Maybe you haven’t lost the weight you committed to lose this year. The days are shorter and you aren’t exercising the way you planned. Or perhaps holiday overeating is well underway and you’ve decided it’s hopeless—for now anyway. Are you one of the many women who is now ending her sentences with the phrase “in January” or “after New Year’s”?
- “I’m going back to the gym . . . in January.”
- “I’m going to get back to (fill in your favorite weight loss plan here) . . . in January.”
- “After New Year’s, I’m going to get serious about my eating/stress/_______.”
- “I know I’m an emotional eater and I’m going to get some help with that . . . in January.”
Yes, it’s the holiday season, and for many of you it’s busy or challenging in its own way. And in spite of what you may be thinking, it’s exactly NOT the time to give up on yourself or to put yourself on hold. In fact, you have three weeks of your year remaining. This is time when you can have an impact, nurture some new habits, and prevent yourself from having to dig yourself out of a hole come January 1st. And guess what? It’s possible to do all this without adding to stress and overwhelm.
How to jumpstart your success before the New Year
You doubt me don’t you? The truth is, the holiday season may not be the time to overhaul your life or your habits, but it’s a fine time to start building the kind of incremental change that can work wonders—because this is exactly the kind of change that tends to last. Instead of throwing your priorities to the wind or declaring that there is “no time for me,” this is a time when you can start to build your sense of effectiveness in small but powerful ways.
Your December Jumpstart has two steps
Pick the area of your life that you’d like to focus on. Eating? Managing stress? Physical activity? Self-care? Now think small and think do-able. What’s one small consistent step that you can and will commit to over the next three weeks? This should be something that you want to start or some fragile habit that you want to commit to nourishing and maintaining. If you feel doubtful about your ability to take this step, you aren’t thinking small enough.
Warning: Thinking small is a real challenge for many of you because you are high-achievers. You are likely to devalue small steps and automatically double them. Don’t do this. It won’t work for a jump start.
- Examples of a small step:
- Taking your vitamins every day.
- Drinking eight glasses of water a day.
- Taking a ten minute walk at lunch.
- Spending five minutes every morning writing in your journal.
- Asking for help with something once a day.
Choose the small step that you will commit to and simply start moving forward.
Another warning: You may be tempted to choose many small steps. Again, one small step may not seem like “enough.” The truth is, huge change is built on the backs of small consistent steps, AND taking on too many things at once can lead to a breakdown in all of them. If you are tempted, you can choose two or three small steps, but no more.
Step Two: Commit to me-time.
If you aren’t already doing this, this may be one of the most valuable steps you ever take. And if you start doing this now, you are going to be well on your way to a powerhouse of a new habit by January 1.
Here are the rules of the Jumpstart: commit to taking ten minutes a day connecting with yourself. That’s it. Ten minutes listening to you. It might be ten minutes of quiet meditation, ten minutes of journaling, yoga, or stretching. Maybe you’ll do it on a ten minute walk or while drinking your morning coffee.
Don’t over complicate this, and don’t underestimate its power. These ten minutes will help you stay clear on your priorities, your feelings and your needs. They can help you identify what is going well in your life, what’s stressing you out, and how you want to respond. These ten minutes have helped many women before you with everything from emotional eating, relationship stress, procrastination, overload, overcommitment, and a general lack of mojo.
Yes, you can throw in the towel, call it a year, and check back in with yourself on January 1st. But what might you accomplish if you start really learning the art of do-able self-care today?