How to Start Again

We all have that friend. You know, the one who decides that one day she is going to go to medical school and then the next an actress. It’s not because she is constantly making new decisions. It’s because she can’t make up her mind to make even one.

As far as life plans go, I’m pretty stubborn with the decisions I’ve made. But put me in a restaurant and give me a menu, and I get overwhelmed with how many options there are. “What if I want something hot? What if I want something healthier? But wait, that has cheese…” Yes, insane right?

I hate being that friend who is the only one not ready to order when everyone else is, so if I know where I’m eating beforehand, I look up their menu on my phone on the way over (assuming I’m not driving) to buy some extra time. Or, I ask everyone else what they’re getting and just get the same. I got the opportunity to visit some friends in Paris, France, a few years ago and came away with one phrase in French: “La meme por moi?”

Sometimes we make decisions to eat certain things or do certain workouts to be healthier, but a month down the road, we are back to our old ways. Most the time, though, we just need to make a decision period. Too many times we tell ourselves that we will start tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, because we aren’t ready to do it perfectly yet. Really we just need to take action and start. Perfection not necessary.

So no matter how many times you’ve tried and given up, starting again just means taking action somehow. Stop planning and start doing, even if it’s something small. Sitting on the couch thinking about the exercise plan you want to start is still sitting on the couch. So here is my plan: each week, I will be focusing on one simple habit to adopt. Once that week is up, I’ll add another habit. Feel free to join me on this experiment so we can keep each other accountable. I know New Year’s is starting up soon, but why wait? Why not get a head start so that your resolutions are less overwhelming?

So here’s how to start again?

Make a game plan – You need to actually write out what your goals are. Don’t just let them float around in your head. They need to be specific and measureable. “Lose weight” allows too much flexibility in interpretation. “Lose 4 lbs of body fat in four weeks” is better. Be realistic though. Use this acronym:

S-specific

M-measureable

A-attainable

R-realistic

T-timely

Get accountability – You don’t need to tell the world. Just find that person who will encourage you when you’re discouraged, but won’t let you make excuses for yourself.

Set up your environment – Depending on what your goals are, your environment can either help you with your goals or hold you back. Make a motivation board. If you get stressed easily, a clean place can help relax you. If you’re trying to eat better, ditch the temptations in your pantry.

Just do it – Just start. Don’t wait until the perfect time, because last I checked, they don’t put that on clock faces. The perfect time is now. Don’t be afraid of failing. It’s how we learn best.

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