Have you set New Year’s Resolutions for your health this year? Is it similar to your past resolutions? Were you successful with those resolutions? If they were anything like “I am going to go to gym 6 times a week all year AND finish a half marathon AND not drink soda all year AND not give into social pressure to go out every weekend for drinks AND lose 30lb.” I could go on. Those all sound good in theory, but lets look at this realistically. You have a full time job, three kids at home under the age of 10, taking classes to go back to school, haven’t worked out in 6 months, hate the gym, drink 3 sodas a day. Again, I could go on. As you see, making all those changes at once will be overwhelming and you are setting yourself up for failure. This is why New Year’s resolutions rarely work and why people give up half way through February, or even January!
I have never set a New Year’s resolution, but the start of the new year is a good time to sit down and evaluate your life and what HABITS you need to add or get rid of to find more balance. Let’s go back to the above example and change those resolutions into realistic, measurable goals with a deadline, so you can finally make the lifestyle change you want.
1)Go the gym 6 times a week, but you hate the gym and soon find 6 times a week is just too much so you give up. Instead you should find time at home to workout when you can. You can get a great 20 minute full body workout with no weights in your living room! Or buy a couple sets of dumbbells and a dumbbell complex will be your best friend in busy times. If you have a home gym there are no time excuses in my opinion. Set a goal of 2 workouts a week by February. If that is working and you have extra time then try three workouts by say, April. You will be surprised if you track your workouts how much more accountable you will be.
2)Finish a half marathon. Wait. You haven’t worked out in 6 months let alone run a mile in like 2 years. A half marathon is 13.1 miles and takes upwards of 10-15 hours a week of training. Probably won’t work with your life schedule. Instead look up local 5 ks and sign up for one in August. 5k training is 1-2 hours a week. If you have a run on your calendar you will train for it. Don’t be wishy washy, sign up and go for it! Even better, find a running buddy! Have a goal time, so you have something to push for.
3)Not drink soda all year. Going cold turkey on anything is very difficult and I don’t recommend it. How many times have you “given up soda” for a month only to be stressed with work or finals or whatever and then find yourself stopping at McDonalds for that Diet Coke on a daily? Exactly. If you drink 3 sodas a day start the new year by cutting that to 2 sodas a day. When you are ready to go down to 1 try it! Maybe by May?? Allow yourself a soda everyone once and awhile as long as it doesn’t reverse your habit change. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day and a few Mountain Dews. How do you respond the next day though? That will determine how successful you will be.
4) Not go out for drinks on the weekends. This is the same idea as the soda habit. If you have friends that always go out and you feel obligated you have few options. Go out (hey I do remember) as much as you normally do and drink in moderation, plan to fail, and still have fun. If you go out every week maybe start going out only 3 weekends a month. Not go out at all and tell your friends about the lifestyle change you are starting and my hope would be that they would respect you for that and support you. Now, I think you need to find a balance of those three. Find what works for you. By June you will be only going out twice a month and only having 3 drinks instead of 8. That is how you set a deadline. This one also goes for those of you who like your wine at home.
5) Lose 30lb. OK this is at least a specific goal! I can’t tell you how many times new clients come in with no specific goals! I can’t set goals for you, it is your body, your life, your choices that decide how successful you will be. I will guide to those goals though. We need a deadline on this weight loss goal though. Is down 30lb by March realistic? Probably not. Losing 0.5-1.5lbs a week is healthy and trust me, losing weight slowly will help you SO much in keeping that weight off. All my clients who are patient see the most success and in the end are the least stressed and most happy. Everyone wants a quick fix. There is not quick fix for maintaining weight loss. So down 30lb by late summer is realistic and achievable if EVERYTHING is done correctly. Even down 30lb for the entire year is great! Measuring weight loss is also crucial. Weigh in once a week, take measurements, take bodyfat measurements so you know how you are doing. How else can you improve??? Drop your ego and remember you are improving a little each week, not mastering weight loss in January.
Let’s wrap up real quick. Make sure you are setting realistic goals that are measurable and have a deadline. When goals have these three things you will stay accountable to yourself and before you know it your lifestyle will be better as a result. As long as YOU (not me) truly want to achieve those goals. Do this instead of overwhelming resolutions.
Best of luck…no you don’t need luck. Achieve your goals this year by slowly changing habits and DOING. Not hoping for a magical change.
Have a safe New Year’s!