With just a week and a bit to go until Xmas many of us are starting to wrap things up (physically and psychologically), review our year and set goals for 2016. Some of us may be thinking about setting a New Year Resolution or Resolutions, and worst still some of us may have given ourself permission to out our health and happiness on hold until January 1st when the new and improved you really decides to make things happen.
We know that New Years Resolutions don't work, research shows us that most people cave in by Valentines day, yet thousands of people still insist on making this annual commitment, if they didn't work out for you last year, why on earth would you think they would this year?
However, this is not the main reason I dislike the annual goal setting frenzy.
If you only set a new intention once a year, chance are you have between 50 and 70 chances to improve your health...and remember annual goal setting without more frequent check and challenge doesn't work.
So perhaps Monthly goal setting is better?
In my online running club we have monthly themes, this is to keep us on our toes and to help improve different aspects of our health and happiness, focussing on developing strength or resilience in different areas. It also helps women who have had a challenging few weeks to find the motivation to jump back in.
Weekly goal setting is not a bad idea in theory, only problem is this falls completely inline with diet industries tried and tested motto of "Start Again Monday" a mindset that so many yoyo dieters fall into. You start the week of with all the best intentions, the fridge is stocked, you have your sessions planned, its gonna be a great week...and then by Wednesday life is getting a bit tough and that resolves slips away somehow and the "oh I can never stick at anything" voice in your head starts nagging, so you're lucky if by Thursday you haven't given up all together and dived head first into a jar of nut butter.
What if we set daily intentions then? What if each day we got up we said (out loud if it helps)
Today I choose to be healthy
Today I choose to be happy
Today I choose to take part in joy full movement
Today I choose to fuel my body with food we both love
Today I choose to love and accept my body
But better still what if we utilised each and every hour of our waking day as mini milestones, moments to review how we were getting on, opportunities to shift course if we need to (in either direction).
Overweight women (or maybe its just women generally) are wracked with guilt, and shame and regret. But perhaps if we only had an hours worth of difficult, or non constructive behaviour when it came to food, or exercise or negative thinking those triggers that enable more sustained damage wouldn't surface as much.
The average life expectancy for a woman is 73 years, so thats 73 opportunities to reflect and respond with the worn out New Years Resolutions model, Make a change daily and we are talking 365 opportunities each and ever year, go with the hourly approach and we are talking a staggering 8760 hours and if we are talking minutes it is a whopping 525600...this my friends is the point at which we start to find ourselves in an ever so useful environment of mindfullness.
I speak to thousands of overweight women each year about their health and their weight, and they tell me time and time again that actually their size is not the only thing that is important to them, but it is their health and their sense of wellbeing. They don't want to fit into a size 8 pair of jeans they just want to find peace with their bodies.
I wrote my latest ebook "New Year Same Me" because I was sick of being dragged into the New Year New Me rhetoric each January, I was sick of wasting money on another diet regime or another gym membership in the hope that this year would be the year. It never was.
As women we each have the opportunity to inspire those around us by our actions and to significantly affect health outcomes for future generations, and we don't need New Years Resolutions each and every 12 months to do this. Tiny compounding actions, done collectively by many, over sustained periods of time is what leads to real change in our world.
So start today to attract the health and happiness you truly deserve in your life and please share this blog post far and wide on social media, and start using the #NewYearSameYou hashtag as often as you can to help me kick start this global revolt against annual resolutions