i’ll start january 1st….
It’s almost January 1st, 2023!
Have you ever set a goal and thought, “I’ll start [tomorrow/next week/next month/next year]?”
Well, here’s a true test of this approach. This coming Sunday is:
- The first day of the week (unless you’re not American, in which case, it’s the last day of the previous week)
- The first day of the month
- The first day of the new year
It’s a fun confluence—and you will be forgiven if it does nothing to jumpstart your health journey.
We often think that the turning of a calendar page or the hands of the clock will somehow magically inspire us to take that first step back to health. And that’s a serious case of “when/then” thinking.
It stems from the belief that when external circumstances are just so, we will finally act.
And how’s that working out for you so far?
If your answer is, “Not great,” then consider whether you are trying to do something you feel you “should” do or you “used to” do rather than take a step that is right for you right now.
When we look at the smallest step we can take rather than believing we can make a huge change overnight, the journey can feel easier.
For example, if you’re a couch potato who wants to run a 5K, ask yourself how it would look if it were easy. “Easy” might be taking a walk around the block—start there!
“just do it”
Another approach that doesn’t seem to work for many of us is telling ourselves to “Just do it!”
I’ve come to consider this use of “just” highly problematic—almost as triggering as “should” and “used to.” Because if it were that easy, we would have done it already.
To my ear, “just do it” is what that critical inner voice says. Which means that if we don’t just do it, s/he’s going to come back with a vengeance and a whole lot more judgement:
- Why can’t I do this?
- Why don’t I have enough willpower to do this?
- What’s wrong with me?
judgment or curiosity?
I teach my clients that there are two ways to ask the same question:
- Ugghhh! WHYCAN’TIDOTHIS?!?
- Huh. Why can’t I do this?
The first one is judgy, and it immediately activates our lizard brain, which wants to fight/flee/freeze in self defense. There will be no answers here.
The second one is curious, and it sets the more advanced parts of our brain to work finding answers. Specifically, it helps us to see where we did not set ourselves up for success and what we could perhaps put in place next time.
Did you go out to eat and not make the best choices? Instead of beating yourself up (WHYDIDIEATTHAT?!?), get curious. Why did you eat that?
- Maybe you went out with friends who are not supportive of better choices. (Remember, you’re supposedly most like the five people you hang out with most—so perhaps choose your company more wisely?)
- Maybe you went to a restaurant where better choices are not available. (Next time, suggest a place where you have better options.)
- Maybe you’ve been making great choices and it was a chance to treat yourself. (Aim for the 80/20 rule: if you’re making the better choice 8 out of 10 times, the other 2 are probably not going to harm you.)
The point is to tend toward curiosity, not judgement.
make the connection
As we hurtle toward the new year, take a close look at your tendencies around making healthy choices.
- Are you waiting for something external to set your journey in motion? Perhaps you can examine whether you’re trying to take the best/easiest first step.
- Are you observing yourself with judgment or curiosity? Try using a kinder, more curious voice when asking yourself why you aren’t starting your journey.
And if you’re interested in starting your health journey tomorrow/the first of the week/the first of the month/the first of the year (I see you, January 1st, 2023!), join me for the first Fl!p Your K!tchen® Session of 2023. Yup, we meet on Zoom tomorrow, Sunday, January 1st at 10am ET. I know—it’s New Year’s Day, and I decided not to confuse things since these sessions always take place on the first Sunday of the month. If you really can’t drag yourself out of bed, you’ll get the replay if you’ve registered! Want ALL THE WORKSHOPS? You’ll find corporate subscriptions and individual memberships in the shop!