Well, the lights are down and the tree is curbside,
awaiting its transformation to bless someone’s garden with beautiful mulch. The
candles are all carefully nestled away, along with all of the boxes, tissue
paper, buttons and bows that had cluttered the family-room floor.
As I sat quietly sipping my tea this morning, my home felt a little dry and
honestly quite dull. No tree, no sparkling lights against the ceiling, no
garland crisscrossing the railing of our stairs, no brightly lit greenery
draping the fireplace… It felt as though my home was whispering to me, asking
me why: Why couldn’t we just invite another holiday to come and stay for a
while? Another one to warm the cold, bitter bite of the winter breeze again;
one that could bring with it a generous dusting of adorning glitter, bright
lights and the laughter and love that our family and friends had supplied … again.
We have a while to wait for that, but it seems almost sadly comical that
during the most dry, dull and dank days of winter, we are supposed to jump on
our New Year’s Resolutions with a renewed vigor and vitality that we just
packed away! Don’t you just love irony?
New Year’s resolutions are made every year with great excitement and
anticipation, surrounded by a holiday glow that leads us to believe that
“anything is possible.” Sometimes, there’s also a little bit of holiday-induced
thinking involved — We make these resolutions while streamers and confetti are
falling, people are kissing folks they don’t even know and sipping on glasses
of “oh what the heck” champagne, only to wake up on Jan. 1st thinking, “I said
I’d start doing what?”
As I mentioned before my Holiday Break, I’d pretty much decided that I’d stop
making resolutions. I felt that for me,
they ended up being nothing more than a glorified wish list of things I’d been
playing around with and/ or trying to change all year, without dedicating myself to fully getting there. SO,
instead throughout the year I choose goals and set timelines to complete them.
Having said that… I’ve now had a change of heart. I think that resolutions
CAN be a good idea, if taken seriously and handled properly. The problem is
that we seem to think that just because a big crystal ball drops when the clock
strikes 12, there’s some kind of “willpower fairy” wielding a New Year’s magic
wand to make it all come true. Honestly, if we haven’t figured out how to
transform our desires into reality before New Year’s Eve, no Times Square
crystal ball will mystically change us into masters of our domain come
the next morning.
There are plenty of resolutions out there, but topping the list every year
are goals pertaining to Weight Loss and Fitness. I have the distinct pleasure
of texting many of my nutrition clients each and every New Year’s Day; applauding them for waking up January 1st, having finally achieved
How do they do it? First, by finally taking responsibility; second, by
choosing their goals wisely; third, by investing in help that provided them
with a plan specific to them that includes a timeline; fourth, by adding no
nonsense, non-negotiable accountability; and fifth, by focusing on the fact
that time is ticking. They took on an “it’s now or never” kind of thinking and
developed what I call their mental muscle!
Folks, the reality is that all of this stuff is accomplished with the power
of the mind! So here are six steps that will have you developing and then using
your mental muscle to think your resolutions into reality!
I received a beautiful bracelet for Christmas that has an engraved heart
on it. On one side it says “Do It” – turn it over and it says “Now!”Today
is the day! It has nothing to do with the excuses or explanations that you
are already formulating as to why it can’t be now. I don’t believe in
excuses. You decide when it’s time. You decide when you’ve had enough. You
need to finally understand that you are responsible for what you do with
the rest of your life. It’s that simple and yet that hard.
Let’s leave the past where the definition of the
word puts it … behind you … and start looking forward now! I’m heading
that way too, so we’re all on this road together.
2. Choose Goals Wisely.
Start with a goal that is an Immediate Results Motivator. Results breed
motivation! If you start seeing significant results, you are more likely
not to quit. That being the case, pick one goal that has the potential of
giving you immediate gratification. And no, I don’t mean trying to lose 10
pounds in a week!For example, I gave up using expletives about 22 years
ago. I have probably slipped and used less than 20 in 22 years. I consider
that a huge success. I just stopped. That’s a goal that carries with it
the possibility of immediate gratification. Now, pick only one or two more goals, max. Any more than that and you’ll be blown out of the water by too
many disciplines at once and nothing will get accomplished.
3. Make A Plan That Includes A Timeline.
You may have heard it before, but the
difference between a dream and a goal is a timeline! We can sit around and
talk up a storm about what we’d like to do or be, but unless we turn the
talk into action, it remains a dream.As the saying goes, we have to “plan
our work and work our plan.” Without a plan and a clear-cut timeline in
which to achieve it, well, as my dad used to say, “Pee Wee (that’s what he
called me), it ain’t gonna happen”! let’s say your goal is to start working out on
a regular basis. Decide how to make that a reality. Look for a club near your
area and inquire about a membership. Visit it once or twice before joining to
see if it offers what you want.
Also, consider whether you want equipment in
your home in addition to or instead of a club membership. Hire a trainer for at
least a one-time consultation. This appointment should include learning about
both options, (in-home or club ideas) and give you an individualized fitness
program developed just for you that is specific to your goals. Next, be sure
that this program will realistically fit into your lifestyle and set you up for
success. Then, pull out your schedule and enter the days and times you will be
devoting to your goal. Keep a fitness bag in your care containing your workout
clothes, shoes and gear. This kind of preparation will keep you in the game and
allow you to still fit in a workout even if your day gets sidelined by the
unexpected … LIFE!
Believe it or not, after owning my fitness company
for 21 years now, Sunday afternoons I still pull out my schedule and put in the
days and times that I will be working out in the upcoming week. If someone
wants my time during that workout, I can honestly say that I am unavailable as
“I have an appointment at that time.” And I do … it’s with me!You must schedule yourself just like you schedule
everything and everyone else, or it won’t happen.
4. Tell Someone.
Scary, huh? Years ago, I started incorporating this idea into my nutrition
counseling. I have my clients call me daily with reports on how they are
doing, their weight, etc., until the completion of their time with me or
until they reach their goals and “graduate” from the program. When we
added this, our success rate skyrocketed.
5. Focus On The Brevity of Life.
What? That's not fun. Maybe not, but it's a great reality check now isn't it? Reminding ourselves that life is short, will serve to propel us forwardnd help to end procrastination. I’ve often picked up the phone and told a close friend I loved them because I’d felt an overwhelming urge to do it today. It’s a great way to start really living!
- Yesterday has passed and tomorrow isn’t promised –
what we do have is the present. And that’s exactly what it is – a present to us
if we use it wisely!
6. Finally, let go of fear.
If we say we really, really want to do something but don’t,
fear is often the culprit.A dear friend once gave me a paperweight that
says, “What would you do if you thought you couldn’t fail?” For weeks it
bothered me and I didn’t know why. Then it hit me … I’d do the same darn
thing I’d do if I thought I might! It’s learning from our mistakes that
makes us smarter, wiser more well rounded, whole and empathetic. One of my
favorite phrases – “Feel the fear and do it anyway” – is definitely
So, let’s remember that life is brief; tomorrow isn’t promised. After
breaking my neck in a car accident three years ago, I’m a little closer to that
thought now than ever before. What a gift that was! Don’t wait for a
life-threatening accident to catch this vision.
If you are wondering why I haven’t included a specific eating plan here,
it’s because you can find success with many healthy-eating programs. Find the
one you like best, that has a reasonable caloric deficit, that uses real healthy
food, and stick to it.
The problem isn’t the program. Until you master these six steps, no program
I or anyone else will give you will work. Find out why you haven’t stuck to
what you’ve used in the past, and then you’re on your way to developing the mental
muscle necessary to get the job done. It’s all accomplished with the power of
Let’s go get it. … I’m with you!
Candace Grasso is CEO and
Founder of Fit Is It, Inc. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness
industry, she holds six national certifications, including Nutrition Specialist
with The American
Academy of Sports
Dietitians and Nutritionists. As a professional athlete, she has been honored
by PowerBar with membership to the prestigious Team Elite. She has traveled the
world coaching, teaching and motivating others, and can be seen on WBAL, Baltimore’s NBC
television affiliate, as a weekend fitness expert. Visit www.fitisitcardio.com
to learn how you can download her new Cardio Fit workouts, including stress
management with her new Stretch fit and Relax Series.