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Digging Deep: Beating the mid-January Slump

Mid-January: the holiday festivities are nothing but a memory, the decorations have long since lost their luster, our bank accounts remain spartan, the scale stubbornly refuses to reflect your dogged efforts at the gym as part of your New Year’s resolutions, and the New Year’s champagne hangover has been replaced by a lingering sense of having missed the boat somewhere along the way. Wasn’t 2023 supposed to be better than this? Wasn’t everything wrong in our lives going to make a firm about-face when that ball dropped in New York’s Times Square?

If you find yourself questioning your motivation, battling a certain sense of malaise, and toying with letting your healthy resolve…dissolve…you are in good company. Depending on the source, studies have shown that anywhere from 40-50% of people who set New Year’s resolutions will abandon their resolve by February. A pretty sobering number, but before you decide it’s better to join the masses, a few things to remember:

· It’s a bit counterintuitive that so many of us decide to make major lifestyle changes during one of the darkest, coldest months of the year. Even if you don’t technically suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), most people’s moods are negatively impacted by shorter days and colder mornings. Don’t most of us feel inherently more motivated an upbeat when the sun is shining, the evenings stretch long, and that sun is warm upon our faces? So cut yourself a little slack and walk before you run: if you’re struggling with your resolutions, break the steps up into even smaller, more bite-size pieces. If your goal was to hit the gym 5 mornings/week but you’ve barely made it once/week since January 1, dial it back a bit. Hit me up to be included in my daily WhatsApp Workout Snippets chat (5 minutes or less and done at home), hire a coach or go online for short workout progressions you can do from home, or find an accountability partner with whom you can go to the gym twice/week. And work up from there.

· It’s said that Thomas Edison made 1,000 failed attempts at inventing the light bulb. While there’s no way to objectively verify this number, the point remains that he didn’t invent the light bulb in a day. Nor was, as the famous saying goes, Rome built in a day. Good things take time, and hard work is a process, not an immediate point of success. So settle in for the long haul. You may reach a point where you have a “Eureka!” moment and realize you’ve arrived at your goal, but even in that moment, I promise you will find there is still work to be done. Did Usain Bolt quit pushing himself after he won his first gold medal? Do dedicated climbers reach the top of Mt. K2 and think “I’m good, Everest just looks boring”? Even if you aren’t scaling mountains, the individual is always a work in progress, so keep pushing and keep striving.

I know it’s easier to embark upon a movie marathon on that gray January day than to embark upon a long walk. And I know that snooze button is far more appealing than cold wind to the face at 6am, but by facing down our doubts, by opting for the hard route instead of the easy one, we are not only bettering ourselves, we are leading by example. So be one of the few this month who perseveres. Even if you don’t end the year looking like Chris Hemsworth in Thor, you WILL be better for having made those uncomfortable choices. A little delayed gratification pays off bigger dividends in the end, after all.

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