Happy New Year! Whew! We did it, guys! We made it through the Christmas frenzy. I’m still a little bit Pollyanna: I love Christmas, with all its travel and and gift giving and family loving.
Even with all the good, it was stressful, and I have a teeny little sense of relief to pack up the Christmas decor until next year.
Many people finish the holidays with a little bit of exhaustion, a couple extra pounds, and a lotta bit of guilt. Let me save you lots of time and mental anguish and assure you:
- There is no need to detox! Do not take detox tea or wraps. Our kidneys and liver do that for us.
- There is no need to feel guilty! We are made to seek pleasure from our relationships and meaningful holidays. Turn that attention forward!
Quick, before you keep reading, pull out your phone and make an event on your calendar 7 days from now. Title it “Because I am worth it.”
It’s Not Always So Easy
I’m going to take us back to school for a minute here and introduce you to the Transtheoretical Stages of Change Model. Bear with me; I have found this to be extremely helpful in understanding where people (including me!) are when they approaching making changes in their health, or why they don’t make any change at all.
Developed by researchers James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, this suggests that people are not universally in the same place, ready to change. Some people are. Some people are not.
You can read the full text here, and please take a minute to acknowledge how wonderful it is to be able to read journal text freeeee! Transtheoretical Therapy: Toward a More Integrative Model of Change
The stages move from less likely to change, to a post-change maintenance phase. For example, consider someone you know who smokes. Some smokers hate the habit and are seeking ways to quit. Maybe they have even already taken action, and tried to quit. Some smokers are just doing their thing, not wanting to quit at all.
Why is this? Why are some people ready to change, and others not even considering it, and even more confusing, some declaring they are ready to quit, but haven’t taken any steps toward quitting?
The Stages of Change model suggests that the smoker who has no inclination to change is in the pre contemplative stage. He isn’t even contemplating change. It is nowhere on his horizon to even think about quitting.
The contemplative smoker is considering it. He has considered quitting, and maybe has a good why: his health, being there for his kids, etc. He hasn’t taken action though. Not quite yet.
The smoker in the preparation phase has made up his mind to change! He will change, and is actively considering how to. (Personal trainers, THIS is where people are when they call you and request a consult. Help them here, be excited for them! They are going to make progress!) If your friend the smoker is in this phase, encourage him with happiness and support! Take a walk after dinner so he won’t be tempted to light up.
The action phase! This is where it happens! This is where people smoker fewer cigarettes, try the patch, or alter their cigarette buying/smoking habits. This is where people join a gym, exercise, take walks around the block.
What we want to see is people in the maintenance phase. This means they have been in the action phase and are living in a good habit. They don’t have the mental struggle of not smoking after every meal, or going to the gym every day. This is where we want people to be. This is where I want you to be.
Back It Up: Where are You?
The reason I tell you about the Stages of Change: I want you to understand that where you are is OK, and that you shouldn’t feel guilty about not being in maintenance NOW. If you were in pre contemplation yesterday, you won’t be in maintenance tomorrow.
Further, and more importantly, I want you to know you can push yourself toward an action phase. You don’t have to hope it magically comes around. It is peaceful to accept that you are where you are, and you make steps toward where you want to be. Remember, I might not be pre contemplative about my training, but I am about other things in my life. This is good for us all to consider.
If you are reading this, you are likely in a contemplative or preparatory phase. To push yourself toward the action phase, we are going to look forward and get ready for you to take action!
How to Push Yourself to Take Action
Remember that everything is a mental game. We make our schedules, our decisions, our priorities. If exercise and training is truly important to you, begin thinking about why and how you are going to take action.
Answer these questions:
- Why is this important to you? Examples:
- I want to be there for my grandkids. Shoot, not even be there, I want to be on the floor playing with them on Christmas morning! (Aunt Kathryn worked realllll hard to keep up with the kids this Christmas. I want to be able to do that forever!)
- I want to feel better about my body so I am confident when dating.
- I want to be able to keep up with everyone else in Austin who seems to have a really active lifestyle. (True story; I am reminded I need to practice cardio more when I get suckered into running around Lady Bird Lake.)
- I want my butt bigger. No shame, girl! You own your body and you get to make it what you want. Want bigger biceps and chest? Same!
- What type of activities do you enjoy? Be honest with yourself! Like I mentioned, I don’t love running. Make me “commit” to a running program, and I will fail. This from a girl who did 26 squat workouts in October. #Squatober
- What schedule works for you? Pick a schedule you have a high likelihood of sticking to. Will you workout at lunch time? If so, pack a gym bag with shower sandals, a towel, and soap.
- Think about what you need to begin. Aforementioned gym bag, tennis shoes, a bike?
Some people think of this as working on New Year's Resolutions, which makes total sense at this time of year. I want you to apply this action-taking framework anytime of the year, though. You don't get a free pass if you happen to be reading this mid year! It's always a good time to do something good for yourself!
Clearly, we are super excited to share this with yall.
Look forward. No more guilt. Consider everything you just thought of. What is popping in your head? Time to join that running group you’ve been meaning to see about? Next time you drive by, park your car at that gym you drive by and look at every day. Maybe you know you should go to the grocery store and make those healthy meals you know how to.
Go back to that date you put in your phone. That’s your goal date. Do that thing, that one starting step, by the date from now. Because you are worth it.
Then, my friend, you will be in the action phase.
Guys, I LIVE for updates! Email me or comment below and fill me in on what steps you’ve taken for you! firstname.lastname@example.org