Day 5, 2014. How are those New Year’s resolutions going? If you’re already falling short, you’re not alone. (I was supposed to be on my 5th blog by now.) According to the University of Scranton, of the 45% of us who make New Year’s resolutions, a mere 8% actually achieve them. So what’s one to do? Instead of making blanket, generic resolutions – be healthier, lose weight, exercise― get specific.
Start with a plan. Write down specific, attainable goals and what you need to do to make them happen and then as Nike said it best, just do it! Here’s an example:
|Eat more veggies daily
|Drink more water daily
|Walk Min of 4x per wk
Make yourself accountable. Tell your family and friends what your goals are and ask them to help you keep them or join you. Perhaps post your progress on Facebook, Twitter or write a blog about your journey. There’s a whole community (world) out there waiting to give you the thumbs up and smilely faces that will help keep you on track.
Reward yourself as you achieve your goals. Pamper yourself with a mani / pedi, a trip to the movies, a new pair of earbuds, whatever makes you happy and doesn’t involve consuming unhealthy fat & sugar calories. For me, if I go a week without buying and consuming mass quantities of chocolate, I get to reward myself with a healthy sushi diner (my fav).
Most importantly, get off your butt! When it comes to negatively impacting our health, researchers are finding that sitting is the new smoking. According to UK researchers, who pooled the results of 18 studies with over 800,000 participants, people who spent the most time sitting had a 147% increased risk of heart attacks and other damage to their hearts.
What do doctors say? James Levine MD, PHD an obesity expert and anti-sitting advocate at the Mayo Clinic echoes what I have been preaching all along. Like animals, we are built to move. Hunters and gatherers spent 8 to 12 hours on the move every day – that’s what’s natural and good for us. So the bottom line (pun intended), once again, is get off your butt! Standing engages the muscles of your legs and back and increases your metabolic rate and helps your body process cholesterol more efficiently. In fact, Dr. Levine says that simply getting out if your chair and walking around for 10 minutes every hour can help counter the negative effects while increasing your work productivity.
|It’s easy to get off your butt at work or home!
Remember, we are the choices we make. We choose to get out of bed every morning and we’ve made that a daily habit. We need to choose what’s good for us (activity, veggies, water, etc…) over what’s bad (inactivity, junk food, smoking) and force ourselves to follow through.
While I love being active and outdoors, even I have to “force” myself to workout occasionally. People just assume it’s always easy for me. Guess what? I’m human too. Some days it seems like I have to drag myself off the couch by my hair to go the gym. (I don’t like working out inside and having to drive to the gym is a drag – whine.) And on the flip side, sometimes I have to force myself to take a break because surgery, injury, or my body demands it. So you bet I understand the discipline it requires to overcome internal resistance to do something you know is good for you or that will help you achieve some goal. I had an epiphany while watching a great TED talk by Mel Robbins. (Note: I was riding my indoor bike at the time.) It’s a great video for the New Year to help you get what you want and where you want to be in life. It’s simple, but not easy. Her premise is if we want to achieve our goals we must force ourselves to take action, get off our butts and get out of our routines / comfort zones. If we wait for motivation, it’s not going to happen. We are never going to “feel like it”.
My epiphany was that I need to apply the same discipline I do to working out, (forcing myself when appropriate), to the areas of my life that I am trying to improve – my writing and creative endeavors for instance. I make exercise a priority every day – no excuses. So I must commit and keep faith, as many of my clients do, that I will eventually reap the benefits of these other daily “habits” I cultivate by force of discipline and hard work. For example, working on my writing / blogging is a one of my goals. In fact, I am “forcing” myself to write this blog right now, staying inside while the beautiful sunny San Diego day calls to me. Will I bike the coast or rollerblade that is the question. Sure, I could have put the blog aside and have said “I’ll do it tonight”. By the way, that’s what I did the last 4 nights so we know how that goes… If I want to get something done, it needs to be 1st thing. So now that I have written this blog (one of my goals for the day), I will reward myself with some outdoor, fun time. What are you going to do?