Monday, January 9, 2012

Changes vs. Resolutions

Let me start off by saying I am anti New Year’s Resolutions. Not because it isn’t a great idea to make necessary and important changes in your life, but because often time resolutions aren’t kept. I am not talking about resolutions such as trying to be a better husband or making a better effort to improve communication with family members. I am referring to the resolutions I hear about in my workplace, the gym.

The busiest time of the year for me is January to April, because of two reasons. One, because people made a New Years resolution to lose a certain number of pounds and two, because my younger clients want an attractive beach body for their spring break trip. We will talk about the second reason later, it’s a whole post in its own.

Now, setting a goal like losing 10 pounds is perfectly acceptable, but what happens when your target is reached? Do you go back to the same old routine of little exercise and poor diet? What is the point of taking care of yourself for a couple of months?

I have a better idea. Make a strong effort to live a healthier lifestyle. Here is a list of 10 ideas for you to consider.

1.      Try to get more sleep
2.      Cut out some bad fats, added sugar and processed foods and replace with more fresh fruits and vegetables.
3.      Learn new healthy versions of your favorite recipes. See November 20th and December 11th, 20th posts for ideas
4.      Get 30+ minutes a day of exercise.
5.      Try some new group fitness classes at the gym, like yoga, Zumba, or Spinning
6.      Drink more water, less sodas and juice
7.      Work with a personal trainer to incorporate strength training routines
8.      Find a workout partner, someone who needs you just as much as you need them
9.      Eat something that you know is healthy but have never tried before. Brussels sprouts maybe?
10.  Get a checkup from your doctor

Real quick lets focus on a couple of items on this list. First, #1, Get more sleep. This will be a huge help in your everyday life. Whenever I suggest this my clients will respond “I am too busy to get to bed early". Really? Do you need to watch re-runs of Sex in the City at 10:30? Do you really need to watch the 4th quarter of a blow out on Monday Night Football? Of course not, you're better than that.

 Next, #3, Learn healthy versions of your favorite recipes. For me, my kryptonite is baked goods, I eat some type of baked good at least 4 times a week. Cookies, muffins, pie, it doesn’t matter to me as long as I get my fix. To take out the guilt I learned how to make my favorite recipes with healthy substitutes like apple sauce instead of oil and Stevia instead of sugar. It makes a big difference in the total calories for each serving of some of my favorites.

Finally #4, Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. You may think this is the hardest on the list but it is much easier than you think. Some people believe that a workout takes place at a gym or health club. False. Moving for 30 minutes is a workout. You can go for a jog or walk around the neighborhood with your dog, or play with your kids at the park. Just get moving. If you miss a day, no problem, just keep some consistency and you will be fine.
So this year focus on making changes and adjustments to your lifestyle rather than setting a single target. If you still need some targets, try fitting into an old pair of jeans that have been too tight since the late 90’s or maybe run your first 5k. These targets can be part of your lifestyle changes and prove that your hard work is paying off. Stop saying “this is the year” and change it up, you’ll be happy you did.

Get Moving. Keep Moving.

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