Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Years Goals

What if this year, instead of creating the same list of New Years Resolutions you simply changed your lifestyle? What if instead of making goals, you changed your attitude about life? What if instead of trying to fit into a size smaller pants, you tried to have a healthy body? And why don't those New Year's Resolutions ever stick past March!??

Goals are Temporary
While there's nothing wrong with wanting to lose those last stubborn 5 lbs, that's a temporary fix. You cut calories for a few weeks and hit the gym a little longer on cardio days and voila! 5 lbs are gone! Yet, you resume your former habits and boom! 5 lbs are back! Seems like an endless cycle, right? You know what to do, you know how to do it, but nothing changes year after year.

That's because goals are temporary. 

Goals are Narrow-Focused
Wanting to have thinner thighs, a skinnier waist, well developed arms, put on muscle mass...these are all common goals, but at what cost? The other day my sister told me that one of her clients (she's a personal trainer) asked her what a good weight loss supplement was to get rid of the minimal weight she's carrying. Sure, you can take a weight loss supplement, but that's going to damage numerous other parts of your body and usually if they even work, it's only temporary and that weight comes right back. It's just another cycle that takes you (and your body) nowhere fast.

That's because these goals are narrow-focused.

Goals are Band-Aids
You want to be in shape. You want to have energy. You want to feel vibrant and alive and excited! So what's the problem? You're always tired. Too tired to go to the gym. Too tired to wake up early. Too tired even to sleep well at night! That workout plan fails the first week because you're too tired to get it done. What's the point in trying, right?

That's because these goals are band-aids that treat the symptom instead of the cause.

So what can we do to change this? What's a lasting approach?

Take a wide view approach -  what kind of life would you like to live? 

  • Be Healthy (or rarely be sick)
  • Feel happy and able to handle stress
  • Look good, feel toned and fit
  • Be strong
  • Be motivated
  • Live a long life to spend with family
  • Set a good example for kids
  • Have energy to tackle multiple projects, hobbies, and your job
  • Feel rested daily
What's inhibiting you from feeling that way now (note: these are usually the symptoms we try to treat with band-aids)?
  • Too tired
  • Too flabby
  • Feel sluggish
  • Rely on caffeine to get me up, keep going
  • Can't wake up in the a.m. to get workouts in before work/kids/school
  • Too tired in the the afternoon to get workouts in
  • No time to cook
  • Have to get food at take-out or drive-through because I'm too busy
  • My medicine makes me tired/not feel good
How can I overcome these recurring issues and get on track to a healthier me?
  • Commit to the exceptionally complex and expensive plan below (hint: real change is priceless and free!)
    1. Get 8-9 hours of sleep every night
    2. Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily
    3. Eat a well-balanced diet that includes only whole, unprocessed foods and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
    4. Reduce toxins in your body (alcohol, drugs, prescription medication, caffeine, cigarettes, animal fats)
    5. Play - with family, with friends, with kids, with pets.
Think that sounds too simple? Think you don't have the time? To paraphrase H. Jackson Brown Jr., you have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. You have the time. You need to find the will.

Like any new habit, this is a huge change and takes time, but by focusing on broad-scope goals you will remind yourself that this change is forever. Not just until you're a size whatever or you weigh however many pounds. As you make those 5 changes in the "exceptionally complex plan" you'll feel the pieces click into place and your body (that naturally wants to be healthy) will automatically begin to fall in line. When you work out, you sleep better. When you sleep better, you wake up refreshed. Then you can keep your workout for the morning. And since you feel good, you'll reach for a healthy shake or fruit topped oatmeal instead of coffee and a sugar-crusted muffin. Then you won't crash in the afternoon and you'll be able to handle the rest of the work day with a smile - AND play with your kids. And fit into that nice outfit to go out to dinner with your friends or family. It's a cycle of feeling good, all the time. That is something you can and will stick to all year long!


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