Wow. That was quick.
We are officially one week into the New Year,…..how are those resolutions coming along? Some of you are feeling optimistic because you initiated a SMART plan for achieving your resolutions, focusing on one day at a time. What’s a SMART plan for success? Take 6 minutes and revisit my blog on resolutions, motivational pitfalls and steps for New Year success that will survive past February.
But moving on. Some of you got stumped in making resolutions. You said you were feeling too overwhelmed by life in general, or you just didn’t know where to begin. But what you really said is that you don’t feel ready to change your current routine, even though you know it’s inadequate.
But hey. No judgment.
The truth is that we don’t do change well, even when it’s in our best interests, because our brain craves predictability and structure. Routine provides for both; it anchors us in an otherwise turbulent sea of existence. Any change to the status quo creates anxiety for a number of neurological reasons, which makes changing our lives, vis a vie our routines, a bit dicey.
While some of that anxiety can be taken in stride, and actually serve as a positive force in propelling us forward, most of us fall victim to the dark side of anxiety, allowing it to keep us locked into habits that no longer serve us, simply to protect ourselves from feeling anxious and uncomfortable.
As such, a key to changing our routine and, consequently our lives, is to do so in ways that don’t trigger our brains to go into freak-out mode. We need to shift our routine “under the radar”; keeping changes relatively small and incremental, BUT consistent, so that our routines shift without much fanfare. Done consistently enough, little things will successfully alter our lives in a short amount of time, without allowing anxiety to get the upper hand and make us quit.
So what sort of little things could we do to start changing our lives while staying on the neurological “down low?”
Start with identifying a general area in your life where change is desired. Next, spend no more than 5 minutes brainstorming simple ways to up the ante on tasks you already perform within that realm. For example: you already have to walk to and from your car multiple times a day. Perhaps a little thing could be to commit to lunging that walk.
If possible, commit to implementing one or two little things every day for 2 weeks. Then, if you’re feeling up to it, add one or two new little things to your day, committing to another 2 weeks. But do NOT perform more than 4 new little things a day, as the secret to your success is to keep changes small but consistent; less is more.
Remember that we want to be “sneaky” in our changes to ward off neurological obstacles, so don’t worry if you feel like your little things are too little; little things lead to little wins, which builds up confidence, begetting further wins, adding up to some BIG wins…. it’s all about the process. Below is an example of some little things that might help jump start your list…
- Add 5 more pounds to the bar than you want to.
- Do 20 air squats before each meal
- Show up to class 5 minutes early to mobilize
- Do sit ups during commercial breaks of your TV time
- Do 20 burpees in the morning and 20 at night
- Dance for 3 songs in your living room, ideally with the kids
- Set an alarm to get you up from your desk every hour to do 25 jumping jacks
- Lunge walk to your car when leaving/arriving home
- Do 20 pushups in the morning and 20 push ups at night
- Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind you to pull your shoulders back and down.
- When brushing your teeth, balance on 1 leg at a time for 30 seconds for 2 rounds
- Commit to at least 4 WODs a week (you could your upgrade your membership if necessary or pay for a drop in)
- Hold a plank or a squat during TV commercials
- Measure your creamer in your coffee
- Measure a 4 oz pour for your wine
- Chew each bite of food 15 times
- Drink a glass of water before each meal
- If you have to eat on the road, pull over and get out of your car to eat, even if it means eating standing up against your car
- Drink a protein shake before bed
- One day a week, go flesh(meat)-less
- Limit your alcohol to 4 drinks on the weekend
- Cut sugar out of your coffee
- Instead of a big dinner, have a big lunch.
- Pick a “Veggie of the Week” and explore how many ways you can use that veggie in your meals every day
- Commit to having protein at breakfast every morning
- Start logging your food, with no judgment, for no other reason than to get clear about what you really take in, and merely review each Sunday.
- Every Sunday, prepare all your protein for the week: grill or roast it up so all you have to do is add veggies
- Find a kick ass song that makes you happy and listen to it while you’re getting ready for the day
- Before closing your eyes each night, give 3 silent thank you’s: 1 for a specific person, 1 for an event that occurred that day, and 1 for a yet-to-be achieved hope/goal
- Buy yourself/a loved one flowers once a week
- Set a timer and meditate for 5 minutes a day…also known as sitting silently and focusing on your breath. Count your in-breath as 1 and your out-breath as 2, counting up to 10 and then starting over again at 1. If/when your mind wanders, simply start over at 1. again.
- 30 minutes before bedtime, shut down all screens.
- Each morning, jot down no more than 3 essential things that MUST happen that day. Focus your efforts on those items first and allow the other concerns to be addressed later.
- Once a week in training, focus exclusively on your breathing. Forget the clock. Don’t worry about smashing out a PR. Just see if you can workout hard while keeping focus on your breathing.
- Set your alarm to GO TO BED
In closing, remember that when it comes to making resolutions for change, less is more. And don’t forget to make use of the tools at your disposal! RVC coaches can help you set goals, provide action plans, and accountability. Let us know how we can help. And in the meantime, get to steppin’ to create a great year!