You’ve worked hard all year. You’ve kicked ass, and taken names. You feel good, and strong, and empowered…and then the holiday season comes around. I’m here to help you address self-sabotage during the holiday season, so you’re in great shape come New Year’s (both literally and figuratively speaking).
Don’t get me wrong: I want you to have fun. This idea of enjoying yourself and staying true to your ETP values may sound a bit foreign, but it’s entirely possible. In a three-part series I’m going to help you avoid self-sabotage, so that you maintain your progress and honor your health goals.
Let’s start with “analysis paralysis.” Have you ever stalled the line in a holiday buffet because you’re in a state of indecision about what to put on your plate? Ever tried to choose the right cardio program, only to hold off on making a commitment altogether? Ever tried to determine the best possible time to go to the gym, only to end up worrying the day away? That’s all analysis paralysis, my friend.
Analysis paralysis is indecision that slows, stalls, or halts our actions and progress. Whether it is because of too many options, fear, conflicting priorities, or insufficient information the result is fatigue and frustration. For example, maybe you’re overcomplicating your trendsheet, and the result is that you don’t log any data. Options sound like a good thing, but having too many could result in self-sabotage.
Here are a few steps to get you out of analysis paralysis:
1. Define your goals.
When you’re clear about your goals it’s going to be much easier to make a decision taking into account your top objectives. Decide what you want as specifically as possible. “Have a good holiday season” is likely too vague, because it leaves so much open to interpretation in the moment. But if you say your goal is to not eat more sugar than usual it’s going to be way easier to navigate what you put on your Christmas plate. Not sure what you want? Solicit some help and support from a trusted advisor or your ETP coach.
2. Monitor and change your thoughts.
Rather than simply analyzing ideas and options focus become mindful of your goals. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want (ie, to end up with a holiday hangover) it’s more important to focus on what you do want. Replace “Ugh, I can’t go to the gym today because of that office party” to “I’m going to use my lunch break to take a walk.” By monitoring and changing your thoughts the positive thoughts start to grow in presence and power, and crowd out the negative ones. More positive thoughts result in more positive feelings, and an enhanced conception of yourself.
3. Take Action.
Taking action allows you to move forward, which in turn leads to momentum. You could start simply by taking a walk every day, tracking your food in MFP, or reaching out to one of your coaches with questions. One step in a positive direction, however small, can provide continuous shifts, and reinforce the thoughts and goals you have already established.
4. Aim for consistency.
The process is never “done.” By repeating steps 1 through 3 you can continually redefine your goals, and refine your thoughts. Your actions will continue to more easily and effortlessly because you have set the foundation. Remember here, it’s all about progress rather than perfection. Perfectionism will halt you, while progress will move you forward.
5. Bring awareness to the process.
There’s the possibility that you could get stuck in one of these steps. Part of this process is noticing when you have stalled out, so you can clarify what it is most important to you, and move forward again in that direction. Remember, if you’re stalled out not making decisions the result is the same as if you’d made the decision not to move towards your goals.
Stay tuned for next week, when we’ll address another popular form of self sabotage: using food as a coping mechanism. I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with food, even during the holidays.
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