Diary / Lifestyle / Sep 26, 2022
7 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Resolutions
Written by: Jenna Werner, RD
Photography by: Ben Ritter
“New year, new you season” is officially here. And if you are anything like me – you hate this phrase. It creates so much unnecessary stress and puts so much unnecessary pressure to starting a new year. But honestly, what I dislike about it most, is it minimizes who you are. Why do you have to be a new you? Why can’t you be a stronger you? A you that doesn’t need to ever change, just grow? Here are seven ways to take some of the stress of goal setting away while still reaching our fullest and healthiest potentials this year.
It sounds wild, I know, but stick with me here. This tip is inspired by a quote from Jocko Willink, "Don’t worry about motivation. Motivation is fickle. It comes and goes. It is unreliable and when you are counting on motivation to get your goals accomplished – you will likely fall short. You know what you have to do. Make yourself do it."
We all start the year so motivated, but then what happens? One morning you wake up and you don’t go to the gym because you’re tired. Then that becomes two mornings and then the goal seems to slip away. Instead of relying on motivation, find your why. Dig deep and ask yourself the real reason why you are investing your time and energy into changing your habits? Why are you waking up at 5AM to work out? Why are you spending money on organic foods or supplements or a trainer or nutrition coach or dietitian? When you have that answer – you don’t need to rely on motivation, it is built in.
Track your progress but not with numbers
If weight loss is what you are going for and all you focus on is numbers you will never progress. The scale simply cannot tell the whole story. You are not a barcode, you are not a UPC on a package of food, you are not a number. We get so lost in following the number on the scale we forget what else matters. I challenge you to take pictures this year and see your changes. I challenge you to journal this year and feel your changes. If you change your habits and you begin to sleep better, have better digestion, have more energy, feel less bloated, decrease sick days at work, hit new personal records at the gym – these are all wins! Don’t ignore them, track them.
Create a mind/body connection
I went to a talk where the founder of Siggi’s Yogurt said, “Food should make you feel good while you eat it, five minutes after you eat it, and five hours after you have finished it.” It has always stuck with me because it makes so much sense. If the foods you eat don’t make you feel this way, then maybe they are not what your body needs. Practice listening to what your body is telling you.
A mind & body connection is also important for another reason: the way you talk to yourself matters. You will create more stress and more anxiety if you can’t say positive things to yourself. You may not feel it 100% of the time, but you have to tell yourself you can and do believe in yourself. You have to know your why, you have to connect to it. You have to trust that your body will never let you down when you fill it up with positive vibes.
Do what you love
People ask me all the time what the best workout for weight loss is or what the best workout is for toning, for getting shredded and my answer is literally always the same: the workout that will work for you is the one you love doing. The one that gets you excited to take that class at 5AM. The one that keeps you challenged, but also makes you feel good doing it. That will be the one that sticks and at the end of the day creates consistency in your routine. Consistency creates change. Focus on finding what you love – if thinking about the workout or the place stresses you out, it is not right for you!
It’s About Adding, Not Taking Away
When we focus on what we cannot have, we set ourselves up for increased desire for that item. We create this idea that a “bad” food is also something so desirable that when we take it away, we likely eat it anyways (and often we over-indulge). This year focus on balance. The idea of creating balance in your life and in your diet is key. When nothing is off limits food wise and you feel like you are in control of your decisions of what you get to eat, you will end up choosing the foods that make you feel good. You will enjoy the indulgences, but in smaller amounts and only sometimes. You take back the control of your food intake and you eliminate the stress around food choices.
Celebrate Your Wins
This is the most important tip. No matter how big or how small, every single win matters. If you make one good choice out of 100 in a day, that’s still a win and something to build off of. You only lose if you don’t learn from the experience. Make a plan, hold yourself accountable to it, follow through and then celebrate it. Setting milestones and non-food related rewards will keep you focused and excited. Take the time to map it out and then make it happen. Start small, stay consistent, be positive and do what makes you feel good.
Jenna Werner is a Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN), private health coach and author of the blog Happy Slim Healthy.