Resolutions or Results?
How to Align Your Goals with Your Values
On January 1st, millions of people resolved to lose weight. I hope you weren’t one of them.
You may be thinking, “What?!!! Of course I resolved to lose weight—it’s a tradition—I do it every year!”
The reason is that losing weight is not a resolution, it is a result. It is the result of making specific small changes in the way you eat, move, and live. For the changes to stick, they must be in alignment with your core values, not just a number on a scale.
If you’re struggling to keep your resolutions (weight or otherwise), read Leah’s story below then write (or rewrite) your goals using this Resolutions That Rock worksheet.
Leah said she just had to lose 30 pounds because she didn’t like the way she looked or felt. She admitted that she had tried many times in the past to lose weight but she always reverted back to her old habits as soon as her resolve wore thin.
She was a busy mom with two kids and a successful career. She typically skipped breakfast or grabbed a donut at work. She was starving by lunch time so she would pick up fast food to eat at her desk while doing paperwork. Dinner was either fast food again between her kids’ soccer practice and dance classes or a quick-to-fix meal like mac ‘n cheese before homework. After the kids were in bed and the house was finally picked up, she would snack until she went to bed.
It would have been easy to focus on what she should or shouldn’t be eating but clearly, her weight was really just a result of the choices she made at the many decision points throughout her busy days.
Once she really understood what was really going on, she focused on what was most meaningful to her: spending time with her family and having the energy to be successful at her job. With this focus, she laid out a plan to make one change at a time.
First, she started getting up ten minutes earlier for a bowl of cereal and some quiet time before anyone else was up. She quickly found that she felt calmer and had more energy throughout the morning. Her next step was to start bringing her lunch at least several times a week and give herself at least 20 minutes to eat without working. She enjoyed her meals more and felt more recharged by taking a break.
With these positive experiences to fuel her along, she took her next step: walking for ten minutes twice during her work day. She wasn’t perfect but it felt great so she did the best she could to be consistent.
Next, she asked her husband to help their family plan ahead for dinner by throwing beans or chicken into the crock pot or having the ingredients on hand for a main dish salad. On the occasions they still went out for fast food, she tried to make healthier choices and stopped up-sizing her meal. Not only were they spending less money, but the kids were eating healthier too.
She then turned to her night time snack habit. She realized that most of the time she wasn’t hungry but was rewarding herself for getting through the day. She promised herself that she could eat her favorite foods without feeling guilty but she wanted to try rewarding herself in more nurturing ways. Her favorites became hot baths, reading, and scrap booking. She was feeling so much better that she started a dance class while her daughter was in ballet twice a week.
Looking back, Leah realized that if she had just started another diet or joined a gym like every other year, she might have had some quick but temporary results. This time she knew that weight loss was only one of many great results she saw from the small changes she made.
By making one sustainable values-based change at a time, you’ll get the results you want from your resolutions too.
Does your story sound more like Leah's or more like same-old same-old?
Michelle May, M.D. is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle (Read chapter one). Dr. May is a recovered yoyo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Workshops that help individuals break free from mindless and emotional eating to live a more vibrant, healthy life.