Deb Nelson says she appreciates firsts – first of the week, the month, the year — because they are great opportunities for resets. The first of the year is a huge opportunity, which is why so many people scramble to make New Year’s resolutions. Keeping them is another matter. Why is it so difficult? Deb, who is a health coach at Be Well Consulting Group, has some thoughts on that and some tips to help us be more successful.
I think that sometimes we set resolutions because we feel like we should rather than because we want to. I remember when I was younger, I looked at resolutions almost as a punishment. If we turn that around and make resolutions to celebrate what we want to achieve, that little mindset switch can help a lot.Deb Nelson, Health Coach
Switching your mindset can help, but you also need to get specific about your goals and resolutions. You might be thinking this year I’m going to be healthy or I’m going to exercise more, but if you don’t put any parameters around your goals you’re likely to end up not knowing where to begin or stop.
Deb tries to rein people in and get them thinking about what they really want. The first things she asks clients is what their resolution or goal looks like to them, why they think they need to make changes, and what they want to accomplish.
For example, a lot of people say I want to lose weight. Well, what is your why for losing weight? Is it that you are on medication that you want to get off? Is it that you feel like you are heavier than you’re comfortable with? Is it because your friend is 10 pounds lighter than you and you feel like you have to be the same way?Deb
If Deb is going to help figure out what really makes sense for someone, she needs them to dig deep for the answers to her questions. For instance, you may want to lose weight because you’re tired every day, but what is it that’s making you feel so tired? What changes could you make to address the issue? Losing weight might be a good strategy, but there could be other things going on, as well.
Maybe it’s a matter of being more active or maybe you need to drink more water because when we’re dehydrated we don’t have the energy we need. Maybe you can make a couple of small changes that are going to have a big impact on you. It may encourage you to move forward because you’re going to have some good positive results as you make some changes to your lifestyle.Deb
But, what if, like a lot of people, you’re looking for instant gratification? There’s nothing wrong with that and, in fact, Deb has some suggestions.
Getting outside into the fresh air and going for a ten-minute walk can make a huge difference. Sit at your desk and take three deep breaths — that can calm you down. Get up and do 10 jumping jacks. Any one of these can help reset you and give you immediate gratification. It’s important to reduce whatever stress or obstacles are making you feel not great and these are quick wins.Deb
Even if you’re facing stressors that are out of your control, Deb says there are still things that we CAN control. What we eat and drink, for example. She recommends thinking about what makes you feel better and energizes you throughout the day. A sugary drink may make you feel better, but you’ll likely be hitting the wall around mid-afternoon. Overdoing the coffee can also have an impact. Once again, if you can make a small shift, it can make a big difference.
Take small steps, look at things that you’ve wanted to do. What might happen if you get up 15 minutes early and do something just for you? Maybe sit in the quiet and the calm and prepare yourself for the day. Meditate — start with a two-minute meditation and see how that works. Try to do something for even the smallest amount of time every day for yourself.Deb
If your goal/resolution is to finish some projects or be more productive but you find yourself procrastinating, try setting a timer. Start with 10 or 15 minutes and work your way up to 50 minutes. You might be shocked to discover how much you can get done in a short amount of time. So satisfying, too. Short spurts are good, says Deb.
If we say I have two hours to do this, we find a way to fill up that two-hour time frame, but sometimes if we chunk things down, we can celebrate more successes. Every success you can celebrate makes you more likely to complete the next task, even if it’s in a different form.Deb
Check that list
When you simply have a list of things you want to accomplish and no specific goal or expectation, it’s way too easy to follow some shiny object and get nothing done. Social media is a great example. You can go down that rabbit hole for hours at a time. Deb suggests narrowing down your list. Choose the three top things you need to concentrate on and go for it. When you set an intention to complete something and do it, it feels amazing!
If you’re feeling pessimistic about being able to make changes, reflect for a moment on some of the lessons of 2020. Because of the pandemic, we were forced to shift our worlds upside down, says Deb. To work and school from home, to become physically isolated from friends and loved ones, to make all kinds of lifestyle changes. Yes, it has taken its toll on people in many ways, but it has also made us aware of our resilience and adaptability and that we are capable of making changes.
I think the new year offers a great opportunity to identify what’s important to us. A lot of people have had no choice but to do that over the past nine months or so. You can build on that in a powerful fashion. All of the things we’ve learned over the course of this last year can help set us up for a successful and joyous 2021.Deb
Healthy living starts right now, says Deb. If you are ready to take control of your health but need a little help getting started, she offers individual and group coaching (always helps to have buddies), and customized workshops. For more information, check out her website Be Well Consulting Group. And best of luck to you. Whatever you want to accomplish, I know you can do it!