Happy New Year! Everyone’s cheering. Hopeful. New year, new opportunities to start fresh. A beautiful idea. A beautiful sentiment. Everyone pledges to lose weight. Stop smoking. Get a partner! 365 days ahead must be enough to fix my life!
Until they aren’t. This has happened to me so many, many times. And then it comes Blue Monday and we feel all depressed because goddammit we failed again and, are we good for something in life? Are we setting too unrealistic expectations?
What do I consider realistic? A realistic expectation, for me, is:
- Striving to be a bit better at X goal, every year. Even if it’s just a little bit. Be gentle with yourself. You are trying.
- Not aiming for perfection. It’s fine if you fail one day. It’s fine if you fail one year. Just, continue when you feel ready. You can do this.
- Don’t indulge in negative self-talk. Give yourself a break. You deserve kindness. The kindness you think others deserve, give it to yourself, goddammit.
- Recognise your true value. Do you really need to weight 20 kg less? Who are you comparing yourself to? Why? Will you be happy once you reach your desired weight? Why? What is really making you unhappy now? I’m not saying this is an easy exercise and once you answer these questions you will have your answer but, nonetheless, try to spend 2 minutes of your time to think about this.
I remember a friend I had during my university years. We both always struggled with our weight, but while I tried to take it one step at a time (making mistakes along the way, of course), she was very drastic about it. She would start to diet and stop eating anything she considered unhealthy. No eating out with friends, 0 sugar, no fried food, no, no, no.
Is this sustainable? Would you like to commit to this faithfully for one year? Hell, would you commit to this for 3 months? I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t be able to because I’m not a monk and I want at least one Starbucks coffee every other week. But why was that necessary in the first place? She failed, every time she tried, she failed. She felt terrible and also didn’t lose as much weight as she wanted. But, could you commit to increase the number of veggies you eat during the week and stop snacking or snack fruit and be more permissive on the weekends? That’s doable! Maybe adding a bit of exercise? That’s totally manageable in the long term.
If you want to spice it up, you have plenty of time to do research, try new routines, figuring out what works best for you, your goal, your schedule, your hobbies… Humans are very, very complex creatures, there is no magical solution that works for all of us. Each of us will have to find our own way of doing things, but that’s part of the fun, right?
Sure, you might not see the results as fast as you get the results in a Google Search but, you will get there eventually. And, what is the rush anyway?