have) managed to get by as you are. For most of us (unless you have a horrible health scare/wake up call) you can continue life at your weight now – and maybe have allowed yourself to by buying a size up. Or maybe you know the reasons why u want to lose weight but they don’t feel so real because you cant “see” it (for example wanting to “lose weight to be healthy” or “reduce your cholesterol” or “lose weight to conceive easier”).
Why now forces you put yourself and your life into a state of dissatisfaction – it makes you express that you do not like things as they are now, and you want to change and put yourself through all the steps because the way things are isn’t doing it for you anymore – and that is a tough pill to swallow. Its why so many people, myself included, have lived for years in denial – ignorance is bliss. It also means you may have to have direct (or indirect) conversations with your loved ones, and learn the art of saying no thank you.
step 5: don’t wait ! have fun and live your life
in relation to the point made above in “why now?” I realised a massive error I had made in my own journey was take everything really seriously. I wanted to lose weight (and a lot of it) to improve my health – I’ve got a family history of everything under the sun and being obese doesn’t do me any favours! I also want to have children one day, but am so scared of the horror stories about being “fat and pregnant” I promised myself I would loose 100 lb before I even thought about it! I’ve since realised that that kind of thinking, and those kind of wild promises to myself do nothing for my confidence. Health is such a complicated concept – and for some people the tough love scare tactics get them running in the right direction – unfortunately for me, it does NOT work. Self sabotage rears it ugly head again, and I find myself preventing myself from reaching the big life goals I had associated with my weight loss success.
Instead of telling myself when I lose X pounds I will have a baby/do a bungee jump/ go scuba diving/ wear a bikini / get on stage and do the hip-hop karaoke (insert absurd bucket list goal here) I have made the conscious decision to LIVE LIFE NOW – if you take nothing else from this ramble of a blog, please don’t wait for your life to begin when you have lost weight – life is happening RIGHT NOW!
step 6: detach weight loss from everything else
sort of suggested in step 5 – (and now we are getting really deep and dirty into goal talk, much more than your regularly SMART style goal setting) let go of the idea that when you lose the weight, you’re life will be magically better. I have detached my weight loss efforts from the other big goals in my life (relationship, career, family, house etc). I couldn’t quite see through the fog before – I was trying to juggle all of it and all were of high importance to me. I’ve come to peace that I’m going to make a conscious intention to live a healthier life, to make time for exercise and make healthier food choices, but thats that. Doing so doesn’t mean I will find my dream home, or will land me my dream job. It may help towards my self confidence and improved body image, which then might impact on other areas in my life no doubt – but – again – its about letting go of the pressure of it all weighing on your shoulders. let go of the to do list.
step 7: try less
year after year – we have been conditioned to try harder in life. Grind. Hustle. Girlboss the shit out of life. You won’t get unless you work for it. go. go . go. ITS EXHAUSTING. sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to let it go, to try less, to just be and be good enough – not perfect. The problem with perfection is that there are two types – the type that have all their ducks silently lined up in a perfect row, and the other type that don’t even bother with trying as they know the ducks will quack and ruin it anyway. I am in the latter – I won’t do something unless I can guarantee I will do it “perfectly” – and that is something I am constantly working on! #progressnotperfection
so I think thats about it!!! What are your goals or intentions for the week, month or year ahead? what do you want to change, if anything, in your life? do you have any tips on keeping up resolutions! always lovely to hear from you
you got this!