From "New Years Resolutions" to Real Solutions

2019 is almost here.

The fresh energy of a new year can get anyone excited, even if you’re an anti “new-year-new-me” person. Here are a few tips (for anyone) to make any resolution become a REAL solution:

Dream BIG Realistically

A drastic lifestyle overhaul is admirable but potentially not sustainable. Instead of diving into extremes, try implementing small steps instead.

Example 1:

Skip the juice cleanse and instead try adding in an extra serving of veggies to lunch and dinner each day. The fiber and micronutrients from the vegetables will smash on the juice (which has all the sugar and none of the fiber!)

Example 2:

Forego a 6-week weight-loss challenge for a personalized program that fits with your lifestyle instead. Only have time for a few home workouts a week? Then maybe that new shiny gym-membership won’t be as great of an investment as you think. If you’re someone who rarely frequents the gym, signing up to go HARD 5 days a week isn’t sustainable. Physical and mental burnout could ensue. Instead, try a couple of bodyweight workouts a week and slowly begin implementing gym days as it makes sense to you, your schedule, and your goals.

All You Need is You a Solid Support System

Changing your ways on your own is possible. People do it all of the time. However, building a support system will aid in goal crushing, tenfold. Willpower is like a muscle, after so many reps, it can wear out. How to create a stronger support system?

Example 1:

Frequent the gym alone each week? Try introducing yourself to someone you see in the gym. Maybe you will hit it off and have a new workout partner. Even if you don’t, you still took the time to grow by putting yourself out there and introducing yourself to someone new. Wins all around!

Example 2:

Instead of grubbing at a local sandwich shop (or wherever you like to grub) with the family, try having everyone over to cook a meal at home instead. Quality time + better food options = more wins.

Grind Sleep Hard

A new diet = stick different food in your mouth (and don’t forget to chew!)

A new gym regimen = show up and give the work your best effort.

A new sleep schedule = ?? This one isn’t as simple (or as frequently talked about) as eating and working out. Remember earlier when willpower was mentioned as a limited resource?

Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a Stanford Health Psychologist, told SCOPE in an interview, “sleep deprivation (even just getting less than six hours a night) is a kind of chronic stress that impairs how the body and brain use energy. The prefrontal cortex is especially hard hit and it loses control over the regions of the brain that create cravings and the stress response. Unchecked, the brain overreacts to ordinary, everyday stress and temptations. Studies show that the effects of sleep deprivation on your brain are equivalent to being a little bit drunk! The good news is any step toward more or better quality rest can be a real boost to self-control. When the sleep-deprived catch a better night’s sleep, their brain scans no longer show signs of prefrontal cortex impairment.”

Willpower is putting yourself to bed an hour earlier than normal, not having a second cup of coffee at 6pm, and setting up a bullet-proof pre bedtime ritual, that is non-negotiable. Seem simple? Seem overwhelmingly difficult? Either way, it’s possible. Set yourself up for success by scheduling all work-related tasks to end by a certain time. Let your family know what your pre bedtime routine is (maybe an epsom salt bath, read for 10-20 minutes, breathing/stretching, etc) so they understand not to interrupt this sacred time. Give yourself a caffeine window (I recommend 10am-2pm for my clients, as there is the most research supporting those times) and stick to it. Sleep hard and with purpose.