It’s easy to know which month we are in.  Everywhere you look, ads bombard us with quick ways to become healthier or skinnier in 2020.  Gyms capitalize on New Year Resolutions and offer drastic discounts.  Magazine articles shout “Make this your best year yet!”

The January pressure to improve is real. AND, the time to pause and reflect CAN be fruitful. If weight loss is what you seek, a “clean slate” start might be just the right motivator.  However, January 2020 most likely doesn’t look much different than December 2019.  It is important to contemplate what you will do different to support your goals. It is also valuable to embrace small changes that lead to long-term results.

While the world may be saying, GO, it’s the New Year, you might be feeling  paralyzed by the push to start NOW. Enter, procrastination. We all procrastinate and not all procrastination is bad. For example, you might procrastinate to give yourself more time to make a decision. Such as a deciding between a yoga membership or meal delivery service. Which support system will best serve you? Unhealthy procrastination is an excuse not to do something. For instance, you wait on joining a gym until your friend joins. This kind of procrastination sets you up to do nothing and thus do nothing.

To challenge negative procrastination and thoughts, we must:

1) Be aware of self-talk

2) Challenge self-talk

Ideas to replace negative chatter:

  • “I can do it tomorrow.” Replace: “What can I do now to help me tackle this easier tomorrow?” Real world example: You need to go to the grocery store on Friday to get meals ready for the upcoming week. It is cold outside and you lack motivation. Instead, you take the time to make a detailed meal plan and grocery list to make Saturday shopping a cinch.
  • “I don’t have the time right now.” Replace: “What can I do in a shorter amount of time to get similar results?” Real world example: You don’t have time for your hour workout at the gym. Instead of completely forgoing it, you decide to go for 30 minutes. You leave feeling empowered and happy you went.
  • “I don’t feel like doing that today.” Replace: “I’ll just do 5 minutes of work on this and slowly I will make progress.” Real world example: You slide on making tomorrow’s lunch sandwich the night before. Instead of making a sandwich, you prepare by grabbing string cheese and an apple. You at least have healthy snacks prepared.

As the world shouts “now” and “fast;” our dietitians at McDaniel Nutrition know successful weight loss takes time.  If you find yourself dragging your feet to make changes, try the following techniques:

1. Start the day right.

Do you have a morning routine that supports your physical and mental health? OR does your morning routine include checking your email before you step out of bed? Do you run on coffee until lunch? Does the morning news start you off feeling doom and gloom?  Carving out a few minutes to start your day with more intention. This might look like a 10-minute meditation before you check email or 5 minutes of stretching.

2. Create momentum.

What are the little things you can do to move forward? If you know you want to work out in the morning, you might text a friend to see if he/she will join. If you want to make better snack choices at work, you might boil eggs on the weekend. Momentum reinforces progress and halts procrastination.

Momentum reinforces progress and halts procrastination.

3. Practice progress, not perfection.

Finding a healthier weight doesn’t mean you have to eat foods you don’t like. Is your definition of healthy eating too strict? A healthy diet should includes “fun foods,” and there is NO such thing as perfect eating. When we set our expectations too high, we set ourselves up for failure. Embrace bettering your diet and make sure you take note of improvements. We are quick to see what we are doing wrong, failing to note how much we are doing well.

Our team of dietitians wants to support you. You are not alone in your weight loss journey, and we can help. Sign up today for one of our weight loss packages. You deserve to be even better to yourself in 2020. But take your time, there is no January rush.

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.