You’ve been good for 5 whole weeks now. Maybe six? But it’s getting harder every day, every minute. It’s winter where you are, and you want to stay inside where it’s warm and dry, or it’s summer where you are, and you want to be inside where it’s cool and dry. You’re hopeless. It’s not happening fast enough. It’s too hard, too different, too time-consuming. It’s too much, this New Year’s resolution of yours to get in shape this year.
And you’re hungry. Cranky. Hungry. Tired. Bored. Hungry. Sore, and hungry.
Oh, I know, honey. I know this feeling. This is the feeling of being overwhelmed by your good intentions, your elaborate plans, your gigantic goals. You made yourself a big, audacious promise, and now that you find yourself unable to achieve perfection, you’re ready to toss the towel, call it a game, accept defeat with all the grace you can muster.
And already, a little relieved that you’ve wised up, you slip. You binge. You sleep in instead of heading to the gym. You skip your yoga class, pick up the office donuts, put the cream back in your coffee. A total reversal, and doesn’t it just feel more like you? Comfy. Whew. Thank goodness that’s finished.
May I propose a different conclusion?
Try taking a smaller bite out of your grand scheme. Chew it completely, swallow it before moving on. It’s like our dads’ old joke: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Broiled, preferably, with all the skin and fat removed.
What if you did little better this day, this week, this month, instead of a lot better by the end of the year? Instead of radically overhauling your diet, and wearing your body out with an ultra challenge at the gym, and taking a lot of new supplements, and eliminating all the goodies in your life, and drinking 10 glasses of water a day, starting now, how about making just a couple of these changes this week?
Or just one?
Instead of trying to get completely fit this year, try breaking it down to what you’ll accomplish today, and maybe tomorrow. In what ways could you help your health today? Tonight? Right now? What looks doable? Don’t focus on the washboard abs of your dreams, but on the crunches you’ll do today. Instead of promising yourself you’ll compete in a marathon by the end of the year, focus on today’s training schedule. Skip fussing over following somebody else’s diet perfectly, and consider what changes can you make to your diet and way of eating this week, this month.
Relax, willya? Just relax. Try breathing. Try giving yourself a break for a second while you think things through.
If you take it a day at a time, making healthier choices each day, then each day you’re ahead of the day before. You head in the right direction. Remove the deadlines. There isn’t a finish line. You simply want to face the right way and keep moving.
Today, I haven’t exercised. At all. I’m sitting here, after dinner, writing to you. I have been battling a chest cold. It’s too dark and cold to run, and my strength isn’t up to a whole Pilates workout. Instead of getting discouraged about being “off plan,” and letting myself slide into a nap or a bowl of ice cream (these sound so good to me right now), I’ll do a few pushups, lunges, crunches. Then I’ll stretch. And that’ll be about it. It’s not much, but it’s facing the right way. It’s not a huge help, but it’s not hurting myself either.
Before you give up, give in, slide backward, think about just the day ahead of you. What can you do for yourself in this one day?