The Secret to Keeping Your Resolutions this Year
As we roll into the new year, armed with positive visions for the future, some of us are still figuring out just where to begin this fresh new start.
While many of us are setting goals, I’ve heard even more complaints of post-holiday exhaustion, where simply reaching a point of recovery from all the stress and excess is resolution enough. In these shortened days of winter, it can be hard to rev ourselves up and charge forward when sometimes we just want to stay indoors and hibernate.
Coming from this state of disparity, it’s no surprise that most New Year’s resolutions fly out the window without any chance of ever making a difference. It seems that beginning from a place of depletion is seldom a set-up for long term success.
I’ve noticed over the years that when clients are in a state of low energy brought on by emotional or physical challenges, it’s hard to start and sustain the commitment they need to reach their goals.
Before setting any new resolution, it’s important to ask yourself, do you have the energy you need to maintain the motivation and focus to reach your goals?
Building and maintaining balanced energy is an important piece of the foundation for long term change. When you don’t start from a place of balance, it’s impossible to maintain the energy you need to start and sustain new behaviors.
While researching this topic, I came across a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Daniel Pink, author of soon-to-be-released title “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” coming out in early January.
The author explains the energy patterns which all of us experience throughout the day as a 3-part cycle including a peak, a trough and a rebound. These fluctuations occur in this order for most people, are more dramatic than previously understood, and apparently covertly impact nearly everything we do.
One key to success then, according to Daniel Pink, is to work with your energy patterns to achieve your goals. When it comes to energy, timing matters. As does balance.
Rhythm and Balance
I love the concept of timing your performance goals to your body’s natural rhythms, taking on your most challenging tasks at your peak, while fueling those intentions with the best energy balancing foods for keeping fluctuations to more moderate, sustainable levels throughout the day.
The Harvard School of Public Health recommends a balanced diet that includes a variety of unrefined whole foods, proteins, and fats, with an emphasis on vegetables, whole grains, and healthy oils.
Because different kinds of foods are converted to energy at different rates, sugary and processed foods will give you a quick lift, while others, such as whole grains supply the reserves you’ll need to draw on throughout the day.
To sustain balanced energy, limit the sugars, including the naturally occurring sugars found in juices and energy drinks to your occasional list. While you may get a quick boost, that feeling fades quickly and can leave you depleted and craving more sweets.
For most of us, morning marks our energy peak. Unfortunately, this meal often includes white, sugary grains and processed juices, which your body quickly burns though before hungering for more; beginning a day-long cycle of blood sugar imbalance.
Instead try fueling your morning with energy balancing breakfast foods: whole fruits, oatmeal, or eggs with whole grain toast and a slice of avocado for example. Skip the sugary latte and opt for sugar free coffee or better yet tea, with is loaded with l-theanine to build immunity.
Granted, this is not your typical motivational approach, usually we set our goals and design a plan to achieve them, then stay the course as long as we can manage or remember. However, if you’re barely able to summon the energy to get through a regular day, adding something extra can be overwhelming, regardless of how much you know you should.
Understanding how to work with your natural rhythms creates the clarity, focus and motivation to reach your goals. When you manage your energy to keep it in balance, it will last you all day long.