Read: 8 mins
“New Year’s Day … now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” ~ Mark Twain ~
New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies, fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain (No pun indented). January is a good time to re-evaluate, re-prioritize and re-set new ambitious goals for the New Year. It’s giving ourselves permission to start over, and to recommit to the habits and ways of being that improve our lives, seems healthy, wise, and self-honoring. But like so many others within our culture, this tradition has morphed into the shallow-sighted influence of consumer culture, this potentially powerful time of growth and restoration has devolved into yet another excuse to beat ourselves up, to doubt our capabilities, and to question our self-worth.
Did you know approximately 8% of New Year’s resolutions succeed? While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later, according to University of Pennsylvania research.
If you aren’t midst the 8%, then daaarlings, welcome to the club? It’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you sweep off the holiday confetti. Even with our best intentions, a couple of weeks into 2017 and our New Year’s resolutions are already on the fritz or many of us don’t even bother to set goals or intentions because we’ve failed so thoroughly at following through in the past.
I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ~ Anais Nin ~
Why is it that we have no more moral stamina than a noodle when it comes to keeping our resolutions? Often our desire for change is rooted in more self-loathing and perceived inadequacy than self-love. It isn’t that we are overtly hateful in our resolution creating and intention setting, but that our underlying motivation, expectations of ourselves, and strategies for creating change are based on creating a right path to achieve the desired change.
Let’s say that I want to lose twenty pounds by June because I’m going on vacation this summer and want to be “beach ready.” My motivation, in this case, is a desire to look a certain way, presumably so that I might feel more confident (desirable, sexy, less disgusting or less ashamed) in my swimsuit. The trick to succeeding is to make the right choices and have lots of patience.“Expecting results like yesterday, and sets a desperation mode like today, which is a recipe for failure before it even kicks off!”. No matter the nature of our resolution – funny or serious, it’s a promise to you. Identifying and avoiding culprits such as setting vague goals like the below is the key
- Running while juggling knives (Good Luck to you!)
- Skateboarding down a hill when my board has no wheels (Really!)
- Saving water by not bathing (Good for you, just don’t come near me!)
- Consider apple martinis part of my “daily fruit intake”(Ha! This I may comply!)
- So on and so forth…
As the immortal Shakespeare once said, “To thine own self be true.”
New Year’s resolutions are behavior changes; they are based on many factors. If one of your resolutions is about Health and fitness, here are some quirks to assist you in setting avenues for a healthy 2017
1. Self Appraisal – “Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.” ~ August Wilson ~
Most of us get carried away into New Years with lofty ambitions and resolutions without properly evaluating, reflecting, or learning from the previous year’s experiences. I believe that when we reflect on certain aspects honestly, we can rekindle passion, and a renew sense of direction. I encourage you to grab a pen and make sure you’re both physically and mentally ready to start your healthy resolution. For your physical evaluation, follow the link. Once you have been physically cleared to proceed, consider your mental readiness. How likely are you to stick with an exercise program once you begin? While there are many factors to consider, three are most significant. You are more likely to succeed if you:
- Participate in an enjoyable form of exercise.
- Receive encouragement and support from those closest to you.
- Have confidence in your exercise ability.
2. Strive for progress, not perfection – Believe that Sweat is Fat Crying
It’s easy to say that I’ll exercise every day, time permitting that is. Design your fitness plan with following purpose in mind
- Consider your fitness goals – Lose Weight? Marathon Preparation? Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress and stay motivated.
- Create a balanced routine – Combine 30 minutes of cardio workouts with some different activities (cross-training: such as biking or water exercise, also reduces your chances of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint) can keep exercise boredom at bay.
- Build activity into your daily routine. Most of us slack off due to lack of time in our daily schedule and finding time can be a challenge. Plan to watch your favorite show while walking on the treadmill, read while riding a stationary bike, or take a break to go on a walk at work.
- Allow time for recovery. Many people start exercising with frenzied zeal — working out too long or too intensely — and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Plan time between sessions for your body to rest and recover.
- Start low and progress slowly. If you’re just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly. If you have an injury or a medical condition, consult your doctor or an exercise therapist for help designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength and endurance.
- Put it on paper. A written plan may encourage you to stay on track or download a tracking app, since there’s an app for everything these days.
3. Your body doesn’t have the ability to turn garbage into a high quality product. All of your cells, muscles, skin, bones, etc. are built by the food that you supply. So choose wisely.
Every day, thousands make the decision to start eating better to lose weight or detox…and every day those thousands of people fail because don’t really have any plan or idea what they’re doing. Healthy eating is not about dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and stabilizing your mood.
- Simple Daily replacements: Start by making simple changes in your diet. Improving your health could be as easy as switching from
- White to whole wheat bread
- Substitute Coconut/Avocado/Olive oil for vegetable oil
- Ordering your favorite coffee drink with skim/coconut/almond milk instead of whole
- Pan-fry food instead of deep-frying
- Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream
- Choose brown rice over white
- Eat at least three times a day instead of skipping meals
- Spread avocado/almond/peanut on bread instead of butter
- Eat hard-boiled eggs instead of fried eggs.
- Order red wine or beer instead of a margarita
- Moderation is key: What is moderation? In essence, it means eating only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal, but not stuffed. We all need a balance of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body. Moderation also means eating less than we do now.
- Think smaller portions. Serving sizes have ballooned recently. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entree, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything. If you don’t feel satisfied at the end of a meal, add more leafy vegetables or round off the meal with fruit. Try to stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.
- Cut back on sugar: Aside from portion size, perhaps the single biggest problem is added sugar in our food. Too much sugar causes energy spikes and has been linked to diabetes, depression, and even an increase in suicidal behaviors in young people. Reducing the amount of candy and desserts you eat is only part of the solution as sugar is also hidden in foods such as bread, cereals, canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, low-fat meals, fast food, and ketchup. For those with sweet tooth, perhaps substitute your sugar with honey, Coconut Sugar or Pure Organic Maple Syrup.
4. Find a partner in Crime
Feel like old friends (or family) have fallen by the wayside? It’s good for your health to reconnect with them. Working out with a friend allows for a little friendly competition and increased accountability. It’s always a little easier when you know someone is rooting for you and is ready to push you harder. In a technology-fixated era, it’s never been easier to stay in touch and track each others’ fitness scores, so fire up Facebook Groups and follow up your friends.
5. Too much work – “If you spend too much time working on your weaknesses, all you end up with is lot of strong weaknesses” ~ Dan Sullivan ~
Sure, it takes self-discipline to follow through with our goals and intentions. Should you realize all of the above is too much of maintenance, then perhaps, an alternative for you would be to join some preset challenges such as –
- Whole Life Challenge: The Habits work together to create an effect in your life that’s hard to overstate — after a few weeks, you’ll feel rested, energetic, present, strong, healthy (and perhaps even happier).
- Whole 30: Helping people change their relationship with food and create life-long, healthy habits.
- Paleo 30 Day Challenge: Free 30-Day Fitness Challenge is designed to help everybody look better, feel better, naturally have more energy, reduce disease and probably even lose some weight!
- Self: Think of this Challenge as your road map to a healthier, fitter, happier you in 2017.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today, I am wise, so I am changing myself” ~ Rumi ~
What is keeping you from being your best self and living your best life? Is it an unhealthy relationship, a terrible job that drains you of your energy, or a deep-seated fear?
Let. It. Go! Remove unnecessary obligations that keep you from reaching your physical, mental, and personal goals. This is YOUR time! Replace these things with activities that help you reach your goals, a job that fosters your creativity and empowers you, and relationships with people who build you up!