Every year, right about now, I will start reminding my friend Christine that, on New Year’s Eve, we vowed that the upcoming year would be better than the last, that we’d have more fun, and we’d enjoy life a bit more. Then she’ll joke with me, as she does every year when we have this conversation, that there is still time for a plot twist before the year comes to a close. That can be a good plot twist… or a bad one, that part was up to us. While many people try to use the thought of a brand new year to start again, this time in earnest, to lose weight and exercise more, I wanted to take this time to tell you that fitness goals don’t have a sell-by date and there’s no magic to New Year’s Day, Mondays or tomorrow. Your good plot twist could be that you just start now. However, exercise isn’t just one thing. There are multiple ways to exercise and stay healthy, you just have to find the method that you enjoy most. For example, some people will enjoy running, whilst others might not. For those who don’t want to go running or get a gym membership, they could always look at other things, like dancing. There’s no right way to exercise, it’s completely down to the individual and what you find to be most beneficial for your body and lifestyle.
While I tell people that I honestly tried practically everything, from Atkins to Weight Watchers, in my quest to shed half of my body weight, I’m fairly certain I started each and every one of them on a Monday. On countless occasions I have recounted my “aha” moment in which I was embarrassed by an unsympathetic receptionist at a day spa when the one-size-fits-all robe didn’t. I can remember taking the larger robe into the dressing room and with a mix of tears and frustration. I wanted to raise my fist in the air, in a very Scarlet O’Hara-like manner, and shout out, “If I have to beg, borrow, cheat, steal, lie or kill, I’m never going to feel like this again!” Only recently, while giving a talk at a local gym, did I recall that the day of my fateful encounter at the spa was actually a Wednesday before Thanksgiving!
As the expression goes, “Not every flower in the garden blooms at the same time.” You may not see your “aha” moment coming. I know that I didn’t anticipate it! You probably also won’t be able to predict whether your weight loss success comes on your first try, or your hundredth, but don’t let the calendar chart your course. Of course, it can be difficult to continue with exercise if you’re not seeing any rewards. However, it will happen eventually! I know one of my friends always has to wear a Fitbit when she exercises. That way, she can see how much exercise she’s done and how many calories she’s burnt. Even though she’s not seeing the physical changes, she can still see that she is losing calories.
What I do know is that, for a positive plot twist to occur, you need to be in the right frame of mind to allow for the transformation to begin, so please allow me to share what I have learned with you…
- Don’t be sorry, correct the situation. You don’t need to beat yourself up for every misstep. If you regret a late night meeting you had with Ben & Jerry’s, rather than feeling sorry for yourself and hoist up the white flag in surrender, take a moment to own what happened and perhaps consider why it happened, then put it behind you and continue on.
- Be kind to yourself, but don’t be an encyclopedia of excuses. There’s no shortage of people who will want to criticize your efforts when you are chasing your dreams. You don’t need to be one of them. Negative self-talk is destructive. Justifying poor choices with whispers of not wanting to deprive yourself, or convincing yourself that your goals are impossible because of your age, genetics, metabolism, astrological sign or (insert your excuse of choice here) will not help either.
- Be excited about the prospect of transforming yourself. Health and well-being are things to celebrate!
- Be open-minded. People love to say “Oh, I know what to do, I just don’t do it.” I used to think that I knew what I needed to do to lose weight as well. On my way down the scale, I continually learned what worked for me and what didn’t… and I’m still learning now.
My wish for you is to experience a fitness plot twist to finish out the year. There are days and days before January 1st so there’s a lot of progress, or at least some significant damage limitation, that can be accomplished between now and then if you start today or any given day.