When I get overwhelmed it’s hard to fit in my workouts and eat right. It is hard to train for any kind of event or get excited about a new exercise routine.
Something’s got to give, like getting rid of at least one of my too many pets, sell my too big house or get rid of my spouse. (Don’t worry; I was just being funny on that last part)
… and, if you are like me, I especially need more exercise during the winter months, better food, meditation and rest!
So, here’s why the holidays are actually the best time to start a new routine.
If I want a habit to stick, I have to start really, really small. It is hard for us humans to make a major change (like swapping that holiday cocktail for a jog).
Here’s the thing –
It’s much better to succeed at something rather unambitious (and then build on that success) than to fail at a more impressive goal.
Almost all of us can pull off a brilliant couple of days, or even weeks, of ambitious exercise. But unless we have a really big catalyst for our change, like a very scary health diagnosis or other crisis-level event that provides us with immutable (and long-term) motivation, we’ll usually crash and burn soon after takeoff.
We’ll have a couple of good weeks, but then we’ll have a bad day and skip out planned exercise.
The next day we’ll decide that the whole routine is too hard and we’ll skip it again, resolving to make revisions tomorrow. The day after that we’ll hardly think of it at all. We’ll be back at square one.
The alternative to being super ambitious when I create a new habit is to build slowly. And because most of us have very little free time over the holidays, we may feel better about doing something small – we can more easily see that doing something is better than nothing.
So, what if this December we all become more willing to be shockingly unambitious in our exercise goals?
Willing to start small rather than waiting until January to become willing? Wouldn’t this very thing be more likely to help us to succeed than to enter the New Year feeling awful and desperate?
I was first learning to meditate, I just find a quiet place to show up, sit down, shut up and become willing to let my Higher Power meditate me.
The word discipline was used to get my attention and because I believed myself to be a disciplined person, I started small and committed.
Or, what if you committed to just putting on your workout clothes and walking out your front door, having one glass of wine instead of 3 or 4 at your next holiday party or eating a bite of breakfast with that morning coffee?
I believe we can ALL do something ridiculously unambitious like this, and when we do, we’ll be carving a neural pathway in our brain that will eventually become an unshakable habit.