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Just like diets, most of the time, they just don’t work. The reason for such abysmal success rates is likely because the resolutions you’re setting for yourself are way too restrictive.
In my experience, there are two main types of people I train. Let’s call one Mary. Mary is generally a Type A personality who sets goals and will do absolutely anything in her power to reach that goal. And then there’s Joe. Joe’s the type that sets goals that are unattainable to begin with, and insists on an all-or-nothing approach. Then because that inevitable and overwhelming doubt kicks in - not to mention other distractions that come with life, Joe gives up. You may wish you had Mary’s approach. But the issue with that approach is that often, it requires extreme methods of diet and exercise which doesn’t just take an extraordinary amount of effort, it usually results in burn-out and injury.
So, the fact of the matter is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to setting goals, as we are all starting from different levels. What is apparent in the majority of those who set goals, however, is the need to reign in the goalposts and set more realistic goals. This way, if you just cannot reach those goals for whatever reason, the stress won’t necessarily result in destructive patterns of self-pity or overwhelming feelings of failure. And on the other hand, if you are a Mary, reign them in so that you can still have a life that prioritises balance.
Rather than a weight-loss target, such as a number on the scale, or a crazy leap from no exercise to 6 days a week, aim for goals that are related to your overall fitness/strength/ abilities in the gym (or outdoors). This could be something like a target of push-ups, chin-ups, a time trial for a run, or improving a sport-related skill.
I know it may sound crazy, but it can be so easy to focus an unnecessary amount of energy on restricting all of the ‘bad foods’ and 'bad drinks'; no sugar, no chocolate, no white carbs, no fruit, no oils, no alcohol, no caffeine… no fun! In my experience, this restrictive approach tends to eventually lead to bingeing and a poor relationship with food.
Focus on trying to add in more protein, vegetables and fruits, and more water - or herbal teas if water on a freezing day doesn’t cut it. This way, you'll end up with more an 80/20 approach to nutrition and can have a balanced, attainable lifestyle balance.
Late nights are a recipe for disaster. Whilst it may seem ideal at the time to be on your phone/ laptop working, mindlessly scrolling, or getting another episode of that series you’re obsessed with in, I assure you, you will regret it tomorrow. Exhaustion leads to putting off exercise, and loading up on sugar for quick energy!
We all love a good takeaway, and whilst we (especially if living in the metropolitan areas) have an abundance of healthier options available, you just never know the calorie content of those foods. It is so easy these days to find free recipes of healthy and tasty foods that will not only save you money, but keep those overall calories down and health content up.
We have spoken a lot about not running yourself into the ground at work and with that hefty to-do list. Prioritise your mental wellbeing so you can really show up. If some of your goals are to be a more present parent/partner/friend/child etc, the best way to allow for this is having a strong and healthy mind. Making sure you are scheduling in time for yourself - whether it be a yoga class, a bath reading a book, a massage, a night out with your friends, a walk or even 15 minutes of meditation - is crucial.
Aim to reduce your alcohol intake. You’ve had your fun now, and I know the weather makes it easy to want to drink away the winter. But remember, it’s about minimising, not restricting, so time to switch some of those ciders for sparkling water and lime. Know your limits and set some guidelines for yourself. Because we all know the inflammation and knock-on effects that alcohol can produce. An easy way to do this is by trying to shift those catch-ups from being drinks focused.
Shani Kaplan is a contributing writer for Truth Naturals. She combines her knowledge gained from working within the fitness/wellness industry in Sydney and London for the last seven years as a Personal Trainer, and class instructor, with her addiction to research due to her BA in Business Marketing. Shani loves martial arts, resistance training, dance and yoga, nutrition, travel, design, photography, and art.