Be Optimistic and Realistic“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.  It’s a catchy tune, sure, but it’s not the best approach to success!  Overly optimistic thinking goes like this ” I went WAY over my calorie budget today, but I’ll get back on track tomorrow, somehow”.  While it’s helpful to assert good intentions (rather than beating yourself up) being vague about how you’ll recover isn’t helpful.  Thinking things will get better somehow, without having a plan to make it happen, can derail your weight loss efforts because we need to identify what needs to change and than set specific steps to change it.  So for instance the fix for going over your daily calorie budget could be to plan out your day for tomorrow. While most unhelpful thinking styles are negative (example beating yourself up) the don’t worry be happy style feels helpful and positive.  But it too can lead to feelings and actions or more often, inactions that undermine our journey.  Because it masquerades as something positive, this thinking style might demand a little practice and shift.

An example on how to manage this type of thinking was provided by the Weight Watchers Weekly on this subject.  It teaches you a way to “balance your thinking”.

  1. Identify your “don’t worry be happy” thought. (Example: I ate way more than I planned at my lunch date today. I’ll get back on track later.)
  2. Reality check it.  Ask yourself “what needs to happen to make this true?”  Use your answer to shift to a helpful thought that has one ot more back on track solutions. (example: If I make a plan, I will be able to get back on track later.  I could track what I ate.)
  3. Plan what you’ll do.  Choose one action from your ideas above that’s doable.  Make a specific plan for what you’ll do, when you’ll do it and who you’ll do it with (if anyone). (example: I’ll track what I ate at lunch during my 3pm break at my desk by myself.  That’ll help me see how many calories I’ve used and decide what to eat for dinner)

I’m a good one for this kind of thinking.  I am a big “don’t worry, be happy” thinker when it comes to my weight loss journey.  That’s why it’s ben so SLOW!  I’m always saying to myself “it’s ok tomorrow will be better” – spoiler alert- tomorrow is never better.  The action plan above is great and something I am going to give a try!

Reflect and Refresh

Taking stock of the past can help you set up for the year ahead.

Looking back at your healthy living efforts over the past six months, two years…even five years!  Aside from your on the scale goals, what are you small victories, big wins and challenges?  Think about what you’ve accomplished, what made you proud and what you still want to achieve.  The end of the year and beginning of the next is a natural point to review these goals and reset for the next year.

Looking back on your experiences gives you important feedback that helps you decide what to do (or not do) next.  Consider what has worked with your food, activity and mindset.  This is a great tool that I plan to implement for myself this year.  I plan on doing it quarterly rather than once a year.  Having a 12 week goal seem much more attainable than 52 week goal. I know that one of my largest struggles over this past year has been with food.

I know that food is my largest issue.  Food is where I turn when I’m stressed, overwhelmed, feeling empty.  It’s also used in celebration.  Working through this is a constant struggle.  Setting small goals will hopefully get me through.  Finding more fulfilling ways to “fill the empty” and get through the stressful times.

Below is a great tool that I started using.  I’ve posted my completed list on my Instagram page.  You can find it here.  I’ll also have a blank version of the paper incase you’d like a copy to fill out yourself!

Here’s to a GREAT year!!

Fill in at least ONE thing…….

1. I completed….
2. I stopped doing……
3. I started doing………..
4. I am going to stop doing in the next 12 weeks……
5. I am going to start doing in the next 12 weeks……
6. I learned……
7. I’m happy about……
8. I’m going to learn how to do in the next 12 weeks…….
9. That didn’t go as well as I expected…….
10. That went better than I expected……
11. I am going to get DONE…….
12. I need to spend money on…..
13. I need help with…..
14. I’m finding frustrating…..
15. I’m going to read….
16. I’m going to get more organized about……
17. I’m going to do EVERY day…….
18. I’d like to know how to do…….
19. I’m going to get better at………..
20. I’m proud of………


Who knew they were so hard to set for yourself?

I mean seriously.  I look at my Instagram and Facebook feeds and they constantly have people setting goals or making goals.  Goals of all kinds too – not just fitness or weight related.  So I ask myself “why is this so hard for you to do?”  Sounds crazy to some (or all) of you I’m sure.  But I’ve never formally set goals for myself and I’ve been ok with that all these years (except for the occasional time someone made me feel bad about it).  I’ve never had career goals, which also probably explains when any ventures into things such as Mary Kay or the like never worked for me.  Products don’t sell themselves (as I had hoped they would).
So as part of my journey to better overall health this year – by that I mean both mental and physical.  I would really like to set myself some goals.  I guess part of the reason I never attempted to set goals is because I tend to want to set them too high.  I ran into this problem when making a goal chart for my eight year old.  I wanted to set his goal at perfection (which is a nasty Capricorn trait), that I lost sight of the fact that 1. If he was able to do all of these items on the goal chart perfectly we wouldn’t need a chart and 2. Setting the goals to be attainable to begin with, then adjusting them out a little at a time was the best way to get him to buy in to participate. 
So now it’s time for me to work on some goals for myself.  One of them that I have started on is completing one of those online challenges.  I chose a plank challenge and paired it with a squat challenge.  I felt like doing one challenge just wasn’t enough ( foolish thinking now that I am 10 days and feeling both of these challenges).  I have another longer term challenge that I plan on beginning this Sunday – a couch to 5K.  The 5K I am going to sign up for happens on July 8th.  It’s one I did years ago called the Red Dress Run.  It’s a run for the ladies (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man running this – sorry guys), but I remember how encouraging the run was and all of the runners. 
I’ll keep working on my list, both short term and long term goals, but for now here’s what I’ve got:
1. Complete a 30 day challenge (plank & squat)
2. Complete a couch to 5K training program (10 weeks)
3. Complete a 5K run (or in my case jog)
4. Key ring charm for each 5lbs lost (new hobby)
5. More to come……..
Please let me know if anyone has any ideas for non-food rewards for meeting goals, because I need them!  My go to has always been FOOD!