Are your New Year resolutions implemented by now? You’re feeling determined, maybe to hit the gym every day, stick to a diet, or give up alcohol, gluten, dairy, sugar or something else for a while. You’re not alone. Funny how the gym that was so empty in December is suddenly so crowded!
It’s natural for so many of us who have over-indulged in food and drink during the holiday season to want to start the next year fresh, get healthier, get stronger or lose the holiday pounds (and more!) And we all should! However, well-intentioned resolutions don’t often translate into action and therefore positive results over the long term. Recently I read that only about 8 percent of people keep their resolutions. Not many of us will beat ourselves up that bad for letting go of our New Year’s resolutions, but every year I see so many of us setting ourselves up for resolution failure. We can change that.
This year, try these four easy steps to make a positive change in your life in 2014:
1. Don’t think “Resolution” think “Lifestyle Change.” List several things you’d like to change on a daily or regular basis to help you reach your longer term goal. Then pick the one that seems the most realistic (do-able!) For example, you know you’d like to lose weight. Instead of resolving to eat a severely restricted diet until you reach your goal size/weight (or go crazy and binge eat the entire pantry after two weeks because you are so deprived), make one change that will support your larger goal. Implemented regularly, it will become a habit and part of your lifestyle.
2. Think simple. The change you decide to make should be something that is realistic for you. If it is too difficult and becomes overwhelming you’ll stop and that defeats the whole purpose! So if you want to lose weight what could you do on a daily basis to support that goal? One client of mine did nothing more than start tracking her food every day using an app. Another client simply ate just two-thirds of what was on her plate at every meal. All you need is one consistent simple change that works for YOU.
3. Remember that this is a process. It’s not necessarily going to be easy, but it shouldn’t be excruciatingly tough either. It will get easier as it becomes more ingrained in your routine and as you start to see results. Then it will become a habit and voila! A lifestyle change!
4. Remember that you aren’t perfect. If you skip it for a day don’t beat yourself up. Shrug it off and move forward because it’s a complete waste of time and energy to feel bad about it. If you have trouble in this area, think about what you would tell a friend or loved one who is complaining that he or she fell off their lifestyle change wagon. Now apply that advice to yourself! We are usually kinder to others than to ourselves.
Happy New Year and I hope this is the best year ever for accomplishing your health and fitness goals!
Coach Pritam Potts, owner of Advanced Athlete LLC, is a NSCA-certified trainer and strength coach with 12-plus years of experience working with athletes and clients of all ages. Her specialty is in functional strength applications, developing core and overall strength and coordination specifically for the purpose of enhancing the body’s ability to function optimally and safely in athletic movement. Connect online at www.facebook.com/mrsathlete and www.twitter.com/mrsathlete.