Nothing ignites our wellness expectations like a change of season.
New Year’s Day. I am starting a new diet!
First day of school. Time to focus on me! Gym, here I come!
The snow has melted. Time to start running!
End of sports season. Yes, it’s finally less crazy, I can cook healthy meals again!
It’s certainly true that some seasons mean restrictions on our time (or wallet). Those can be eased when the season is over, which allows us to fall into more favorable routines. Isn’t that a relief? This leads us to set expectations for the weeks to come. All good. However, sometimes these expectations fall into the unrealistic range. Not good.
I remember when I was about 8 I got a new bed. My dad assembled it in my room and, in the process, all that “stuff” that was under my old bed was miraculously cleaned up. (I don’t remember actually doing this myself. I’m fairly certain that my mother and a big trash bag had a part in it.) But I was so happy with how neat everything looked that I vowed to keep my bedroom looking this neat and organized for like FOREVER. I’m sure you can imagine how that turned out.
A clean calendar at the beginning of a new season can excite us into making big plans when it comes to fitness and/or diet. However, many times the well meaning plans go the way of my 8 year old self’s always clean bedroom when familiar patterns or habits take over. Sound familiar? Keep in mind that these habits or patterns aren’t inherently BAD, they are just familiar and easy, sometimes mindless.
At the beginning of the last few summer vacations, I have made chore charts, summer reading and math work schedules, and a summer bucket list of fun things to do. I have explained to my boys that they will wake up in the morning, read, study math and do chores before any screen time takes place.
Well, exactly how many days go by before that plan gets thrown off? Um…not many. Which leads me to feel like a failure at summer mom-ing.
Okay, but back up a bit, Self.
Are my kids still reading, doing chores and math work? Yes. Are they doing it all exactly as I planned? Not so much. Failure? Definitely not. But I realize that maybe I need to chill on the rigid planning.
Same goes for your healthy habits. Just as I need to consider my ACTUAL kids and their personalities before deciding on our summer plans, you need to consider your ACTUAL lifestyle and willingness to change your routines or habits.
Some Dos and Don’ts to consider when you’re setting your summer (or any season) expectations.
Do know what do you want to accomplish? Be specific.
Do know why do you want to accomplish this goal? This is super important.
Do stay focused on your DESIRED OUTCOME and your WHY.
Don’t get bogged down by the “HOW”. Why? Because there are lots of hows.
Don’t get so caught up in the ideal that you set unrealistic expectations.
Don’t beat yourself up when the first attempt fizzles. Regroup and try something different.