It's that time of year when most of us are trying to stick to our New Year's resolutions. Chances are that if you're a woman and you made a resolution, it had something to do with eating healthy or losing weight. According to an article on inc.com 71% of people who made a New Year's resolution focused on diet or eating healthy.
Only about 8% of people who vow to make a change in their habits for the New Year are actually successful, so how can you be one of those who meet your goal? There are many factors in meeting a goal including setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal, creating milestones, monitoring progress, developing new habits, finding someone or a group to encourage you and keep you accountable, and avoiding obstacles.
Today I'm going to focus on two of these factors - developing new habits and avoiding obstacles - and how organizing your refrigerator can help you accomplish your resolution to eat healthier!
One way to avoid obstacles is to remove temptation. When you give into temptation, you might say you have no willpower. Give yourself a little more credit - it's not that you have NO willpower, it's that willpower is a limited resource. An American Psychological Association article suggests that willpower is similar to a muscle that can get fatigued from overuse. We use willpower all day every day whether it's forcing ourselves not to daydream when we should be paying attention in a meeting, not blurting out what we are really thinking when it would be inappropriate, or choosing an apple over a chocolate chip cookie. All of these instances take energy, and the more we can remove temptation, the less work it is to make good choices throughout our days.
In your refrigerator, you can easily remove temptation by cleaning out the items that are unhealthy or not on your eating plan. Well....this is easy if you live alone and no one else has to eat out of your fridge! But even if you have a family not on the healthy eating train, you can still make this work (especially if you are the one who buys the groceries!) First, eliminate the items that no one needs. Examples could be sugary drinks, desserts, condiments high in sugar, etc. Then designate a few areas of the fridge that you are "allowed" to eat from. Guard these areas and only allow foods that you should eat to go in them. In my fridge, I eat mostly out of the crisper drawers and the bottom shelf. This concept applies to your pantry as well.
The second way to avoid obstacles is to make it more convenient to make good choices. Rearrange your fridge so good foods are easy to access. Consider a small lazy susan to help you get to items in the back of the shelves more easily. Remove packaging and prewash and cut fruits and veggies. Having clean, cut strawberries makes it much easier to choose them over a packaged treat when you don't have to spend extra time cleaning and cutting them when you are hungry!
Group foods that you use to together. For example if you make smoothies for breakfast like I do, put all of your refrigerated ingredients together. Use bins to make it even easier on yourself so you can simply pull out one bin, put it on the counter, and have everything you need for your breakfast. I prefer clear bins so you can stack items, but still see what is in the bottom. If you make a lot of salads, you could use one crisper drawer for all of your cleaned, cut up veggies and proteins.
Developing New Habits
Another critical component to achieving a goal is developing new habits. Don't think of a habit as something big like "eating healthy," but rather the tiny things you do that lead to milestones along your journey toward your goal. When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, little habits related to your refrigerator can be very helpful.
Some of these habits do double duty and also help you avoid obstacles - win, win!
"Using all that you buy keeps your grocery bill down and removes the obstacle of 'healthy eating is too expensive'."
If you can get into these refrigerator related habits, you will have a better chance of being successful with your healthy eating plan!
If you would like to increase your chances of meeting your goals by joining other women for encouragement and accountability, consider joining the Achieve! program. Registrations for the February/March 2020 session are still open!
Economy, Peter. “10 Top New Year's Resolutions for Success and Happiness in 2019.” Inc.com, Inc., 1 Jan. 2019, www.inc.com/peter-economy/10-top-new-years-resolutions-for-success-happiness-in-2019.html
Weir, Kirsten. “What You Need to Know about Willpower: The Psychological Science of Self-Control.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, 2012, www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.
Goals and Grace
It's the first full week of the new year, and I'm on-fire motivated to meet my goals. I'm so darn excited about what I want to achieve this year that I want it all to happen right now! I was reminded yesterday that just because I haven't seen immediate progress on my first goal of the year, doesn't mean I'm a failure or that I'm not going to achieve it. Thank goodness for good friends who can see things from the outside looking in and remind me of that! This got me thinking about what strategies I could employ this year to not only be successful at achieving my goals, but also to give myself grace along the way. Here's what I've come up with:
Give Yourself Time
The T in a SMART goal stands for time bound, and I need to remember that even though I may be able to complete each of my individual goals in 6 weeks, I can't do them all in the SAME 6 weeks. I want to keep that fire in my belly, so I need to be careful not to let it burn to quickly and extinguish that flame.
Recognize All Achievements
Even small victories are worth celebrating. Though I may not have gotten 100 people to attend my webinar on the first day it was launched, I did have one person who watched! That's something to be proud of, learn from, and build upon.
Keeping a "done" list is a great way to remind yourself of how far you've come and how much you've accomplished. A done list is the to-do list's counterpart. You can still keep your traditional to-do list, but start a list of everything you've completed. This will give you a sense of accomplishment, and it tends to create momentum.
Not meeting your goal the first day you begin working on it gives you time to learn more about what you are trying to achieve. There are so many resources available about every topic imaginable. While you work toward your goal, why not gain insight from someone who has done something similar? You don't have to follow their blueprint exactly, but you can almost always pick out a little nugget of wisdom that will help you improve.
Sometimes when you get head-down into a goal, you become so focused on a certain outcome that you don' take time for your other responsibilities or relationships. Laser-focus is a great thing, but not at the expense of what matters most to us. Walking away from your goal even for an hour or two and spending that time doing something productive or interacting with your family or friends will provide you a better perspective and a refreshed sense of purpose when you get back to it.
Another option is to set certain time frames that you dedicate to your goal so that during other parts of the day or week you don't feel like you're losing precious time. This can also set expectations with your family and friend so they aren't upset when you are busy working toward your goal.
This is the best (and easiest) tip by far — get a mentor, a sounding board, or better yet join a group of them! Achieving your goals increases by 95% when you check in regularly with someone about your goal. This person or group can keep you accountable no only for working toward your goal, but for being realistic with your own expectations. If you're looking for a group like this to encourage you and keep you accountable, check out the Achieve! program that launches in February.
Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash
Wissman, Barrett. “An Accountability Partner Makes You Vastly More Likely to Succeed.” Entrepreneur, 20 Mar. 2018, www.entrepreneur.com/article/310062.