If your New Year’s Day was anything like mine, you woke up and felt as though a year’s worth of weight had been lifted off your shoulders. You felt as though anything was possible, and you wanted to get up and get started on your New Year’s goals right away.
Why can’t every day be like that? How can we make that New Year’s feeling last all year? How do we go about not losing that loving feeling for our New Year’s goals?
Just For Today
I think the reason the first day of a new year seems like a fresh start is that in our minds, it’s day one of 366 (it’s leap year!). As the days of the year pile on, they seem cumulative in our minds, and any unhealthy choices we’ve made are highlighted in the brain as a failure of the whole year.
We need to nip this thinking in the bud. Throw it out. Get rid of it. Just stop.
To help focus your mind on each day as its own new fresh start, make daily resolutions instead of weekly, monthly, or yearly ones. Start your resolutions each morning with the phrase, “Just for today.”
- “Just for today, I will workout for 30 minutes and try out a few of those scary weight machines.”
- “Just for today, I’ll eat a healthy dinner.”
- “Just for today, I will skip dessert.”
Skipping dessert “just for today” is a lot easier on the mind than saying you’ll never have it again. And once you do it once, you’ll feel empowered to make that same resolution tomorrow. And the next day, and the next.
Put Your Goals Front and Center
If you’re striving to eat better and get more exercise this year, you’re probably also going to have to get on that scale at least once a week. But if the scale is hidden in the back of your closet, that’s probably not going to happen. And if you don’t weigh yourself regularly, your goals are going to start to slip around the time your significant other gives you a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
Try doing what I did: put that ugly, horrible, no-good scale somewhere you’ll see it everyday, preferably in front of a full-length mirror. It will remind you of your goals, and exposure therapy says that over time, it will make stepping on that scale a little less intimidating.
Chances are, you got at least one hokey calendar for the holidays. I know I did. Put that calendar to good use by tracking your workouts, your eating habits, your weight, or whatever healthy goals you have for the year.
If you can see your progress as the year goes by, you’ll be less likely to give up when the going gets tough. If you miss a day or two, it’s not the end of the world. Just make sure to keep pushing yourself every day to be active and eat healthy.
The best way to keep that New Year’s feeling all year long is to not let a whole year’s worth of days scare you. Take your goals one day at a time, and make small goals and small successes lead to greater overall health and fitness.