Why do New Year’s resolutions – especially those related to diet and exercise – often lose their momentum so quickly?
A quick Google search would say people fail to make them S.M.A.R.T. enough. Maybe that’s part of it, but after walking alongside people on their health journeys for well over a decade now, the coach in me knows that success takes more than writing goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
In my personal and professional experience, I’ve learned that life’s pursuits – be it health, happiness, or otherwise – fall short, to the wayside, or off the band-wagon altogether because we approach them with the wrong mentality… something I call the “me mentality.”
With the me mentality, the focus is on you.
You diet to lose weight. You exercise to fit into a new outfit. You quit smoking to save money on insurance. It works for a while, but after the weight is lost, the event has passed, or the cessation classes end, so too does your motivation to continue.
The magic of maintaining healthy habits lies in your ability to turn “me” into “meaning.”
When there’s meaning in your life, you have a purpose that is bigger than yourself, your happiness, and the present moment. You’re more likely to invest in deep relationships, take responsibility, and strive to be your best because you believe you have a unique contribution to make to others and to the world. You see everything in your life – the past, present, and future – the good and bad – the best and worst of times – as all happening for a reason and fitting together for the greater good.
Thus, when things get busy, difficult, or delayed, it’s okay. You push forward. You bounce back. You stay the course. You don’t quit and view yourself as a failure, because the focus is not on you. The focus is always on the bigger, more meaningful purpose.
If your life and health could stand to have a meaningful makeover, ask yourself these questions:
- What would I and those I care about gain if I was the best version of myself that I could be?
- What’s something I could start doing to make a healthy impact on me and those around me?
- Omitting all things related to size or weight, why do I want to take really good care of myself?
Your answers will likely help you discover some real and very personal reasons for pursuing a life of health and well-being. Yet if you still can’t quite put your finger on your purpose, then think about what only you are.
Fill in the blank, “In all the world, I am the only_____________.”
You might be the only role model in a certain kid’s life, the only parent at home, or the only friend or spouse someone has. Therefore, what you do, who you are, and how you live really matter. You matter.
When you think about it like that, it’s somehow easier to take care of yourself and take that walk, do the meal planning, toss together a nice lunch, order water instead of whiskey, give up those darn cigarettes, go above and beyond for someone, and/or choose grace over a grudge.
At least it has been for me, members of my family, and many who’ve graciously let me share in their health journey. No longer do we put our hope in 30-day diets, expect perfection, or measure our health in workouts or pounds. Instead, we’ve discovered true health and happiness by focusing on what really matters in life, with faith, family, and forgiveness rising to the top. There’s so much meaning there that living well, doing our best, and taking care of ourselves just seems like the right thing to do… or perhaps the “smart” way to live.
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Author: Liz DeJongh, MS, is President of Well Simplified, a certified health & wellness coach, and co-creator of Mind.Set.Goal!, a holistic 7-step lifestyle program that gives you tools to find peace with food, feel great about yourself, and fuel healthy, happy families. She and her sister Ginny Clark, MS, RD, each have 15 years experience helping people overcome their struggles with food, weight, and health without dieting. Learn more at www.wellsimplified.com and www.mindsetgoal.com.
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