If you are reading this, it is safe to assume you survived the holidays. Congratulations. I squeaked by, barely, if I'm honest.
I enjoyed some time off for the holidays, and now I am looking forward to returning to structure and routine in my day. Left to my own devices, I can’t be trusted to spend my time responsibly. I thought I’d use my free time to work on new strength programs, get ahead on my blogging content calendar, and deep clean the refrigerator, but instead I caught up on all of Netflix (yes, all of it), went out to eat more than I had in the previous 11 months and drank all the wine. I tell you all this just to be honest. I’m not beating myself over it. I know that a sense of normalcy will return with the new year. It serves as a gentle reminder that I don’t have ironclad willpower, I have structure and habits.
The Final Week of The Nine-Week Holiday Challenge
If you’ve been following along these last nine weeks of the holiday challenge, we’ve been working on building habits that are the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. There were no restrictive diets or extreme exercising permitted. The purpose of the challenge was to solidify the basics so when it’s time to think about the big goals you want to achieve in the new year you’ll be starting from a place of health. It’s the small changes, cultivated over time that lead to significant results.
In the New Year, we seem always to want to skip over the basics and go all-in on next big thing. We’re thinking about supplements, detoxes, and 30-day food challenges, and gloss over the fact we’re not sleeping or eating our vegetables. When you start with the basics, you’re more likely to succeed long-term. It’s great to have big goals, just don’t skip the small stuff, or try to cut corners.
Our final week in the holiday challenge is about reflections and resolutions to get results, a perfect theme for last week of the year.
Before you think about making new year’s goals or resolutions take some time and reflect on the year gone by. Look at the resolutions you made last year and consider how your behaviors, thought patterns and environment influenced your results.
What went right? What did you achieve? Did your actions align with your goals? What was fun? Who did you spend the most time with? Who were you able to help or positively influence? What didn’t go as planned? What could have you done differently, if anything? Why didn’t you at the time? How have you evolved over the year? How can you better manage stress (or insert here whatever you need to manage better)? What small action can you take to move you closer to your goals?
Last year I shared a worksheet to help you through the reflection process, you can read more about it and download it here.
New Year’s Resolutions:
Here’s my no-fail formula for New Year’s resolutions. Dream Big. Start Small. Then connect the dots. One problem with new year’s resolutions is that most people focus on what they want, instead of how they will get there. It’s the game plan that gets results.
If you resolve to lose fat, run faster, lift heavier, or pay off debt, then your resolution should revolve around the daily actions that you can take that will eventually get you there. Make sure the steps you need to take fit in your lifestyle, align with your values, and preferences. We’ve all heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals, but check out this post I wrote about about F.A.S.T goals to use as a guideline for goal setting.
Results require daily actions. Focus on what you will do daily to achieve your goal and make sure it is realistic. If you haven’t been to the gym since before Instagram existed (2010) then resolving to hit the gym for an hour a day, six days a week is likely too aggressive. Start smaller and build up over time. Don’t attempt to change your whole life in one day. If you genuinely are resolving to make permanent changes, then there should be no rushing the process. You have the rest of your life to improve. More is not always better, especially in the beginning.
Thank you so much for following along with the nine-week holiday challenge. I hope you enjoyed the weekly habits and ended the year strong. I look forward to a bright and prosperous 2019, and I wish the same for you.
If you completed the challenge and you live in the US, I’d like to send you a tiny token of my appreciation! Just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you loved most, struggled with most, and how the challenge impacted these last nine weeks of 2018. Include your US shipping address, and I’ll drop something in the mail for you over the next couple of weeks. Please respond by Jan 31st, 2019. I don’t have millions of followers here, so I expect the response to be relatively small. If you followed along each week and gave your best efforts in the weekly challenges, you’re a superstar and I’d love to hear from you.
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