You don’t need all your ducks in a row to start living a healthier life!
One of the biggest pitfalls in setting achievable goals is we try to accomplish so much all at once! We want every single, damn duck, in a perfect line -- and think somehow if we start with this perfect line of ducks, we'll successfully reach our goal of a healthier more active lifestyle. Well I'm here to tell you that you don’t have to give a F*** about every duck! So, what the hell does that mean….
Let’s take a look at what's happening right now…it's another New Year! And with the New Year, we all feel compelled to start off with a bang. We set amazing goals that we really do want to accomplish, and we totally believe that this year will be different -- that this year is the year we reach our goals! But around mid-February, many of us fail furiously at even coming close to reaching our goals, and we become pissed off and throw in the towel.
Let's imagine a girl named Sally. Sally is a girl who currently only works out a few times in a month, her food intake is high, and the quality of her food is comprised of processed, easy to make and eat meals! She's like so many of us! And she has a very common overall goal that many of us share. Sally tells herself: “I want to lose this weight and have more energy in 2017!” Sally being very motivated by the newness of the year, believes she is going to do this! So, what does Sally do? She joins a gym, and decides she is going to go every day possible, with no days off! She completely changes her diet to include ONLY healthy choices completely overhauling her way of eating. She hits Target for an all new wardrobe of workout attire, however doesn’t indulge too much, because in a few months she will definitely be down a size! Sally is armed and ready to crush her goal! Sally has gotten all her ducks in a row! How could she fail!?
Well that's exactly why Sally is going to fail! She is trying to work on multiple aspects of her life all at once! The best progress we make is the progress that is slow, determined and diligent. I've always told my clients that baby steps will get you there! Baby steps are not as exciting as a quick "new you", but the baby steps you take will typically last, as opposed to the new overnight sensation of yourself! When we try to “fix” too many aspects of our lives all at once, we most likely end up failing! Failure is not bad, but when we give up after failing, that is what keeps us from reaching our goals! And many tend to give up after the slightest bit of failure in reaching their new goal because the goal itself was too broad, and encompassed too many life changes. So that when failure ensued, it was just easier to give up and go back to being the "old you."
So what the hell can we do?! How do we reach our goal and find success?
Take one duck at a time and get it in line! Which duck? That's up to you..but when you keep your focus on one aspect of your life, and set smaller achievable goals toward that one aspect, you WILL be successful!
So instead of Sally starting the year off trying to get her fitness duck, her nutrition duck, and her energy duck all in a row, she needs to focus on just one duck! Sally could break her goal down into time increments such as this. First 3 months, focus on finding and falling in love with a gym!! Sally will find a gym she loves to attend, and not necessarily the cheapest or the prettiest. But the gym/fitness program that will keep her motivated, focused, and HAPPY! She needs to research this by visiting a few gyms and finding out which one fits her best! And then when she finds that gym, she should commit to this gym for the year! Habits are not formed overnight, it will take time! Joining a gym and sticking with it from January to December can be done, and making that promise to yourself -- that you will be committed -- will help you get into a habit! Also, Sally should not go overboard the first week in her new fitness regime…starting a new fitness adventure is fun and sometimes we push ourselves too quickly! Perhaps limiting yourself to three times a week for the first month would be great way to form a new habit and allow yourself to feel successful! And then after that first baby step of three days a week, the next month you can reassess and bump it up to four days, or stay at the current three days. But the idea is that you…and Sally...have established a routine that is achievable and maintainable, and has allowed you to get DUCK #1 as the line leader!!! Yeah!!! Time to work on Duck #2!
What is Duck #2? It's the next piece to reaching your overall goal. If losing weight and having more energy is your goal, then most likely the quality of food intake is Duck #2!
So, you and Sally are now feeling fabulous. It's around mid-March, your fitness routine is awesome and you are feeling stronger! Time to work on Duck #2...food intake! Sally needs to decide what her current food intake is by journaling or reflecting on this before she comes up with what needs to change! If she's unsure how to do it herself, she should research the local nutritionist and dietitians, who can help educate her in the many options out there of how to fuel your body! Once Sally decides on her overall goal of food intake, she needs to again revert to baby steps. Many times a complete overhaul of diet leads to stress, aggravation, and failure. So, Sally and you, need to take it slow…focusing on moving forward with a new habit which can be as simple as incorporating one veggie each day into the current diet. Again, having small attainable goals will lead to long term success and positive lifelong changes!
Do you have more ducks to get in line…most likely yes. But if you use this general idea of focusing on one duck at a time, you'll see, and feel great about yourself. Will some of your ducks run away even after you get them in line…hell yeah!!! Just because you secure your duck in line, doesn’t mean that it's easy street! You still have to continue with your new habits, and be sure not to give up after a bit of failure! Life happens and ducks run the other way, and you take a few steps back! But the important thing is you will be better able to lasso that damn duck back into its place due to the habit and success you once had!
So, remember girls, having your ducks in a perfect line SUCKS! Do the best you can with what you have, knowing your ducks will be little bitches some days, and other days they will listen like good school girls! I don’t strive for perfection in my life and many of you know I have many ducks that run around getting in and out of line! So, remember this as you start your journey into 2017, full of excitement and energy in reaching your goals: You don’t have to become a NEW YOU! You should instead be happy with your ducks, the progress of your ducks, and with your ducky imperfections. Happy New Year girls! Below is a quick reminder when setting up your goals and your line of ducks!
Top 10 Points to remember when reaching your ducking goals!
- Set small attainable goals!
- Set a timeline for reaching each goal!
- If you fail, re-access your goal, and keep moving forward!!
- Feel free to yell QUACK or F*** this Duck when feeling frustrated, but don’t give up!
- Remind yourself that you are awesome, especially on the days the ducks run the other way.
- Don’t compare your ducks with anyone else’s ducks!! Ever! Be proud of your own damn ducks!
- Only you can get your Ducks to listen! SO, focus on your ducks and get shit done!
- Find a support system and friends who have similar ducks to keep you motivated.
- Your job is never over, even after the duck falls in line! You must keep moving forward!
- Be proud of yourself no matter how long it takes to get one duck into place. Positive self-talk is so important when reaching your goal, so don’t be your own worst enemy!