First, let me start with obligatory Happy New Year everyone. I hope you enjoyed your holidays and were able to relax and recharge your batteries. I also hope you were successful in any endeavor to stay fit and healthy over the calorie-laden holiday season. If not, that is OK. And I will tell you why.
Here’s a little fun fact: I have been indulging myself over the past week or so. I haven’t stopped working out or eating my usual foods. But I have loosened things a bit. I ate cookies, cakes, candies without limiting myself; I drank wine, beer, spirits to satisfaction; and I don’t regret a single moment of it. Now, onto the point I want to make today.
Now is the time of the year people make “New Year’s Resolutions”. Maybe you’ve heard about this? More often than not, there is a least one of these resolutions made regarding getting healthy, or fit, or eating better, or all of the above. And we all set out with the best of intentions and a fire in our bellies. This is when our motivation is running on full blast and we are dead-set on following through. But something we all tend to do when making these resolutions is we set the bar too high. Let’s use an example:
You want to workout everyday of the week, Monday through Friday, and you want to cut out all junk food. No more late-night slices of pizza or pints of ice cream on a Friday evening. You want to get healthy and fit and you’ll pull out all the stops to get there.
And that is where most of us will fail, before we even start. First off, that is a lot of change happening in a short amount of time; talk about going from 0 to 60. By being so strict and restrictive, we inevitably stack the deck against ourselves. Nobody can perfect all the time. Even more so, nobody can be perfect all the time, especially when they haven’t even been “good” for any time. What I mean to say is, you cannot expect yourself to go from working out sporadically to going to the gym 5 days per week. Also, you can’t expect yourself to go from eating sugary cereals, burgers, pizza, and takeout to eating egg whites, salads, rice, and boiled chicken breasts everyday. I’ve been guilty of this in the past; setting my sights too high. This has lead to burnout and me falling flat on my face on more than one occasion. So I want to share with you what NOT to do when going after some of your resolutions and what you should do instead.
1) Do NOT go to the gym everyday: you’ve signed up at the local gym and you want to get in shape. Awesome, that is a great start. But do NOT go to the gym everyday. This has been a mistake I’ve made in the past. I put too much pressure on myself to get to the gym and workout every day. And workout hard every day. It is a lot to ask of yourself even if you already go to the gym regularly. Instead, do the following:
Focus on being physically active everyday. Physical activity is different from exercise and you don’t need to be in a gym. Going for a brisk walk 20-30 minute daily is perfect. While you’re watching TV, during commercials, do a few sets of bodyweight squats and lunges; knock out a few push-ups or hold a plank. You don’t have to go to the gym everyday or workout. Just by being active, you’ll start to build momentum and consistency.
Try to get to the gym 2-3 days per week. You can absolutely go more but your bare minimum should be 2 days per week. You don’t have to go consecutively and you don’t have stay long. Just by starting to get used to getting to, and being in the gym. You’ll start to build it into your weekly routine. When I started back to the gym after a long hiatus, I only had the motivation to get there 2 days per week, Monday and Wednesday. I didn’t pressure myself into going anymore than that. Eventually, I felt motivated enough to get in there on Friday. And then on Tuesday, and then Thursday. But I never felt like I was dragging myself to the gym. Again, build momentum and consistency without putting any pressure on yourself. That will ensure your resolution becomes part of your life.
2) Do NOT eat 100% “perfect”: yeah, this one is pretty self-explanatory. It is very difficult to go from one extreme to the other. And it is still difficult to go being somewhere in the middle to an extreme. So, when it comes to cleaning up our nutrition, we should look at it the same way. While trying to clean up your daily nutrition is an awesome resolution, eating nothing but veggies, boiled chicken, and nuts is not going to last long. Trust me. Instead, try this:
Make small changes. Instead of going home and throwing out every last scrap of junk food in your cabinets. Instead, focus on making small changes to your current daily nutrition. For the first week, focus on drinking more water and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. The next week, start to cut out processed foods; any pre-package, preserved foods. Then, focus on making making better choices when you’re eating out. Instead of ordering a burger or pizza, look at the salads or wraps (yes, I did say to look at the salad options). Again, focusing on small changes allows things to become second nature and build momentum. All of these little things will add up to big changes overtime.
These are just a couple of items that are typically on New Year’s Resolution lists. The main point I wanted to make is this: You need to walk before you run or else you might end falling flat on your face. Some people are able to go from 0 to 100 and stick to it but most of us, myself included, just cannot sustain that drastic of a transition. But, by focusing on small, very attainable steps in the right direction, your resolution just won’t fall to the wayside. You greatly increase your chance of success by making your steps smaller and more attainable. Be consistent and stay motivated. The easiest thing for us to do in this world is give up. Don’t ever give up. Sure, take some time off, take a step back, slow some things down; but don’t ever give up.
If you have some New Year’s Resolutions, don’t be shy, let me know. And if you want help, guidance, or information on anything that can help you achieve your goals, I would love to help. Send me and email at [email protected] or leave a comment. Happy New Year everyone, now let’s take on 2017.