So, you made your New Year’s Resolutions in January, only for COVID-19 to come along and completely wreck things. Same, same. But now it’s time to say hello to the new year’s superior (and nerdier) little bro, September.
It’s the perfect time to reset – it’s the start of a new school year, the official end of summer and as is the case in 2020, it’s a time where things are starting to get back to normal after months of uncertainty.
Even if you’re far too old to be going back to school and your kids are too cool to get excited about new bags and pencil cases, tap into a little of that back to school feeling to reflect on, reset and refresh your weight loss goals.
6 ways to reset your weight loss goals
Forget the year
If you’ve been struggling hard during lockdown, you’re far from alone. The world has been upside down, so if your healthy habits have fallen by the wayside, fine. Don’t beat yourself up about it or stress that you had 6 months to get ripped and you didn’t. Forget about it.
You can’t do anything about the past, so instead focus on what you can control – your plans and actions going forward.
Reflect on your progress
How has your weight loss progress been going so far? Think about what you’ve done, and don’t be shy about patting yourself on the back. If you’ve made any steps towards improving your health, it should be celebrated, even if you did then undo these healthy habits during a difficult few months.
It’s all something to learn from, so ask yourself what you can learn from your efforts, whether they were successful or not.
Set your goals
The best weight loss and fitness goals are ones that come with real, actionable plans. Don’t say ‘I will get fit’, say ‘I will run for 20 minutes 3 times a week before work’. Don’t say ‘I will cut out all sugary foods’, say ‘I eat too many sugary snacks, so I will replace these with healthier options’. You’re far more likely to achieve a goal this way because you’ve given yourself something to work with.
Sharpen your pencils, grab a fresh page of paper and get your head down to create a solid meal plan for the week. Knowing exactly what’s on the menu and that it fits into your calorie allowances each day gives great peace of mind and says yes, you’ve got this.
Even if you falter and end up calling for a takeaway after a stressful day at work, or if you can’t resist that Snickers at 3pm (you’re not you when you’re hungry, after all), having a plan means you can adjust the rest of the week accordingly.
Do one thing
It’s easy to look at yourself and think that there are many things you want to change. I eat too many takeaways, drink too much soda and I don’t exercise enough – all of these contribute to me being overweight. Don’t fall into the trap of making an all or nothing lifestyle overhaul. It’s true that I do want to stop relying on takeaways, cut down on sodas and start exercising, but trying to do all three at once means that I’ll inevitably fail at one of them.
Instead, start slow. Pick one thing. Make a meal plan this week that includes a couple of takeaways, then next week include one takeaway, the week after give yourself a plan to make simple meals at home all week. Over time, you can build this up to increase your recipe repertoire or to cut back on sugar, or fat, or whatever. You don’t have to do everything at once.
Try something new
September is also a great time to try something new if you’re stuck in a rut. If your results have slowed down or the thought of counting points again fills you with dread, try something new. A change is as good as a rest (or in this case, better, because you don’t want to rest on your laurels and end up putting the weight you’ve lost back on), so do something you’ve never tried before.
Go vegan, try keto, go rock climbing, sign up for a new gym class – the possibilities are endless. And there’s no point festering in your rut now, is there?