The Top 5 Things You’ve Got to Do This Week
It’s the last week of the year.
2015 is barely five days away, so that means this week is a great time to take the meaning of relax to a whole new level, both in terms of how we move and what we choose to eat, right?
We’ve got a whole new start just around the corner, so what’s the big deal if we spend four days of eating junk and not exercising?
Why not just deal with it later?
That whole attitude, putting it off for another time, in and of itself may be at the very crux of the problem.
Not only will procrastinating about approaching a difficult task, like losing weight, equate to more days of poor eating choices and subsequent weight gain after you’ve given yourself a temporary hall pass to ‘eat whatever you like’, it can doubly sabotage you as many also eat as a form of procrastination on top of everything else.
During the holidays, of the 12 activities listed, including chores like holiday shopping, paying bills, and scheduling doctors’ appointments, exercising and starting a diet are the two people put off the most, topped only by evaluating their retirement plan.
Meanwhile, the number one New Year’s Resolution Nationwide is weight loss, followed by three other related goals:
- 3rd most popular: exercise
- 5th most popular: healthier eating
- 6th: manage stress
Interestingly, while we are clearing aware that we’re putting things off too much, as the 9th most popular resolution was to stop procrastinating, perhaps we’re ranking it too far down on the list of priorities.
Imagine if we actually stopped procrastinating on all fronts?
If we took the advice that Nike doles out to us and just did it, whatever ‘it’ may be?
From my experience, when approaching anything less than fun, which feels like a chore, as well as something that’s inevitably going to be difficult emotionally or even awkward, the period during which we anticipate is often worse than the actual situation we’re dreading itself.
So how about instead of putting off our goals for four more days, we ‘just do it’ now?
Number one on my top five list of things you’ve got to do now, in that case, is to stop procrastinating.
And, for what it’s worth, I’m including myself in the audience for this goal; for Pete’s sake, I’m posting this blog at nearly 5pm instead of having queued it up for the normal 6am publish time.
Yes, I too am guilty of committing the P word.
If we take action on items we’ve been meaning to address for a long time put keeping pushing off, we can clear up quite a bit of clutter on our proverbial plates.
While you’re sifting away at all those things you’ve been meaning to do, also take note of what things you included on that list so long ago, they’re no longer relevant and scratch them off. No point in beating yourself up about not signing up for last year’s spring boot camp class which was on your to-do list last year, right around this time!
So where does that leave us in terms for the remaining top five?
Well, in keeping with the fact that we do have a New Year this week and even though it is, in one sense, just another day, it’s not insignificant that a new year can bring a fresh start.
The key is not to confuse the fresh start with a magical start, which brings me to task number two: decide your New Year’s Goals (notice the use of the word goal versus resolution) and make them according to the SMART goal setting strategy: Make them specific, measurable, achievable, result-based and time-sensitive.
Figure out what kept you from being successful last year. Have you been trying to quit smoking for ten years? Or is it the weight thing? Look reality in the face and sort out why your plan didn’t work. Or maybe you never had a plan, just a harsh resolution that even the most stoic person couldn’t have stuck to?
Reward yourself…not with food (even if your goals have nothing to do with food; that’s just the wrong use of sustenance!). It’s not silly or trivial and if you feel it is, well, no one needs to know. Research shows that rewards are responsible for three-quarters of why you do things. Plus, research shows happiness increases productivity and makes you more successful.
Last, but far from least, treat yourself well. Why are we so hard on ourselves? If only I knew; I am guilty of this as well. If we can train our minds to focus on progress, not perfection, we’ll get much further ahead compared to having an all or nothing approach, In fact, it was this very same line of thinking that occurred to me over the past year or so in terms of how I address clients, my audience in a lecture or those interested in reading my daily blog.
In particular, the “100 % Paleo or nothing” approach proved not doable for many more than the small percentage who believed in it as much as I do and though I still feel the same way, I also have come to see the importance in progress. Small steps count, too, and in the same vain, we must apply the same reasoning to ourselves.
Treat yourself with kindness and keep that in mind when you’re setting what might have been an unrealistic goal or too harsh a judgment.
To review, then:
- Stop Procrastinating
- Choose Your SMART goals for the New Year
- Identify What Kept You from Success Last Year
- Set up a Reward System
- Treat Yourself Well
How about entering the New Year with four days of that up your sleeve, huh?
 “How to Stop Procrastinating on Diet, Exercise.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2015
 Journal of Clinical Psychology](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11920693)
 “Writing S.M.A.R.T. Goals.” Writing S.M.A.R.T. Goals (n.d.): n. pag. Web
 “How to Motivate Yourself: 3 Steps Backed By Science.” Time. Time, n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2015