Why You Didn’t Improve Your Health in 2022
Why You Didn't Improve Your Health in 2022
With the end of the year fast approaching, many of us take this time to reflect on 2022. As we sift through heaps of stuffing and piles of pastries, we look back at the trials, goals, and changes we experienced this last year, and we assess whether we truly made improvements. One of the most popular goals that people set is to improve their health, yet sadly, many of these individuals find themselves in a similar or worse position year after year.
If you found yourself continually challenged to lose ‘those 10 pounds,’ or you weren’t able to improve your blood panels (e.g. A1C, hormones, lipids), or change your energy throughout the day, it’s likely due to these top 3 reasons: 1) you didn’t find your ‘why,’ 2) you didn’t make a sustainable plan, and 3) you didn’t ask for help.
Make Next Year Different
You Didn’t Find Your “Why”
To hit any target, there needs to be a reason. If you randomly select and set goals because you feel you should with no true ‘why’ behind that goal, you’ll continually start and stop. On the days you don’t feel up to it, and that motivation isn’t there, the ‘why’ is the reason that makes you “pull up your boot straps.” Whether it's wanting to be around for your grandkids, fitting into an old dress, or simply being tired of just surviving in life, you have to find that why. The ‘why’ may be extrinsic motivations (i.e. others’ approval or rewards) or intrinsic motivations (i.e. goals deep within such as personal well being or confidence). The important thing is finding YOUR true motivation/why (hopefully a combination of both), and running with it.
You Didn’t Make a Sustainable Plan
Once you’ve truly found your why, the next hurdle is to find a sustainable plan, keyword being sustainable. Two primary components in a sustainable plan are 1) not doing too much too soon and 2) not being paralyzed by that plan and taking action. Once you ensure this plan is manageable and actionable, start. To see more on these two points, check out our two previous blogs: Overcoming Your Biggest Health And Fitness Mistakes, and Paralysis By Analysis.
For example, if your primary ‘why’ is sticking around to play with your grandkids, and you get a blood panel that shows you have high blood lipids, the plan can start by simply adding or subtracting common influencers on these markers (e.g. add or increase exercise frequency and subtract some saturated fats in your diet). If you currently aren’t exercising and get a high percentage of your calories from saturated fats, the plan may resemble the following: two to three, 20-30 minute walks (Monday, Thursday or Monday, Thursday, Saturday) and swapping out a weekly steak for something lower in fat like chicken, fish, or pork.
Ensure the plan you make is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) specific to your goal(s). Note: once you conquer the starting rendition of the plan, update the plan in order to continue making progress.
You Didn’t Ask for Help
The final reason, and perhaps the most significant piece to success, is letting go of your ego and asking for help. Whether from a professional, significant other, family member(s), friends, and/or community, this help can be a huge asset in keeping you accountable to the first two reasons mentioned earlier (i.e. your ‘why’ and your plan). Even with a powerful ‘why’ and effective plan, there will be days you may deprioritize or stray away from what you know you need to do. Stress of life, lack of sleep, or simple distractions can often be ‘louder’ than your goals; however, when you have a support system you can mitigate these days. It can be as simple as your significant other saying, “why don’t you order the chicken, sweetheart, remember your goals?,” a friend saying, “isn’t today Thursday? Don’t you have a walk today?” or even a fellow group exercise-class member shooting you a text, “missed you in class on Monday!” All of these examples may seem insignificant, but they can be REALLY powerful in keeping you on track and improving your health. So include others in your goals, and see how much more successful you are.
Acknowledge It, Accept It and Move On
If you didn’t improve your health in 2022, there’s nothing you can do about the past; however, it’s never too late to start. Acknowledge this failure, accept it, and move on. Dwelling on past failure(s) will not improve your state of mind nor change anything, but identifying the challenges you faced will provide awareness so that you can be prepared with solutions for the future. Accept where you are currently and know that there is work to be done. You didn’t get to your current health status overnight, so accept that it will take consistency, a lot of patience, and time to make sustainable change. Finally, make the conscious decision to move on and do it - find what your ‘why’ is, make an actionable and sustainable plan, and ask for help. 2023 can and WILL be different, if you make it different.