New Year's Resolutions were never really a thing for me. The winters have often left me wandering around with less energy, searching for sunlight, and fighting off feelings of hibernation. It's a miracle that I ever made it out of Buffalo, NY alive, since there's a lot of winter up there.
Personally, my tendency has always been to set fitness goals in the late winter or early spring. My life used to revolve around my 5K and half-marathon schedule, which required planning ahead for where and when I was going to run. Then in the fall, I'd find myself readjusting to less mileage and kicking off another year of teaching, which usually meant a goal reset.
Sometimes that meant more strength training.
Sometimes it meant healing from an injury. #overtrainingisNOTourfriend
Sometimes it meant changing up my diet - less meat, more meat, less ice cream, more ice cream.
Sometimes it meant going to freaking bed - I'm a recovered VH1 reality series binge-watcher.
And almost always, it meant not being an asshole to myself.
Many, many, many moons ago, I used to weigh myself every day. Preferably post-morning poop - you know, so I could get the lowest possible number. The tape measure and I also used to have a love-hate relationship. I wanted it to love me by creating a smaller waist and thighs, but it hated the demands I was placing on it. These numbers were jotted down in a spiral notebook so I could track their every little move.
As a teenager, I manipulated my food intake and over-exercised in an effort to "reach my goals." Into my twenties, I decided that my enjoyment of food was real, so I just ran and ran and ran as I tried to get to my "goal weight."
Do you know where that notebook of numbers is now? In a landfill somewhere, dying a slow, unrecycled death. It's numbers are fading from existence while I sit here chasing an iced coffee with water and debating if I should have a square of mint or hazelnut dark chocolate.
If you know me personally, you know that my priorities about my health and the way that I view my body have changed. (If you don't know me - check out these blogs to catch you up to speed really quick: Moving Away From the Scale, Quieting Your Inner Critic, On Being Skinny.)
My relationship with food is healthy - I eat when I'm hungry and enjoy delicious salads as much as I love a waffle cone with cookie dough ice cream. Rice cakes are no longer a meal. Neither is a green pepper with some dry tuna. And I eat an entire avocado without ever thinking "is there too much fat in this?"
These days, movement is fun. And if it's not fun, I'm not going to do it. Walks with Amol + Cody count as movement. Swinging kettlebells counts as movement. And sometimes, cleaning the house counts as movement. (I'm a self-proclaimed "Queen of the 90-Minute Blitz Clean - pardon me while I adjust my crown.)
Sleep is a huge priority for me. Gone are the days when I head out for a beer after 8:30pm. The TV remains mostly off, excluding a movie once or twice a month, and Seinfeld reruns. Being consistent with my sleep allows for the body and mind to rest for 7-8 hours each night. Keeping my bedtime and wake-up time nearly the same on the weekends also helps me calmly transition into the work week.
The biggest shift in my health came when I began meditating. And I continue to observe how meditation serves as an anchor for the rest of the components of my health. There are rough days, challenging weeks, and exhausting months that can lead to eating too many chips and too much salsa, sleeping less, worrying more, scrolling social media for cute quote to bring everything into perspective. When I go back to meditating, my awareness of habits, feelings, and emotions is clearer and that allows me to reset, refocus, and recharge.
So let's talk about goal setting. I'm going to walk you through a quarterly goal-setting process that has nothing to do with scales or tape measures.
Often times when I meet a new client, they want to:
1) establish a scale-based goal;
2) are nervous about getting measured,
3) and/or want to know if I write meal plans.
My responses are :
1) smash your scale;
2) measurements aren't my thing and you are so much more than any number;
3) nope, I'm not going to tell you what to eat.
The fact is prioritizing your health is so much more than your weight and how you look. And me telling you to eat broccoli or swap cauliflower for rice isn't going to make a bit of difference if you don't like broccoli and really love rice. And more often than not, when the scale doesn't move or people haven't lost more than an inch here or there, they quit.
My desire is for people to be the best version of themselves. Creating change takes so much patience, possibly a marching band, and 1,000 pep talks during all of the ups, downs, and loop-di-loops along the way. Setting goals that have nothing to do with our physical appearance can create the greatest changes of all in our health.
The Quarterly Goal Setting Process:
Reflection. The first step is getting clear on your goals is getting real with where you are right now. Pour yourself a glass of something tasty - my recommendation would be to mix seltzer water with a little bit of pomegranate juice. Turn on some music to get you feeling focused and let's dive into the reflection.
Starting with the positive, what can you celebrate in your world of health and wellness? Even if it feels like everything is going wrong, if you really have to squint, what can you find that is going well? Then, flip it - what isn't going well?
Take a look at those lists. What can you learn from everything that's going well versus the stuff that isn't? What are your biggest worries or concerns in regards to your health? If you could shout your proudest accomplishment from the highest mountain, what would it be? Is there something in your life that's affecting your health and makes you want to crawl into the darkest corner?
Now, let's consider actions that you can take to decrease your worries, roadblocks, and hangups in regards to your health. Look back at that list... What are the top three actions that will make it easier to avoid that obstacles that have set you back?
After you read this paragraph, close your eyes and envision three months from now. You're feeling healthier than you have in a long time. You've created new habits and routines that keep you moving forward.
What did you do to create these changes? What made these past three months so amazing? What did it look like for you to get from day 1 to now? Is there something that you stopped doing?
What are the top three items that stood out as game changers for you and your health?
Set. After you reflect, then it's time for the fun stuff - Setting those goals!
Go back to your list of three items that stood out as game changers, we're going to use those to create your quarterly goals. Do three goals feel to daunting for the next couple of months, knock it down to one or two. Make sure your goal isn't too easy to attain, but also isn't completely out of reach.
Write each goal beginning with "I will..." And now, we're going to get specific. 👇🏼
1) Why is this goal important to you and your health?
2) What do you have to do to get to your goal? List all of the steps.
3) What challenges or obstacles do you anticipate coming up along the way?
4) How makes up your support team? (Psst, you can have different people for high-fives versus straight-forward "get it together" conversations.)
5) When you meet your goal, how will you celebrate?
Repeat for as many goals as you've identified, but no more than three.
Get To Work. Every single health goal is going to look, feel, and sound different from person to person. And we all have different ways of staying on track. Here are some suggestions of how to remain dedicated to your goal:
- Post your goals somewhere that you'll see them every day.
- Begin your day with a daily intention; end your day with a reflection.
- Create a routine or habit tracker.
- Ask a friend to be your accountability partner.
- Schedule time to work on your goal.
- Celebrate the small wins.
Review + Reset. As you work on your goals, my recommendation would be to do a weekly check-in with yourself. At the end of each month, review your goals to celebrate all of your wins and recalibrate on the goals that aren't going well.
During these check-ins, go back to the reflection section and dig into everything that is going well, before you dive into your hang-ups. Is there a goal that just doesn't make sense anymore - ditch it. Is there a goal that you left behind while you were working on another, bring it to the top of the list and refocus on that one.
Do you need more accountability from a coach, trainer, therapist, app on your phone, or friends and family? Do you need people to back off?
Ask yourself the tough questions, then reset those goals that need tweaking and keep on moving.
At the end of August, I'm kicking off a Quarterly Goal Setting course that will discuss everything above and provide you with time to explore where you are now and where you want to be. A workbook will be provided to help you to establish your goals, templates with trackers to keep you dedicated, and monthly reflections to help you celebrate and refocus. Together, we'll create a roadmap that will get you to your goals with monthly check-ups along the way.
Are you ready to take your goal setting to the next level? Join us for our Quarterly Goal Setting course; register here.
Do you have a fitness goal and need additional support? Let's get acquainted. Message me here.
If you have questions, need a high-five or reminder of how fabulous you are, comment below so I can help you out.
Hugs + High-Fives,