Most people make New Year’s resolutions. Most of these New Year’s resolutions are wishes for health, wealth and happiness. There is something about a brand new year that makes people want to start right and so they make resolutions.
The word “resolution” comes from the verb “resolve,” which means to come to a solution or a decision over some puzzle or question. Frankly, most New Year’s resolutions are mere wishes and not really resolutions because precious few of them ever become reality.
In order for resolutions to become reality they must be more than just mere wishes, but actual action plans with action steps. Since health and fitness directly impact our personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of our families we must resolve to be fit and healthy.
Here are some ideas:
Know the state of your health. Go and see your doctor before starting any exercise or diet regimen. Get yourself checked out thoroughly and tell your doctor about your goal of weight loss and health. People often go on crash diets out of desperation that never have a happy ending. Make sure that you choose a healthy eating plan that will allow for long term success, so you don’t set yourself up for failure right at the start.
Phrase your resolution as a principle. Let your resolution be the guiding principle that will define all the food and activity choices you will make for the whole year. If you can, articulate it as a theme or a motivating phrase. The catchier and shorter it is, the easier to remember and the easier to use to discipline yourself and to rally your forces against inactivity and surplus weight. For example, if you use “Thin is in in 2015” — it’s catchy, but it isn’t very precise. A spaghetti noodle is thin, but so is a flagpole. But if you phrase it as a command, “Lose 52 pounds in 2015.” It is not a wish or a desire anymore, it’s both a goal and a command.
Break it down into small tasks. 52 pounds is a big figure. But, then again, you have 12 months or roughly 52 weeks lose those 52 pounds, which translates to about 4 and a quarter pounds each month of the year or 1 pound each week. So, there you go. You can revise your resolution: “One pound a week in fifty-two weeks makes fifty-two pounds lost in 2015.” One pound a week is not only a healthy weight loss pace, it is also a very doable goal.
Think of particular plans of action. Answer the question: how do you intend to lose one pound each week? Here is where you have to do a lot of thinking.
- You can’t starve yourself because starving will boomerang into binges.
- You can’t deprive yourself because deprivation may mean malnutrition.
- You can’t abstain from all your favourite food because you will be frustrated.
Think in terms of what you can do instead of what you can’t do.
- Substitute unsweetened plain tea for soda.
- Substitute vegetable sticks and dip for chips and dip.
- Eat fish and chicken instead of pork or beef.
- Bake, boil or poach instead of fry.
- Grill instead of sautee.
- Squeeze lemon juice and a little olive oil over lettuce instead of using cream dressings.
- Eat whole grain bread instead of white bread.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk to the market instead of taking the car.
- Begin a cardio regimen or join a fitness class.
Find a workout buddy. It is a lot easier to jog or walk when you are with a friend – the mile goes more quickly because of the compansionshp and conversation.
Make sure your workout buddy is a person who knows you well enough to be a drill sergeant when you’re feeling lazy and need one; and a cheerleader when you’re feeling run-down and can use a helping hand.
Continuously challenge yourself. Take baby steps at first, but when you get stronger and more confident, lengthen your stride. If you tell yourself that at the start you will walk around the block before breakfast do this until it becomes part of your routine (about a week or two) and when you are no longer panting when you circle the block, walk to the next block and back.
Gradually increase the length of time that you walk or walk more times around the block or go farther and farther until you build up stamina and strength. Once you get bored with just walking, try jogging. And then running. Up your game to keep things interesting.
Find ways to measure your progress. Keep a log on your refrigerator door and note down how many blocks you walked today. If you use a pedometer, note the number of steps you took every day. The feeling of accomplishment will fuel further resolve to stick to your workout or physical activity routine.
Also monitor weight loss and inches, this is more positive reinforcement that will keep you going.
Designate a weigh–in day. If you weigh yourself every day, chances are, you will have an emotional roller-coaster experience as the reading on the bathroom scale is often impacted by your daily toilet habits, the outfit you’re wearing, how much fluid you took.
Instead of going on a roller-coaster experience, give yourself breathing space and weigh yourself once every week or once every two weeks.
Reward yourself. If you lose 5 pounds treat yourself to a movie. Surely a 20 pound loss deserves your favorite bottle of perfume or a new gadget? Whatever the reward remember to choose something with meaning, rewards reinforce behaviour, which can keep you going for the long term straight to your goal!
Be kind, loving and patient toward yourself. Be your own cheerleader and your own drill sergeant. Hug yourself when you feel disappointed at not having reached a milestone. Give yourself good advice and talk yourself out of giving up. Encourage yourself to get back on track.