Avoiding Life’s Pitfalls

By Mindie Barnett

Wellness coach, author, and speaker Mindie Barnett answers your questions about life, navigating these stressful and uncertain times, and steering you down a more straight forward path. We welcome your questions and invite you to contact Mindie at:  mindiesmusings1@gmail.com

Mindie is available for in-person and virtual wellness therapy sessions via her Executive Health by Mindie Barnett wellness coaching practice. Her expertise is in interpersonal relationships, overcoming depression, coping with anxiety and avoiding and overcoming burnout among many other wellness areas. Life coaching and career coaching are also areas she excels in. For more information or to schedule a session
visit mbexecutivehealth.com

Dear Mindie,

Dear Mindie, I am really starting my New Year off on the wrong foot. I have had nothing but setbacks and have had a rough time accomplishing the resolutions I set for myself. Some of the things I was hoping to change this year include increasing the amount of sleep I get each night, eating healthier meals and exercising at least five times a day for thirty minutes. So far, I’ve stayed up late most nights due to a variety of stress-related family issues, have not made it to my gym more than once a week and have been eating an abundance of sweets, due to my stress and because I feel down about myself. I’m starting to feel like I am in a downward spiral. It’s only February! Please help! Sincerely, Down with Luck

At A Loss

Dear Down with Luck, 

I have never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. For most of us, they only set us up to fail. It’s very understandable that you’d want to start the New Year off on the “right foot” by eating healthier, working out more and getting better rest. They are all commendable goals! They are also healthy edits for anyone’s life. That said, since we don’t know, what life is going to throw at us at any given moment (and it sounds like you were hit with some stressful family stuff) we never know what we will realistically be able to accomplish.

My advice would be to scale back your targeted behaviors so that you are able to reach a desired goal, and feel a sense of accomplishment, pride, and confidence. Then, after you’ve met that finish line a few times, increase your targeted behavior. For example, you shared that you wanted to go to the gym five times a week and workout for thirty minutes but say you have only made it there once a week. This left you with four days of not meeting your goal. Instead, set your goal to work out two times a week for thirty minutes and maintain that pace for a few weeks. If you can make it to the gym once a week, as you have been, adding a second day will not be as daunting as fast-forwarding to five days.  

Eventually, in time, you will reach your initial target of working out five days a week. Setting small goals rather than one big one is always a recipe for success.

In connection with your healthy eating or lack thereof, you are finding some comfort in sweets and using food to help you cope with your reported family stressors. That’s a common tactic many take but not the healthiest solution for numerous reasons. Instead of food, try and find solace in talking to a friend, taking a walk, or sitting quietly and focusing on your breath. Likely you are not even hungry, but the stress you’re feeling is triggering you to hit the pantry or freezer for a “pick me up.” Instead, train your brain and body to find comfort in other avenues, like the mindfulness practices I shared. This will take some time and perseverance, but you soon will lean into these practices instead of chasing the sweets when you feel out of control or anxious. Another benefit of this practice is that not only will your cravings for sweets when stressed subside, but your mind will also be better rested and body relaxed, which will yield to a better night’s sleep. Take it one day at a time, be kind to yourself and remember small steps lead to giant leaps. Sending you love and light!

I wish you and your family love and peace for the New Year!

Mindie xo