Every year, millions of people make new year’s resolutions. Whether they physically write goals down or simply make a mental note, many of these are often weight loss or fitness-related. As a matter of fact, losing weight was the number 1 goal of “resolutioners”. That is perfectly OK. It’s great to have something to strive for, but something we’ve noticed (among others and in ourselves) is that people are not necessarily realistic in their goal-setting or are way too harsh on themselves.
Many go from not working out at all to thinking that working out 6-7 days a week is realistic or that cutting down to 1,2000 calories a day from vegging out during the holidays is what one should ideally strive for. More often than not, these expectations are never reached which leads to unnecessary guilt and a feeling of failure. As a matter of fact there is a pseudoscientific formula proposed explaining that the third Monday of January is the most depressing day of the year – dubbing it “Blue Monday“. Factors in the formula include inclement weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our New Year’s Resolutions and low motivation levels. Seems quite bleak, doesn’t it? Forget Blue Monday and make 2015 the best year yet with these New Year’s Resolutions.
1. You Can’t Go From 0-60, Crawl Before You Can Walk
There’s a reason why gyms seem to be packed beyond belief in January. Hitting the treadmill is almost always on the top of resolution lists. While that is all well and good, people’s gym goals are always a little out of wack. If you were not working out prior to the new year, there is no way you can expect to go 6 or 7 days a week. You need to ease your body into regular exercise as it will surely be a shock to your system. You might be able to complete the first week, but with time you will get tired, sore, and bored. You have to train yourself to love the gym. That is the true key to going consistently – loving it. How to go about this? Start slowly and crawl before you can walk. Make a goal to workout at home for 3 days a week for the first month, then up your training days to 4 days a week, then 5… and so on and so forth. It will be impossible for you to fail as your body will start craving more and more days of activity. See Also – Post workout stretches to ease soreness.
3. Incorporate Whole Foods Into Your Diet
Forget calorie counting, instead of putting yourself on a harsh diet, tell yourself you will cook at home more often, eat whole foods, eat when you are hungry and only until you are full. If you do this, you will save yourself a lot of heart ache and stomach grumbling. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or not strictly “anything” these practices can be incorporated into any lifestyle seamlessly. One guideline to keep in mind? The less ingredients in a food, the better.
2. Be Kind & Forgive Yourself
No one on this planet is perfect. You might have had a perfect week of eating and then one night out on the town with your friends ended up in a few cocktails and maybe a late night cheeseburger. It’s not the end of the world. In the new year, promise yourself you will stop beating yourself up. Being this critical of yourself breeds negativity in your life, which is something you can undoubtedly do without. I always say to myself and loved ones, “A bad day is not a bad life” and I’ll say the same thing to you. Forgiveness is loving yourself and this only enhances all the aspects of your life positively. Check out these Bath Bombs to help you relax
3. Practice Mindfulness
There’s a reason why Anderson Cooper says mindfulness changed his life. It brings peace and tranquility to your life – giving you at least just a moment in this hectic life to reflect upon. Meditation is not the only way you can do this either. Any quiet moment to yourself can be considered a practice in mindfulness. Set aside time for breakfast before work, an early morning stretching session, taking a lunch break away from your desk, or making dinner. Tell yourself you will include more peaceful moments in your life so you can put the focus on your own emotions, thoughts, and sensations. Check out these Aromatherapy Oils for relaxation
4. Do Things You Love (But Push Yourself, Too)
If there is one thing I am all about is doing things I love. I’m happy at work, I always make sure to leave at a reasonable hour to hit the gym and I am definitely not plugged in on the weekends – instead opting to explore my city and spend quality time with loved ones. More specifically, my workout routine revolves around my passions for yoga and dance. If you don’t find your workouts fun, then you’re not doing yourselves any favors and you will be less likely to get excited to workout. That being said, I dedicate a fair amount of time challenging myself and participating in classes that I know will kick my butt up and down the fitness studio whether it’s weights, plyometrics, or cardio. It’s always important to push yourself to prevent plateaus or boredom. For the new year, promise yourself that you will do what you love, but also promise yourself that you will get out of your comfort zone at least once or twice a week. You might even grow to love those things.
5. Be Realistic
Whatever your goals are, be realistic. You are not going to lose 10 pounds in a week (at least not in a healthy way) and you are not going to have a six pack by the end of month 1 or even month 2 or 3! Gauge your progress by your consistency, how you fit in your clothes, and how you feel.
6. Write Down Attainable Goals, Journal Your Journey
No, we don’t mean journaling in the sense that you write down everything you’ve eaten that day and exactly how many calories you burned during your workout. Instead, make a list of things you would like to complete in the new year and write your [non-judgmental] thoughts on your progress as the year develops. Whether it’s weekly or daily, having something to reflect upon is truly beneficial.
7. Focus On Getting Healthy, Not Losing Weight
Weight on a scale only explains the relation your body has to gravity. Instead of striving for a number, focus on overall health and well-being – both mentally and physically. That is much more important than what a machine says.