Lose weight, eat cleaner, get to bed earlier, exercise and meditate. Look we have nothing against good intentions. Good intentions are the precursor to positive change and a healthier and happier you. The problem is how we go about setting those good intentions. And today we’re shining the spotlight on New Year’s resolutions and why they set you up for failure in the long term.
The first problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they encourage you to procrastinate on taking action on your health and fitness goals. For example, let’s say it’s mid-November, and maybe you’re already a bit out of shape because you’ve been so busy with work over the last few months. You’d like to do something about your health and fitness but you think, well, the festive season is just around the corner so maybe it would be best if you wait until 1st January to get started on that new regime and give it the proper attention it deserves.
This is disastrous thinking. You’re just giving yourself an excuse not to act so that you can continue the path of least resistance. And as discussed previously you only ever have three choices in your life of which the “do nothing” choice is the worst. I mean how is it ever a good idea to put off your health and fitness until tomorrow? Whoever said, “Always put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”? Nobody! Putting off your good intentions until tomorrow is setting yourself up for failure today.
The past is over, the future is uncertain. All you have is today. Seize it.
Secondly if you procrastinate on your health and fitness goals you are more likely to set overly ambitious goals in the New Year. Let’s face reality. If you can’t make a small change to your life now how are you going to make a massive change in the future? The bigger the goal the more willpower that’s required to maintain it. And as soon as life throws you a curved ball, and it always does, those good intentions go out the window. Work pressure and family pressures, relationship issues, bad news (more COVID-19 lockdowns for example) all conspire to sabotage your good intentions. And the bigger those good intentions are, the more likely they will be sabotaged.
Thirdly putting off your good intentions until after the holiday period encourages unhealthy thoughts and habits such as that it’s OK to binge eat and drink because you’ll work it off tomorrow. The same goes for "cheat days". Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way mechanistically at the biochemical level. When you overeat, you create an excess of energy intake which your body stores as fat by creating new fat cells. The problem is when you go on a diet, or embark on a gruelling exercise regime, you then lose the fat from those cells quickly, but you haven’t destroyed those cells. In fact, they become damaged and one of the only ways to “undamage” them is by filling them back up with fat! The body will fight you to get back to where you where you were before by sabotaging your own willpower and ramping up your hunger hormone - ghrelin. This is why gyms will never show you the before, after and 2 years later pictures of their clients. Because most of them have put it all back on again!
So, what should we do instead? First never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Start now, immediately, as soon as you have finished reading this article. Introduce a new habit into your life today.
And then to the second point, start small and manageable. Reckon you could get off the train a stop early on the way home from work? Or maybe take the stairs to your flat rather than the elevator? Or maybe even just wake up and do 10 burpees in the morning? How about diet? Switching out all your sodium chloride for table salt is an easy one. Replacing white sugar with brown sugar, or brown sugar with maple syrup, or maple syrup with molasses – yes there are dietary progressions just like exercise progressions! Start small, lock in those easy wins, and feel good about yourself. And then when you do arrive at the opportunity to binge eat you are far less likely to do so because you have already spent a lot of time building a healthier mindset towards your life and hence are more likely to make better decision right now rather than tomorrow.
Small, achievable habits, introduced regularly into your life, will set you up with the greatest chance of success so you never have to fail at New Year's resolutions again!
To your health, happiness and longevity,
The Levitise Team
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