New Year’s Resolution Snowball: Part 1
New Year’s Resolutions are great. It marks a new year, gives us a sense of hope for a different outcome in life, and makes us evaluate the things in our lives that could/should be better. The majority of America will set a New Year’s Resolution(s) every year, and every year the majority of America will fuck it up.
This wouldn’t be a problem if people re-grouped and gave it another try. BUT, when we inevitably fuck up, we kick ourselves (not literally). Might even say things like we suck, stupid, we’re destined to be fat, poor, single, unorganized. Then we spend the remaining 51 weeks of the new year doing the same dumb shit we did in the previous years.
Well not this year!
Instead of picking 1 or 2 resolutions and sticking to those for eternity (you know that shit won’t happen, you love ice cream too much), we are going to slowly change habits, one week at a time.
This year if you fuck up a week it’s OK. You will either just move on to the next week or go back and pretend like you are starting this week all over with a clean slate. This strategy isn’t just something I came up with. This is some cutting edge habit change voodoo.
There are those people that seem to have endless willpower and can change or say no to anything they put their minds to. And then there’s the rest of us.
You know that
asshole person that can go to a buffet and get one plate of food and never even think twice about the desert bar. Or that person that can eat half of a piece of pie? There are people out there that decide it’s time to get in shape and then totally transform into a healthy eating gym rat.
Unfortunately, these people are the exceptions. Most of us don’t change that easily. It sounds simple to say “I want to get in kick ass shape”. Easy right? Just eat healthy and exercise more. On the surface it sounds like 2 things you need to do, but inside our brains we are subconsciously thinking.
OK so to eat healthy should I choose foods from the Food Pyramid or try the Paleo Diet? I heard fat is bad for you but now they are saying it’s good, should I eat more fat? But wait fat has a lot of calories. I need to have a calorie deficit to burn fat but Tammy in the office says she eat’s to few calories and that’s why she can’t lose weight. Is Kale better than Broccoli? I need dinner but who has the healthiest options McDonalds, Chipotle, Wendy’s, Panera, Subway…
Or are machines in the gym bad for my joints? Is the Treadmill better than the Elliptical? When I get in the weight room what will I do – squats, deadlifts, pull ups, chin ups, sit ups. Wait I read sit ups are horrible for my spine, maybe I should plank. Front plank or side plank?
Shit now what will I wear if I go to the gym? My ass looks awesome in my black yoga pants but they are dirty and I only have my least favorite pair in my dresser. Who’s going to watch the kids when I go to the gym? Have the kids eaten any food yet? If I go to the gym who the fuck will cook dinner?
These are all things that go through our heads, especially the yoga pants dilemma! Now you see why it’s so hard to stick to a massive change like #GettingHealthyIn2016 (Yeah I just used a hashtag in a blog article). You have one or two slip ups and you feel like a failure. Bring on those donuts and French fries for this failure!
Enter Motivational Interviewing
Motivational interviewing is a method of helping others to facilitate lasting habit change. It’s typically used to help others but we’re going to use it to make 2016 the year we get our shit together.
First think about your goals. Looking good in a bikini isn’t a good goal. Now a better example would be: On my vacation this August I want to wear that red bikini I bought 2 years ago but don’t fit in. To do that I’m going to start using a personal trainer and make it to at least 8 workouts each month.
Now you need to ask yourself the tough question – WHY?
Why do you want to wear that red bikini on vacation? If you are honest and dig deep enough you may come to the conclusion that – I feel very self conscious about (fill in the blank). Now you may need to ask yourself why you feel self conscious about…
It may be something a little more emotional and significant than you just wanting to look hot. This is the shit that will help to motivate you when you question if you want to go to the gym tonight. Thinking about your parent that led an unhealthy lifestyle and died young could be used for motivation for you not wanting to follow that same path OR maybe your ex-wife left you for the barista from Starbucks.
Take your time and try to focus on what you want to achieve. What will make your life better in the next year. What is specific. What’s realistic but still challenging.
Then when you have a goal or maybe two (probabably no more), let’s get started. We should break this goal up into several or many chunks. For the purpose of this series of articles we will use getting healthier as our outcome goal. This is what we want our end result to be. Now let’s determine some process goals (chunks). We will take them process goals and implement them one at a time.
With motivational interviewing you want to start where you’re at. So if you love salads but just forget to eat them, we will treat you different than someone like my daughter who doesn’t like a bunch of weird vegetables or anything particularly healthy.
Week 1 for the person that likes salad may be as simple as: Go to the grocery store on Sunday and buy 2 bags of Spring Mix and your favorite salad dressing.
Week 1 for person that hates veggies could be: Ask them/yourself are there any vegetables that you kind of like? You don’t mind baby carrots, cool let’s buy 2 bags of them and eat them at every meal.
You kind of get the idea.
Now every week we add something else to this that could make their life better. Maybe the person that likes salad could be challenged to ditch that bottled salad dressing and make her own using healthy ingredients? Or evaluate how much protein they are getting and considering adding chicken to those salads.
If we fuck this up and buy the bags of carrots but don’t eat a single carrot in the first week this is where we reevaluate our weeks goal. Is there a reason you didn’t eat the carrots? Maybe you stuck them on your bottom shelf and it was buried under your leftover apple pie? OK so this week get those carrots out and put them in clear sight and try to eat them. Or maybe you actually realized you only like carrots with Ranch dressing. So now your goal would be to go buy some ranch dressing and finish your carrots. You kinda get the idea by now.
If you have ever followed personal finance coach Dave Ramsey, this is essentially the food version of his Debt Snowball. If you’re looking to get your personal finances in order just google Dave Ramsey. The Debt Snowball starts by you paying your smallest debt first no matter what the interest rates are. Then you pay your second smallest debt and roll over your extra money into the third smallest debt. This helps to create a feeling of momentum and change in your life. It empoweres you to know that you are able to do the things you set out to do. It isn’t a get rich quick scheme (fad diets), it’s long lasting personal growth. The nice thing is you can use Motivational Interviewing for essentially anything. If health isn’t your goal then just plug whatever your goal is into the system and get to work!
Here’s step 1 in our Healthier Life In 2016 snowball
This Weeks Challenge is to write down 5 meals you like and are easy to make. Figure out what ingredients you need and go to the store to stock your shelf’s. This is like 3 things to do. For some of you this will be too easy for some this will be a stretch.
So far I haven’t even told you to buy only superfoods, organic, non GMO, locally sourced, because it really doesn’t matter all that much at this point. If you want to buy that stuff feel free. I want you to get in the habit of planning out some meals and always having something decent to eat in your home. If you have the choice of a bag of Doritos or nothing for dinner, you will probably choose the Doritos. If you have a choice of Doritos or steak and green beans, you may choose the better choice.
For those that need help or meal ideas here are a few resources to check out.
Whole 30 and Paleo diets are just a way of eating where you don’t consume processed food. They don’t use any added sugars, grains, nasty oils, dairy, beans for the first month. I know, I know this is pretty restrictive for some people. If you have the will power, want results quick, don’t mind cooking, Whole 30 will probably be good for you. If you just want some ideas on interesting foods and a good framework to shop and make meals then Whole 30 is great for that.
Whole 30 Practical Tips
- Print out a copy of the Whole 30 shopping list before you go shopping
- Try some of the slow cooker recipies for easy dinners
- Need some ideas for meals? Just Google Whole 30 or Paleo ______ and you should find 43,000 recipies
Want help prepping your food? Here’s a great info graphic that will help. Precision Nutrition also has a ton of free resources to help you on your journey to becoming a bad ass.
I’ll see you back here next week for Step 2 in our Healthier Life snowball.