Those arduous New Year’s Resolutions are right around the corner. At the same rate as the changing calendar, the earth is tilting away from the sun here and the result is a shower of flurries and unbearable temperatures.
I don’t know about you, but as soon as my breath becomes visible, my body prepares for hibernation. The habits I so religiously stuck to in the summertime start to fall off one … by … one.
My first habit to go is usually exercise. When the sky goes dark at 4pm, dragging my feet to the gym after work feels even less probable. Next comes the carbohydrates. There’s something about below freezing forecasts that have you craving bread.
Luckily there are a number of foolproof tactics you can use to stay motivated and resist temptations.
1. Put it on the Calendar
Schedule the tasks you want to get done. As soon as you put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) you begin to materialize your goals. It’s not enough to think about what you want. Create a digital calendar with reminders or carry an organizer that outlines exactly when you will get sh*t done. Example? Schedule morning workouts and set reminders so you actually make it.
2. Make it Non-Negotiable
Your goals should become knee-jerk reactions, otherwise known as habits. Let’s say one of your goals is to meditate every morning for 10 minutes. Rather than laying in bed wondering if you’re going to do it today, meditating should become as routine as brushing your teeth. If working out on weekdays is one of your goals, think of those scheduled workouts as set-in-stone as your work hours. This prevents any opportunity for excuses.
3. Get Comfortable Saying “No”
With more non-negotiable plans on your schedule, you may need to say no to social events or even work-related events. It takes boundaries to truly create balance in your life. If you mindlessly say yes to everything people ask of you, your life quickly starts revolving around everyone else’s needs. Create a list of your top priorities (ex. Health, Family, Work, etc.) and make decisions based on your desire to balance these commitments.
4. Come Prepared
If you’ve decided to take on a challenging goal, it’s important to be prepared to face temptations and never rely on willpower alone. Last year I committed to eating a fully plant-based diet only one month before Christmas. When Christmas rolled around I visited family in rural Canada a one-hour drive from the nearest grocery store.
I arrived at my aunt’s house with three days worth of food, including delicious vegan dessert options. If I hadn’t come prepared, chances are I would have succumbed to one of those delicious dairy brownies or indulged in those buttery appetizers out of a combination of hunger and defeat.
5. Go to Bed Early
Everything is clearer after a full night’s rest. When I turn in early, not only do I feel refreshed the next day, I feel motivated to wake up early and commit to my goals in the AM. Most of my goals like working out, meditating, or eating healthy, can be applied first thing in the morning. When I have a good start to the day, I feel less tempted to break this streak with rebellious behaviour later.
6. Have a Worthwhile “Why”
It’s easy to talk your way out of a goal if you don’t want it badly enough. Do you know that voice in your head that says, “Does it really matter?” in those dark depths of temptation. Remain armed with a solid “why” so you can’t be so easily swayed by your excuses. Keep this motivation visible on your phone or at your desk, or wherever you’re prone to facing temptation and remind yourself why it matters to you.