This week marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. I don’t know about you but this makes me seriously excited. I’m not particularly fond of winter and all its baggage (lack of sunshine, snow, ice, bitter winds, and bone-aching cold, to name a few) so am inwardly cheering at this change in the tides. This girl is ready for some fresh flowers, buds on the trees, and sunshine. Halle-freaking-lujah friends.
Apart from these very welcome changes, I also think of the shift from winter to spring as a great time to bring about positive change. We are emerging from the doldrums of winter with new energy and excitement, burying our coats at the back of the closet and dusting off our sandals. What better time to celebrate this transition than to use that renewed energy towards a goal you’ve been meaning to work towards?
My philosophy about goals and change is fairly straightforward. Whether you are looking to change your diet, be more active, de-stress, or really whatever, keep these rules in mind.
- Keep it simple. If you have grand plans break it into bite-sized pieces and do them one at a time. For example, if your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight by swimsuit season, maybe try to lose “X” amount of weight by Memorial Day. Putting a number and time limit to a goal makes it more actionable.
- Make it realistic. And healthy for that matter. Losing 5 pounds in a week is not healthy or realistic, nor is it sustainable. Humans in general like things to happen immediately or within a fairly short amount of time. But it took you awhile to get where you are, so it may take some time to get where you want to be. Personally, I look at my health as a long-term game, with the efforts I put in now paying off in dividends later, similar to how an investment account accrues interest over time (sorry, as an accountant I just had to throw that in there).
- Find a partner. Whether it is a friend to do it with you or someone to hold you accountable, sharing your journey with someone makes it loads easier, especially when the going gets rough, which is going to happen at least once. Some people even find that sharing their journey on social media inspires them. Find what works for you.
- Find your “why”. Deep down, why do you want to do this? Do you not feel well? Do you want to feel more confident in your skin? Do you want to fit into that favorite pair of jeans? Determine what is driving you. Write it down. Put it on your mirror and in your kitchen where you can see it every day.
- Give yourself a break. You are going to have days where you trip up. We are human and we are prone to make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up or throw in the towel. Instead, dust yourself off and vow to get back to it tomorrow.
- Don’t make excuses. This may seem a tad harsh, but saying you don’t have enough time to accomplish something is not a valid reason to abandon a goal. We are all busy. You make time for what really matters in your life. So if this goal matters then make time for it, which may mean sacrificing time in some other area. Some of my favorite time savers for healthy eating (if that is your goal) are batch cooking, using my slow cooker, and planning my meals and snacks ahead of time. Speaking of…
- Plan. If anything can kill a goal it is being unprepared. I see this in my office every afternoon around 3 pm, which is when I head to the kitchen to prep the afternoon snack I’ve brought from home. Usually at this time someone is hungry and is standing in front of the snack machine about to purchase something that isn’t so great from them. Doing that every once in awhile isn’t going to kill you, but regular trips to get snacks like that will do you no favors. Whatever your goal, plan ahead of time and be prepared.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. One of the things I dislike most about social media is that it has created a culture of comparison. We are all on our own unique journey and everyone is different. Just do you. That is all that matters.
I believe that anything can be accomplished if you truly put your mind to it and your heart and soul behind it. It’s not going to be a cakewalk by any means, and there may be days where you feel like an utter failure, but if you keep the end goal in mind and what it will actually feel like when you meet your goal, it makes the journey so worth it.
One of the things I love to do most in this world is to help people work towards their goals, specifically those that are nutrition and fitness related. We all have different hopes and dreams. Being able to accomplish something that puts you closer to those dreams is one of the most amazing feelings. For me, if I can get someone to drink one less soda, eat two more servings of vegetables, or get up and walk for 30 minutes every day I consider it a victory. And every little victory counts when it comes to our long-term health.
So what change do you feel pulled to make? What has been on your mind to do as the seasons change? Whatever it is, I encourage you to get out there and give it a shot. You never know what you may be missing until you give it a try.