So the end of January is upon us and golly, is it ever a grim time of year. The effervescent enthusiasm of the New Year has slowly eroded into the dull reality of the same s**t in a different year. All those changes we felt so committed to feel like stupid things we said in a moment of madness. Turns out we don’t want to jog every day and the idea of clean eating doesn’t sound appealing after another dark, damp and dreary January day.
So here’s your choice – You can give up until the motivation strikes again at some random point in the calendar. Or you can chalk up the January disappointments to a great learning experience and try a fresh approach.
Success comes from rolling with the failures and disappointments, rather than seeing them as a sign from above that it was never meant to be, so this is not the end unless you want it to be the end. The dark of days of January are actually a super tough time to make big life changes. We’re all a bit broke, things to look forward to seem an eternity away and it’s natural to find yourself turning to old habits that gave at least some small comfort, even if they are counter-productive to your overall aims.
This coupled with the unrealistically high expectations of most New Years Resolutions is a recipe for failure and giving up. If you were aiming to solve a weight problem this year and are already disappointed, I want to offer you some ideas to get the ball rolling again. Rather than facing it down head on or wasting your energy beating yourself up, here’s some ways you can tackle the problem creatively – kind of solve it in a sideways manner.
1) Do more washing up – Measure your success in a week by how many dirty dishes there are to clean. There is less washing dishes involved in a bad diet than a good one. Fact! Easy, convenient foods keep you trapped in a fat body. But it is also about the complex relationship we have with food. The more we find ourselves drawn to food that requires little preparation and cleaning up, the more we are drawn into letting food play the role of emotional crutch, short term feel-good factor or self-sabotaging reward item. Yet, when we decide to make a change it can feel too much, too restrictive to live off a diet of salad and bland chicken breasts. Instead, make a compromise with yourself; one that won’t feel as horrible but will add up to big changes in your health. If the diet feels too much, just commit to cooking everything yourself. Whatever you want, but it must be made 100% by your own two hands. If you want a pizza, have it. But make the dough from scratch. Make the sauce out of actual tomatoes, not ones that came in pre-seasoned in a jar and enjoy. There will be loads of washing up, but you’ll have saved yourself the added sugar, preservatives and nasties that come in pre-packed food. And most importantly, you’ll be taking a great step to adjusting your relationship with food towards something more functional and healthy.
2) No gym, no problem – I love the gym, but if you don’t, stop trying to force it. Attempting to make yourself love something you hate will only turn you into either a rebellious little doughnut eater or a twisted ball of resentment. Here’s another fact – a little bit more moving is all you need to do to make a change in your body. It feels surprising to people that they don’t need hours of punishment in a spin class to be a successful slimmer. Maybe you will like working out eventually, or maybe you like it sometimes. But instead of feeling like a failure when you find yourself at home instead of on a treadmill covered in sweat, just move a little more than you normally would. Clean the bathroom in commercial breaks. Vacuum the carpets. Ask your toddler to dance to just one song from the radio with you. Little changes equal big results if they are things you can do consistently. And we do consistently the things we enjoy.
3) Just dream – Even if you aren’t doing now what you wish you could do, spend time imagining it. Imagine what you would do, what you would feel like, how you would be different. Be very careful not to turn your fantasy into an internal whipping. Don’t use this a chance to be critical of yourself. Instead , it’s an opportunity to just play with different versions of reality. Imagine yourself having willpower. Imagine yourself liking your body. This doesn’t change how things are now, but we are more ready to approach things we have thought about than things we actively don’t allow ourselves to imagine. Let your thoughts run away into a fantasy land where you are healthy and happy. It will prepare you for change eventually, even if it’s not today.
It’s been said that it’ll be all right in the end. So if it’s not all right, it’s not the end. Don’t give up.