People get excited about new things. Every company out there plasters their products with “NEW!”: new package; new flavor; new formula. As consumers, we eat it up (literally!). We want what’s new.
This occurs in every aspect of our lives. We leave the house happy to go to our new job for the first few weeks. We wear our new jeans every day for a week. Someone gives us a new lotion or new cologne, and we shelf our old ones to wear the new one. That guy or girl we met makes our hearts thud and we can’t wait to see him or her again.
It doesn’t last though, does it? Pretty soon work is just work, and our jeans get stretched out a little and don’t fit as well as they did. The new cologne gets too familiar, so we reach for our favorites. Somewhere along the way, we learn that guy or girl we just met is a lot like other guys and girls we’ve known.
The same is true of making the decision to lose weight. At first, we’re excited. It’s new, it’s promising. It gives us hope and purpose. We work out and feel fabulous. We eat healthy and have more energy. The scale drops a couple of pounds and we’re ecstatic.
Eventually, the workout gets boring, or we miss our pizza weekends. The scale stalls or the tape measure doesn’t move, and we feel short-changed. The novelty wears off.
In the past, this is where I quit. Exercising made me tired, and there were other things I’d rather do. Someone would give me a pack of cookies, and I’d make excuses for eating one or two until I’d eaten ten. I’d get bored and defeated and allow myself to quit.
This time, though; I’ve discovered a couple of secrets to dealing with the novelty wearing off. Following the model I’ve set for myself in the past, I should’ve quit three months ago. What’s different this time?
Change up the routine. Doing the same old workout day in and day out gets boring. I can only ride an exercise bike so many times during a week before I get sick of the thing. It doesn’t have to be a major change, just something to help you get excited again. Just this week I upped the weights I was using for my strength training, and all of a sudden I was excited to do it again!
Challenge yourself. This goes hand in hand with changing your routine. Part of the novelty factor is having a purpose. When the scale stalls or we don’t see the results we’re hoping for, we feel like our purpose is shaken. Find new purposes! What exercise challenges you the most? How far can you push yourself? For me, I hate planks. The first time I did one, I held it for a stellar three seconds. I started setting challenges: I’m going to hold it for 10 seconds. Then: I can do 15! Now I’m working towards one minute.
Do something fun. Darrell’s been the real key for me here. He started looking for things we could do with our budding athleticism that we wouldn’t have done before. We’ve hiked through the woods, played tennis, and took our family for a mile walk one Saturday morning. It shakes up what we’re used to, and it’s something brand new. It’s also a testament to how far we’ve come!
Splurge responsibly. We’re going to have cravings. We’re going to have holidays and parties and meals out—these things are unavoidable. The key is not let them swamp us! Plan your splurge meals or snacks (one roughly every week works for us), and wait for them. Have a holiday party coming up? Plan to splurge that evening—don’t go intending to stuff your face to get it all out of the way, but allow yourself to eat the things you want to eat without feeling guilty.
What Darrell and I have discovered is that often these splurges remind us of why we don’t eat this way—when you get over your Whopper addiction, they feel like lead bricks in your stomach when you do eat one!
Decide to make this your lifestyle. We hear “lifestyle change” all the time, and it’s a choice we have to make. Further, it’s something we have to wrap our heads around and accept: This is how I’m going to live the rest of my life, and it’s going to be a good life. Until we make that decision, we’re going to walk away every time the excitement wears off.
Find something to get excited about—this is a NEW life, and the novelty of that won’t soon wear off!