A few weeks ago, I wrote about getting a jump start on your New Year’s Resolution. I asked you to share what your goals are for the upcoming year and hoped to start a dialogue around how to reach those goals. Whether or not you read the entry, you may have been thinking about making a resolution for your health anyway. Maybe you want to resolve to eat better…or to exercise more…or both. Regardless, a resolution is a promise…a promise to yourself to make a change in your life.
The tradition of making resolutions is something we look forward to because we believe it is a fresh start. The New Year gives us a clean slate, allowing us to leave bad habits behind, while looking forward to a brighter, more positive future. We feel confident that just as a whole calendar year can change in a 10 second countdown, we too can change our attitudes, conquer our demons, and gain tons of willpower all in the blink of an eye.
Expecting too much of ourselves too quickly, however, can be self-defeating. If we don’t see the results we are looking for fast enough, we may end up frustrated, undermining even the best of intentions to stick to our promise. As a result, finding ways to hold yourself to your resolution is even more important than the resolution itself. Setting interim milestones and taking small steps one day at a time is a much more promising and realistic way of attaining your goals. You owe it to yourself to keep your promise and if you do, you’ll find that it proves to be very rewarding.
Great. Now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s get to the meat of the topic: How do we ensure success in our healthy resolutions? Here is Day 1 of your New Year’s Resolution Roadmap to a better, healthier, more balanced you in 2009:
Day 1: Get in the Right Mindset
- Stop thinking about diets. The word diet is negative and implies deprivation, starvation, hunger…lots of bad things in general. Instead, focus on ‘a way of life’ or even better, a lifestyle.
- Focus on the Choice of a New Lifestyle: This is your choice. This is something you want to do. Thinking you are, instead of you have to is a mindset that will start you believing that you really want to be healthy…not something you are being forced to do.
- Be Qualitative, Not Quantitative: Eating healthier is going to create a lot of positive change in your life, and although weight loss might be part of the outcome, it shouldn’t be your focus. As a result, stop focusing on weight or numbers, instead, think about the qualitative change to come. “I’m going to feel great”…”I’m going to look great”…”I’m going to be healthier”…etc.
- See yourself as you want to look. If you can visualize yourself in better cardiovascular shape, having more muscle tone and having a leaner physique, you can look that way. Yes, it will take some physical effort as well, but the more you can actively see your goal, the more you will be able to make it a reality.
- List out your favorite activities: If you don’t enjoy exercise, your motivation will diminish. As a result, think about the kinds of activities you enjoy. Do you enjoy outdoor sports, indoor fitness classes, dance, marshal arts, etc? List them out and think about how to incorporate them into your life.
- Budget: It is important to be realistic in budgeting for your exercise. Decide how much you are willing to spend on exercise every month, and put that amount into your monthly budget. This amount may or may not cause you to rule out certain activities or gyms, but it is important to understand those limitations.
- Research: Where can you do the activities you want to do for how much you want to spend? Once you answer that question, you will be on the road to starting a successful fitness program.
Basically, Day 1 is meant to be about getting motivated and into the right mindset. You want to keep it very simple and not get too carried away! Enjoy your decision to be healthier!
- Get a Jump Start on your New Year’s Resolution
- Do You Budget for Exercise?
- Diet or Lifestyle? Why to Choose the Latter
- Why you Shouldn’t Weight Yourself