We’re a few days into 2016 now and, for many of us, an ambitious start out of the gate is slowing at the first turn. Why? The first workout or the first carefully planned meal usually goes well and makes a resolution aficionado feel like a superhero. Let’s face it – going from nothing to anything at all represents an improvement of 100%. It makes sense that the first step should make us feel good about ourselves, but what about the second workout? The glow of ambition has faded, tangible rewards are nowhere in sight and all we have to look forward to, in that moment, is deprivation. Is it time to throw in the towel? Instead, it may be time to recalibrate.
It’s quite common to set expectations against the standards of others. Even if we aren’t competitive by nature, we take note of those individuals in our community who appear to be doing well. “I’ll have what she’s having,” we think to ourselves, and we imagine ourselves transformed. This approach almost always fails. Each person’s genetic, emotional and personality profile is different. Even if a certain approach is always effective, it will look different on each of us. The key is to understand what will work for us realistically, where we are right now. Rather than striving to emulate a role model, we’ll be more successful and satisfied reaching for our own personal best.
With recalibration, instead of trashing a resolution we modify it to make it more doable. This starts with taking an honest look at ourselves.
- Keeping a food/exercise/meditation diary (or whatever area of life you’re working on) is a big help. Sometimes our perceptions and reality don’t match. It’s helpful to understand where we’re truly starting. There should be no judgment here, just an honest assessment.
- Consider personality traits that will affect outcomes. Are there times of the day when willpower sags? What will make a workout more fun, food more delectable?
- When recalibrating, keep in mind that it’s what we do on a regular basis that will affect the result. So a half-hour walk every day may be better than a longer, harder workout a couple of times a week. Also, those infrequent workouts can too easily be pushed off to the next day, or the day after that.
- If giving up your favorite treat altogether is unrealistic, maybe limiting it to once a week will work at first.
There’s always a chance for another recalibration later on in the year, when you’re armed with the confidence that comes from seeing results from all your hard work. The doctors at Atlanta Functional Medicine can help you with practical and proven strategies as you establish your personalized plan.
By Cheryl Salinas