We’re almost halfway through January, and by now, you may have gone from feeling inspired by all of the New Year’s Resolution posts to feeling frustrated that you’ll “never” get to where you want to be or that you’ll “never” compare to all of those “inspirational” examples that you’ve been seeing in magazines lately. Do you tend to lose steam when you realize that you’ve been working towards something and are just not there yet? If so, today’s Motivation Monday reminder is just for you.
You see, any change worth making is going to be challenging to achieve. If it weren’t challenging, you would have completed it long ago, right? If you could lose the 20 pounds you’ve been wanting to lose overnight, you probably wouldn’t have experienced the frustration of yo-yo dieting for so many years. If you could train for a marathon overnight, a whole lot more than 0.155% of the US population would have finished one last year. If you could eliminate sugar, eat more vegetables, or create the habit of drinking more water just by deciding overnight … well, you get the point. (picture source)
Maybe the issue is that we’re setting our sights too high, and want to achieve our goals too immediately. We live in a world where instant gratification is increasingly demanded, and we often forget to celebrate our interim achievements. I’ve posted before about the fact that small changes add up, and I’m sure there will be several more posts in the future, because it’s one of those habits that’s hard to break. So if you do something healthy today, whether it gets you to your ultimate goal or just gets you one step closer, give yourself a pat on the back. You are one step ahead of where you were yesterday, and that is a wonderful thing. (picture source from Pinterest listed as this site, but I don’t see the graphic here…)
So tell me in the comments … What’s one healthy thing you can do today to bring yourself one step closer to your ultimate goal? How do you remind yourself to celebrate the interim accomplishments, and not beat yourself up for not reaching your goals overnight?
I think it is so so important to look at the small accomplishments along the way to a goal…that is why I made most of my goals for the new year things that I could keep track of along the way. (The marathon goal can obviously only be achieved when I run a marathon, but I can also celebrate small successes in my training). It’s only a few weeks into the new year but I feel like I am mostly on track! One thing I can do today to help me reach my running goal is to spend some more time with my foam roller:)
Lisa, I struggle with the fact that marathons are such a “big goal,” too … I always try to celebrate my increasing long run length each week … it really is an accomplishment just to get through training! Hope you got in that time with your foam roller!
I always love this motivation mondays (even though I read fitness blogs on Tuesdays) 🙂 I printed out the last one to hang on my running board. For me it’s being patient with myself as a new long distance runner. I’m not going to be the fastest and who knows, maybe I never well. But I’d doing it. I’m putting in my time and logging the miles. That’s all that really matters!
That’s definitely all that matter, Tonya. I, too, will never be the fastest out there, but I’m constantly improving myself and always feel accomplished just for getting out there!
I swear everyone around me is looking for that quick fix or satisfaction instead of putting the effort in to complete it- it just baffles me because I tend to find things get accomplished with small steps!
I try to reaffirm to myself that to maintain something long term, it probably will take you a long time to reach that goal- and not to put a time frame on it but as you said, count each progressive step as an achievement! Cheers, Megan- much needed today actually.
If we took all of our efforts spent on looking for that quick fix and instead focused on making the small changes you mentioned, we’d all get a lot more accomplished :).
I love the way you think – I second everything in this post. I don’t do the New Years resolution thing because it eels like it gives odd pressure to the goal. Rather, I prefer to evaluate where I am and where I’m headed throughout the year. It’s a journey not a destination!
YES on the journey not a destination – we used to have one of those “Successories” or whatever they are called with that quote! I agree with you that evaluating where you are and making changes is the best path – if you’re self-motivated enough to actually do that. The problem is that some people never actually do that throughout the year, so if a New Year’s Resolution is the only time most people will do it, I’m all about it!
I was never really one for resolutions each year, but if there is one thing I need to focus on right now… that’s running more during the week! Running is starting to feel boring. Any recommendations?
Hmmm … when is your next race? If it’s not for a while, it may be helpful to take a full week off of running so you get the fire back. Other than that, run with friends (which I know you already do for your long runs), listen to podcasts (check out some of my favorites here: , try a new route, run without a Garmin/ GPS, or focus on your goals and how awesome you’ll feel when you accomplish them!!
I think the whole ‘New Year New You’ think puts a lot of pressure on people. Like you say – none of this happens overnight – just like establishing the bad habits we are trying to change didn’t happen overnight. I also think we always need to be honest with ourselves – some people can’t change ‘cold turkey’, whereas others can’t make gradual changes.
One of my big non-health goals for the year is decreased ‘screen time’. So for me, the goal would be to only have reading material when I go to bed tonight (which will be a kindle, but no email, blogs, etc). We’ll see how that goes 🙂
Yes – you’re exactly right that how people make changes varies so much from person to person! I find it really interesting! While I don’t have a goal of decreasing screen time overall, I’ve made a similar goal about bedtime – I used to scroll through Instagram/ blogs/ play solitaire on my phone to put me to sleep, but now I’m a Kindle-only girl. Great way to get in the reading that I so dearly miss AND decrease screen time a bit!
it really is so important to take things step by step. i always tell this to my friends who are frustrated with themselves for not completely overhauling habits overnight. that is no way to maintain long term change!
Couldn’t agree more, Caitlin! I think that’s half the fun of it, too – I never make huge drastic changes, so there’s always something small that I can improve!
I think something I can do is keep taking small steps. When I decided that I really wanted to change my diet, I knew that I couldn’t eliminate all of the foods I was used to eating all at once. So I started really small by introducing veggies instead of necessarily taking away other stuff. But funny thing is, if you’re eating Meatless Mondays, there really is no room to go out and get fast food. And if you find that kale mac and cheese from scratch is easy and delicious, it sounds a lot better than a pan pizza. last week I even substituted the cheese sauce I make for a cauliflower sauce, and I LOVED it. So before you know it, you’ve made BIG changes and your happy about it. At least that’s been my experience. I hadn’t really thought about it until I read this post though, so thanks for giving me this opportunity to reflect.
You’re SO right!!! I wholeheartedly believe in focusing on adding things in (like veggies or water) rather than concentrating on what you have to take out (like potato chips). If you change everything at once and get too deep into thinking about things you miss, you’re likely to set yourself up for failure. You’re such a good example of changing your eating habits over time! And YUM – kale mac and cheese and cauliflower sauce both sound pretty amazing!
Megan I love this post! All of them speak to me but I love the one about we can’t change it overnight! Sometimes it is hard and sometimes we want to just wake up and change all the things we need to, but that is over zealous. Take it a day at a time, a small change at a time, and you will eventually see what you need will happen. I think we all struggle with patience sometimes.
I agree, Sara. Patience is SO, so important, and also SO, so hard to maintain :). But I think we’re both moving in the right direction!
Such a positive PERFECT message this Monday morning. Thanks for sharing! This past weekend I found myself a little down in the dumps that I am not where I thought I would be with my workout/eating schedule. But instead of just throwing in the towel I made a green smoothie and then I went for a walk with my dog. And then I was happy. It’s the little things.. 🙂
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Christine! Sounds like you are a great example of turning your attitude around in the right way – a green smoothie and walk sounds like the perfect combination!
Bingo on your post. 5 days into my “restart” and I’ve been PERFECT, but I feel like no results and would LOVE to complain and be mad. BUT……it’s ONLY the scale that’s not moving. I feel better and I KNOW I am on the right path to both better health and to weight loss. Let’s just say that I am living proof that what took 5 years to build, can’t be changed back in 5 days……..unfortunately. 🙂
Megan, thanks for your patience and positive attitude – I’m trying.
Mom, you’re doing a GREAT job! It’s only been 5 days, and while that’s a long time to be committed, it’s also just the beginning of a new lifestyle. I guarantee that you’re making much more progress than you’re giving yourself credit for. And feeling better + knowing you’re healthier is more than half the battle! Keep up the good work!
Great message, Megan! You definitely hit the nail on the head when you said that we expect things to happen right away and get discouraged when we don’t wake up a completely new person. I actually used to fall victim to that mentality all the time, which is why I quit making resolutions. I couldn’t help but feel like I was going to wake up on January 1st with no vices and experience no setbacks, which is completely unrealistic. Change is hard, and it often comes about so gradually that we don’t even notice… that’s something I’m definitely trying to keep in mind.
Thanks for sharing, Amanda! It’s so interesting how some people can be so motivated by New Year’s resolutions and others can find them frustrating and disheartening. I’m really glad you realize that they didn’t work for you. And yes, I totally relate to not appreciating the changes that are happening. We’re working on that together!
>Not< weigh myself. I've been caught up in weighing myself daily and letting that dictate my day. I've adjusted my calories to lose weight less quickly, and as a corollary weighing myself weekly. That's hard for me, because what if I go a whole week and don't lose weight!?
Yikes! Unfortunately, I’ve been there, Robert. Weighing yourself every day is not only incredibly frustrating, but also inaccurate – you know that your weight can fluctuate so much day to day just based on fluid retention, etc. I really do think that weighing every week is good for people who are closely monitoring their weight (and maybe every 2 weeks or every month for others). I challenge you to not step on the scale until the weekend. If you DO go a whole week or two and don’t lose weight, you can always make more adjustments. You can do it!
How do you always make me feel better than how I was feeling prior to reading your posts? While I have been having an amazing few weeks, they haven’t exactly been my “healthiest” and I have been feeling very sluggish during my minimal workouts. I woke up today a bit frustrated but this is such a necessary reminder to not dwell in the past too. Today I am going to go to spinning and yoga and make sure I eat enough during the day so I am not a hangry snack monster come this evening. Hope you have a wonderful day!
Thank you for saying this, Amy! Try to focus on the fact that you got to enjoy such an AMAZING, once-in-a-lifetime experience … getting to tour exciting new places, spending time with family, exploring, enjoying new foods … all with very little nagging responsibility back home. So if you weren’t your healthiest, I guarantee it was worth it! And because of the balance you had the whole time you were over there, you’ll be feeling like your normal self in no time, I’m sure. I saw at least one very healthy and delicious meal on Instagram today! And … no hungry snack monsters allowed :). That made me laugh!