The year 2013 taught me a lot. I had lots of changes and learned a lot too. One thing I have learned about myself is that I don’t do well with new year resolutions. One year Loren and I decided to lose weight and get healthier by doing p 90x and eating healthier. Well some of the p 90x workouts were close to an hour and a half long, who has that much time in an evening? Not us for sure. So that resolution lasted about a month. And the healthy eating part? Well that never happened at all! So with lots of experiences like that, at the beginning of 2013 I didn’t even bother making any resolutions. I thought why bother? But throughout the year I was sort of forced to set goals and follow guidelines, due to different circumstances that came up. The first one was getting healthier. A friend asked if I wanted to do an eight week challenge with her and some other friends. It consisted of a a list of things that you had to do on a daily basis, and if you did those things you got so many points. The list consisted of things like: eating 3 servings of veggies, drinking 64 oz of water, exercising 20-30 min, no sweets, etc. Since it had guidelines, and I was accountable to others, I decided to do it! It was super hard, but totally worth it. I was able to stick with it! The second thing that happened was going on a budget. (That we actually had to stick to). After a lot of prayer, I left my Physical Therapist Assistant job to try and grow my business full time. With a drop in income, we had to watch where our money went. We had a budget before, but we never really followed it. It think it was more of a feel good thing (: And the last thing was starting my own business. I am very entrepreneurial minded. My dad had his own business for 27 years and I think I got that from him. So I kind of always dreamed of doing my own thing, but this year I actually really tried. I had to set goals and try new things. This past year has been a great learning experience. So I want to share with you what I have learned, and what has helped me on setting goals and actually changing something in my life.
When I think about it, I think it is kind of ironic that the year I don’t set any resolutions, I actually accomplish things that I really want to. I am not saying don’t ever set any resolutions. But I am saying, if you really want something to happen, follow through with it. Set goals. Don’t just say I am going to do _____ for my new years resolution. Then set back and watch to see if it magically happens. I know thats kind of what I did. Sure you go through the motions, but your heart isn’t in it. So after awhile it fades away and you are back to square one.
So how to I follow through with it all the way? Here is what I have learned:
1. Set goals.
This is huge. Probably the most important. This is different than just saying what you want to happen. You need to actually write down these goals.
*Make them attainable. I don’t think p90x was an attainable goal for two very out of shape people. Instead we should have said lets exercise 30 min a day. We could start biking or walking, and work up to running. If you start with something huge, you will get burnt out very quickly.
*Make them specific. Don’t just say I want to lose weight. Say I want to lose 10 pounds. If you don’t make them specific you will have nothing to shoot for.
*Give them a time limit. Say you want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months. If you have a time limit, you will be less likely to start and quite. Like oooo lots of cake an ice cream tonight, I will start back on the diet Monday. Monday comes and now there is lots of pie to eat. If you give yourself a time limit you will be able to say no to things easier.
*Make a plan. Zig Ziglar says “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” If you have no plan to follow through with your goals, you probably won’t be able to accomplish what you want. Define how you will lose the weight. Will you cut out carbs? Will you only eat sweets once a week? Will you exercise everyday? Make a plan and stick to it.
2. Learn to say no.
This takes awhile to learn. I think it is the hardest. It was for me at least. In our culture we are bombarded with commercials, advertisements, and more that teach us we DESERVE this we DESERVE that. They tell us we have to have something. We can then get our wants and needs very confused. Even if we don’t mean to, it is so easy to believe we should be able to do or get what we want. I am a huge saver. It is hard for me to spend money, so when I see a good sale on something, I want to buy it, because I may never get that sale again! So when we went on our budget, it was hard for me not to buy things just because they were on sale. Trust me I have passed up great clothes deals that I never would have before. Before I would think, I am never going to find this again. And it may be true you won’t find that exact thing at that exact price again, but you will find another great deal down the road. So now I ask myself, “do I really need this new tank top? Well I have one in this same color minus the lace, so probably not.” I pass it up. Now if I have a tank top in that same color with 10 holes in it, you buy it. So I learned the difference between a need and a want. I also think when we start using the word no, we are tempted more. Probably just because we know we can’t buy it. (I know for me if I am told no it makes me want to do it more, I know horrible right?!) I remember when we first went on our budget, passing Target and having a war in my mind to keep driving. Oh but I NEED new shoes. The first couple months were really the hardest. Same with food. When I couldn’t have that brownie, I wanted it even more. This takes awhile to overcome, but when you do it is easy breezy. After I got through that phase I was actually craving fruits and veggies, and sweets sounded gross. So if you stick with it, it will be worth it in the end.
3. Have accountability.
Try and find someone to do your goal with. If you can’t, just have someone to help you stay accountable. To check in on you. I know that was huge in the 8 week challenge. Knowing there were lots of other people doing it with me, made it feel possible! If you are doing it with your spouse, be fair. I am the one in charge of the budget. Loren usually says whatever I don’t care. So it would be really easy for me to tell him what he can spend(like blow money), but then turn around and justify something I want and spend more than he was allowed. If that makes sense? Just be fair.
4. Learn to be content.
This goes along with learning no. But I really think we need to learn to love ourselves before we can change ourselves. Be content with who you are, with who God made you. Let go of the any perfectionist view you may have on yourself and be thankful for who you are. Stop striving to be someone else. When you start looking around it is so easy to lose focus and start to wish for something else. “Well if only I was that skinny. If only I had that much money. If only….” If you start thinking like that you will dig yourself into a pit that feels impossible to climb out of. You may start thinking why try? I will never be as good as ____. I know I struggle with the comparison issue. It takes your contentment away. When you can accept who you are and what God has given you, you can start to see yourself the way God sees you. He loves us and wants us to do our best. But we can’t get hung up in doing our best for the wrong reasons. For the power, glory, or honor. If you set goals, and do the best you can out of pure motives, you will be blessed.
5. Be up for change.
When you are changing up something in your life, you have to be willing to change. Wow that was profound right?!? Change is super hard for me. So when our out to eat budget got dramatically cut, we had to learn to eat at home before we ran errands in the evening. Before we would grab a bite to eat while running errands. It is so much easier, but now that we have made that change, it really isn’t that big of a deal to eat at home first instead. Same for dates. Instead of always going out, we have found it is kind of nice to stay at home, or go on a bike ride. And as far as cooking healthier, I thought it would be the hardest, grossest thing. But it really isn’t. I used to cook with tons of pasta and bread. Now we like never have it. Instead we have soups, and wraps, salads. And guess what? We really like it now. Don’t let new ways of doing things scare you.
6. Don’t give up.
Setting goals and following through with them is hard. It is not some magical thing that will happen just because you wish it. Good things take time and effort. You will most likely get discouraged and want to stop, but hang in there. When you accomplish a huge goal it feels awesome! You learn some amazing lessons and you will become a stronger person.