If you mapped out a list of New Year Resolutions, you joined the millions of others who vowed to make 2019 their year. If you still haven't started on your resolutions, you're in good company there as well. As the first month closes on the new year, it's important to assess not only your resolutions but also your mindset toward achieving them. The progress you make toward your goals is a direct result of your mindset. Especially when trying to achieve fitness goals, it's true that your body can only go as far as your mind will take you.
These mindset shifts may not happen overnight, but with practice, they can help you reach your goals and enjoy the process of becoming your healthiest, best self.
Here are four tips for achieving these mindset shifts.
1. Redefine consistency with progress, not perfection: Consistency means showing up for yourself every single day and doing what you can with what you have in the moment. What matters most is what you do often versus what you do every so often. If going to the gym twice per week is what works best for your schedule, don't stress over not being able to make it to the gym five times per week. If cutting out animal products "cold turkey" isn't right for you right now, try one day each week where plants are the focus of each meal.
Your progress is a culmination of everything you do over time. You can break the cycle of "falling off" and "doing so good until life happened" when you redefine consistency. The most important thing is that you show up for yourself every single day, even if it looks different day to day.
2. Remember that progress isn't linear: So much of the conversation about fitness focuses on progress that is measured on the scale, with a handheld body fat device or with a tape measure. New exercisers or those trying a completely different way of training for the first time ever might experience a surge in changes to their measurements. But in general, progress in fitness is never linear.
When people stop seeing progress, two things usually happen: they stop trying or they take extreme measures that actually set them back and often lead to burnout.
Instead of focusing on a single number:
Give your body a chance to adjust to the new demands placed on it
Celebrate small wins and non-scale victories like clothes fitting better, skin looking brighter, energy being boosted all day, sleep being more restful, anxiety levels and stress being more manageable and lower, etc. These are all things that cannot be measured on the scale.
Think long-term and stay focused on the long-term changes
3. Ditch the "all-or-nothing" mindset: You've been focused all week, eating healthy and working out but temptation strikes at your company happy hour and you fill up on your favorites like chips and buffalo chicken dip and a glass of red wine. After that night, the rest of your healthy meals and workouts for that week seem pointless. You've already splurged once, so why not keep splurging through the weekend and get back on track next Monday?
Or you slept in and missed your Tuesday morning Yoga session, which leads to feeling guilty and skipping the rest of the week's workouts because you might as well just wait until Monday to start over. Does this sound familiar?
This all-or-nothing mindset leaves you with a bunch of guilt, unfinished goals and disappointment. When you start off with loads of motivation but set unrealistic limitations on yourself, you will always come up short. Like many things in our lives, our fitness journey isn't black or white. The grey areas are times when "life happens." We have busy schedules, we get sick, we need a rest day, we have to work late, we go on vacations and enjoy the holidays, etc. Start small and pace yourself to success by eating the foods you love in moderation, adding more organic movement into your day and scheduling rest days. You can be firm on your goals but flexible on your methods.
4. You know more than you think: Why do we sometimes feel the need to do more research before acting on what we know to be true? You know what foods make you feel your best and which ones make you feel crappy. You know whether moderation or abstinence is best for you and how you feel when you skip workouts. You also know how many hours of sleep you need to wake up energized and how you feel when you have a full day of healthy meals.
Tune in and take care. Listen to your body and notice those subtle changes that might be trying to tell you something. The more you know about yourself, the easier it is to cut through some of the noise you read online and find what works best for you.
You've got this!
Success in any area of your life requires the right mindset. Celebrating small wins, staying consistent, being gentle with yourself and relying on your inner resources to reach your goals. As you move through 2019, practice these mindset shifts, and notice how your fitness and wellness journey evolves.
Trinity Perkins, a HealthyWomen #BeHealthiHer Ambassador, is a well-rounded fitness enthusiast and nature lover! She builds activity into every day by walking her dog, taking midday stretch breaks, lifting weights and having random dance sessions between work emails. She's a full-time Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, Registered Yoga Teacher and Wellness Blogger. Her training programs, events, blog and nutrition resources help inspire women to reach their fitness goals with a whole-body approach. Her clientele ranges from competitive athletes to beginners but one thing holds true – she's an advocate of strength training for women and includes free weights in every workout. Trinity is currently completing a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher training program as the next evolution of her fitness training career.