This morning I was thinking about how we constantly hear about how and why New Year’s resolutions (and regular goals) don’t work. Every guru, life coach, motivational speaker, blogger, and know-it-all has the magic answer. We’ve read about them all and yet they still don’t work. Some say you have to give it a “due by” date. Others swear the key is to tie it to an emotion. Others still swear by progress tracking (small successes), a reward, a lifestyle change instead of a goal (with all those references to 21 days to form a habit theories) and many other ways to achieve your goals. Today, I am going to be the know-it-all who has the magic answer! LOL!!!
Let’s face it, the most common New Year’s resolution has something to do with weight, health, dress size, etc… The thought came to mind about how many women get in amazing shape for their wedding only to gain all the weight (plus some) after their wedding or after bearing their first child. This is why people talk about making a lifestyle change instead of going on a diet. They swear diets don’t work but that isn’t really true. Diets do work; we are failing ourselves (gaining all the weight back and usually a little extra) after we lose the weight because there are underlying issues. The idea that so many women get into shape for a wedding validates those who swear by tying your goal to an emotion and giving it a “due by” date. I see how this works for some people – especially people getting married.
My theory? We don’t feel worthy and our standards are not high enough. Let’s face it, if we felt worthy, our standards would be higher, and we wouldn’t be fat, obese, unhealthy, frumpy, etc… The woman getting married is on top of the world. She knows it is going to be all eyes on her. She is going to be the star of the show – that STAR is worthy of achieving her goal but being the star doesn’t last after the wedding and being in shape usually doesn’t either.
Let’s look at the opposite: the stay home mom who feels like she no longer has a life. She doesn’t get together with friends. No nights out for drinks. Not going to work and interacting with her peers. There is nobody flirting with her (yes, we are suckers for attention even though we have no interest in the people flattering us). She feels like she has been reduced to the role of maid, cook, and babysitter. The result? She eats with her kid(s) knowing she doesn’t have their metabolism and stops taking care of herself. Let’s face it… how hard is it to keep your clothes clean and hair and makeup flawless when you are cooking ten meals a day, cleaning up the kids’ messes, changing shitty diapers, and wiping snotty noses. Not exactly conducive to walking around in silk robes and furry stilettos! What does she wear? ANYTHING! Anything that doesn’t match, already has stains and holes. Anything that doesn’t matter if it gets messed up! Her most popular outfit is usually a pair of leggings with no makeup and, on a good day, her hair makes it into a pony tail.
So… the magic answer? Build your self-esteem. Raise your standards! Have stuff to look forward to. Find friends. Maintain a social life no matter what your circumstances are. LIVE!!! Go shopping and try on clothes at least twice per month – EVEN IF YOU KNOW YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BUY ANYTHING! Getting out to shop is hard? Amazon Prime has a program to try clothes before you buy – order stuff a few times per month. Send it back if you don’t ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! Plan a trip to a warm, tropical location. Put the date on your refrigerator in BIG, BOLD writing along with a picture of your goal summer dress (or bikini – whatever works for you).
GIVE YOURSELF STUFF TO LOOK FORWARD TO!!!
Something that works for me is revisiting old vision boards (you are creating vision boards, right?). P.S. I prefer to call them “Life Plan Boards” – I stole that from my younger brother because I feel it creates a feeling of the items on the board being something you WILL absolutely achieve. Take a moment to be grateful for the items on the past boards that you have accomplished. You will feel powerful! Don’t be a “Debbie Downer” and focus on the shit you haven’t yet accomplished! Come on – let’s work on that self-esteem too!
Remember… Gratitude and negativity cannot live in the same space so take time to be grateful every single day.
In many ways all the methods of sticking to and achieving your goals mentioned above are valid; however, we must figure out why you are in a place to even need to set your goal and get to the underlying issue(s).
We are all guilty – this self-proclaimed diva included! Two major times I became frumpy and/or gained a lot of weight include:
- Moving to the suburbs: I went from being that diva who would put on a full face of makeup and high heels with a 101 degree fever to run to the corner drug store to get medicine to forgetting I was a diva with any standards. I started going out, on a daily basis, with no make-up and my hair undone (some days you’d be lucky if I took a shower). I didn’t know anyone in my new city and it didn’t seem like there were too many people for me to impress since it is a very casual city (I moved from a city full of high net-worth individuals who dressed to the nines on a daily basis to a city where people wore sweats, jeans, flip-flops and cowboy boots daily). It was easy to become frumpy but what I had to find was my underlying issue. I realized that the negativity from my past made it even easier to become frumpy. I wanted to fit in and be accepted in my new town and if I kept to my diva standards then people might, once again, judge me and call me names like Ms. Prissy. I had to own that I AM a diva. I AM a Ms. Prissy. I had to own that I love being a diva – this is who I am and anyone who doesn’t like it or who doesn’t accept me is probably just insecure with themself. Consider this: a man has never called me Ms. Prissy!! A man has called me high maintenance but a man with a solid career and a decent income has never called me high maintenance with a negative connotation.
- Working from home: everyone’s dream working conditions, right? Not so fast! It is way too easy to get into a rut of not getting ready for work (looking like crap) because nobody is going to see you anyway and gaining weight. Just think, food and drinks are at your disposal and unlimited. There are no rules about eating and drinking at your desk. Nobody is watching. When you are busy you will just stick whatever you find in your mouth. There are no meal times or lunch breaks – there is just, “ah! food! Let’s indulge!” It is far too easy to become frumpy when nobody is looking, there is nobody looking and you rarely leave the house.
The bottom line is this: we have to fill our calendars with social activities to look forward to and our thoughts with joy and positivity. We have to find a reason to inject ourselves into environments that inspire us to raise our standards. Perhaps you will start with a few major events and make it difficult to back out – a bride really cannot back out of her wedding so she HAS TO remain committed to getting in shape. Put a significant deposit on that vacation and buy the dress (and bikini too). Do whatever it takes to guarantee you will not flake on yourself. That is step 1 but there is more. You have to address the underlying issues. Re-visiting old Life Plan Boards helps with self-esteem when you see the things you did accomplish. Read a few good books on self-esteem or find a good life coach or therapist. Make it a point to get out among your peers at least once per week (the grocery store doesn’t count)! It doesn’t have to be a bar with your girlfriends but it does have to be something social. A hike is a good option – go to a popular hiking trail where you will be around people that might inspire you or you might run into someone you know! Last, but not least, don’t forget to practice gratitude every day! Remember… gratitude and negativity cannot live in the same space!