1. REDUCE YOUR GOALS TO ONE OR TWO: I get easily excited when I am thinking about making a change. Thinking about how I will feel when I achieve something can be exhilarating. It’s also a huge undertaking (depending on your goal) and is a process that can take months or sometimes even years. It’s easy to get overzealous and overload yourself with goals when you are eager to get on with a change, but overload can lead to overwhelm. When we get overwhelmed, we lose motivation and start to think, “I’ll never be able to do this so what’s the point?” and often give up. It can be daunting to think about what it will take to get from where you are now to where you want to be. The key (I have found) to sustained success is to bite off one small piece at a time. Start by making a list of the things you want to change. Perhaps it’s losing weight, improving your relationship, or creating better self care and balance. Write down all the ones you can think of and number them in priority of what you would like to tackle first. Begin with one or mabye two. This will improve your focus and, ultimately, your success rate. Multi-tasking is viewed as a strength by many and is often one of the most sought after job attributes. Well, new research suggests it may benefit your job or others that you work with, but it’s not benefiting you. Just think, if you’re a little invested in fifteen things, you can’t possibly do them well. If you’re a lot invested in two things, you will complete them with more attention and care. Your stress level will decrease and how you take care of yourself will improve.
2. STEER CLEAR OF DIETS: Be very wary of any diets promising results in a short amount of time. Trust me, I know it’s tempting to want to do something radical because you’re fed up with your body, but losing weight and getting in shape is a healing process that involves more than just your body. To make a lasting change, your mental and spiritual health must also heal along with your body and this can take time. Don’t worry though, you can still get the results you want, it just may take a little patience. It may also look a little different than you anticipated. A great place to start is to reduce the amount of chemicals you are putting in and on your body. These include non-organic foods, artificial additives, refined and processed “food product,” and chemicals added to health care products. In the beginning, the focus is typically on the scale, but it’s often more important to pay attention to how you feel. Your body is an amazing tool and if you can learn to listen to it, it will lead you back to health every time. The beginning of any change is the hardest so going easy on yourself will pay off in the long run. You will go through many trial and errors to figure out what works for you. There is no way of eating that works for everyone so begin to develop a curiosity about yourself and what you need. If you eat something that you feel guilty about or that doesn’t make you feel good, learn from it, but try not to let it eat you alive with guilt. We all have good food days and bad food days. It’s what we choose to eat most of the time that will make a difference, not the 10% of choices that aren’t so great. Once you start feeding yourself a clean, plant-based diet (with our without meat), your body will start to crave healthy foods instead of junk foods. Also, we often don’t think of what we put on our body as having the same effect as what we put in it, but our skin is our biggest organ and everything we put on it will eventually get inside
it. Opt for natural brands without synthetic dyes, fragrances, and chemical additives. There are plenty of brands out there to try and many add essential oils for a natural aromatic experience.
3. GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS AND CREATE A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT: Facebook, email, shopping, eating, binge TV watching, and texting. There are a million ways to distract yourself from what is really happening. These things are usually what derail us from making the changes we so much desire. Have you ever made what you thought was a really great plan, followed it for two weeks, and then quit because it was too hard? If we don’t create a really good system and plan for losing weight or getting in shape, we often get overwhelmed or discouraged when we don’t see instant results. This leads to a loss in motivation and inspiration which ultimately leads to failure. Once we lose that motivation we tend to bring in the distractions to pull our attention away from the bad feelings associated with failure. These distractions can take up hours in a day and are often not productive at all, just bandaids. They’re time wasters and attention stealers. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you the next time, one area to focus on is your support system and environment. Be really picky about the energies you surround yourself with. It may even be beneficial to hire an expert to help guide and support you through the ups and downs. Having someone who is neutral can be invaluable when working through challenges. In addition, good quality connections with friends and family can also help ensure your success. When the going gets tough, and it will, if you have someone you trust to keep you in the game you’ll be less likely to quit. Both professional and personal connections can provide accountability and also the reassurance that others are most likely struggling with similar things.
And lastly, as Winston Churchill said, “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP.” If things don’t go your way, alter your plan or ask for help. We always love to hear your stories so if you have been successful in discovering a plan that works for you or even if you’ve struggled with finding the right plan, we welcome you to share that experience for others to read!
Shawn Clavelle holds a bachelor's degree in nursing and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Certified Yoga Instructor. She believes that yoga is the perfect addition to any fitness routine and ideal for athletes who have sustained injuries that preclude them from participating in other forms of exercise. Shawn customizes her yoga classes to be fun, engaging, and designed to help you lose weight, tone, strengthen, and experience a deeper sense of confidence and esteem. She provides modifications for her students so that each class can be rich and enjoyable.