Some studies claim only 6 to 8% of all people keep their New Years resolutions. Some stages we go through in change are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and finally maintaining. For more detail on the stages of change see my newsletter from January 2015 – Knowing Your Change Stage. In my coaching where I see people fall short is in the preparation stage. What do you need to do ahead of time to make that goal happen? Since weight lose is still the top goal for most of us, that will be the example. I encourage people to flip it as losing anything is negative. So what about a eating healthy goal? Most people will lose weight with this goal. You have to determine what healthy eating means to you. Then you have determine why you are not eating healthy now.
Let’s start with a real example, a client said healthy eating means no fast food at all. This person stopped for fast food on the way home from work three to four times a week as she often worked late. My question was “What is a healthy dinner for you?” She chose two vegetables at dinner. The first preparation question was how are you going to get two veggies at dinner when you don’t have time to cook? The solution was to cook and freeze three all in one meals that contained two vegetables. I questioned if three meals was realistic and she said yes. With a solid plan set, she then had to choose the best day for cooking meals. Sunday in the afternoon was chosen. She now had to find meals to cook. I provided some resources and also encouraged her to choose her meal planning and shopping days and times so Saturday morning was set up for that. Perfect plan – yes? When we talked the next month due to family obligations she was not able to cook three separate meals. She was making one meal. I told her that was an awesome start. We explored a few other options such as making one super big batch of the same meal and having it three times a week. As she got more familiar with batch cooking she was eventually able to cook three meals, get off the fast food and lose some weight.
Preparation might also involve changing your external environment to achieve your goals. Do you have the utensils needed to cook and freeze healthier foods? My client had a family that was fine with eating the same food a few days in a row. If your family isn’t, do you have a variety of healthy frozen meals to serve? Are you adding healthy foods to a veggie hostile environment where your kids, someone else or maybe even you hate them? Prep might be that you need recipes that hide veggies. For example sneak some chopped red peppers into a homemade tomato sauce. Taking the time for preparation will help you choose more realistic goals and set up an environment more conductive to success. Start your goal knowing you are OK. Rather than fixing something broken, you are making something really good even better! I made a short under three minute video on setting an exercise goal. Goal Setting