So, you made a resolution to workout, to lose weight, to be healthier. Good for you. Now, how do you keep it? As a rule, I don’t like resolutions. They set most of us up for failure. What I do like is a plan – a plan that has time and thought behind it, as well as consideration of who you really are and what you will really do.
Plans for better health and fitness can be made at the beginning of the year, but they are different than resolutions. So, have you made a plan? If you are realizing that you have not made a plan, but just a resolution, then this is time to change it.
First, identify where you want to go and where you are. Here you have to be honest with yourself. If you want to be 20 pounds lighter, but have never been that weight in your life, you should reconsider. Where you want to be should be a realistic goal, not a pie in the sky idea.
Next you have to identify where you are. Again, be realistic and truthful. If you hate exercise and love French fries, be honest. Put all your vices out there on the table and then you can make a plan to attack them one at a time. There is no pile of obstacles too big to overcome, but a plan to do this is crucial. If you look at the changes you have to make as a big pile that must be dealt with as a whole, you will be overwhelmed and quit before you start.
Next, formulate the plan, then implement the plan.
Look at your goal and determine what is needed to get there. Most likely it will include exercise and dietary changes, as well as a few lifestyle changes. I always like to start with exercise (imagine that). I think incorporating exercise into your life’s routine is the best base to move forward with other changes. The feelings of success that come with exercise are the best way to empower you to make more changes in your life.
Dietary changes can be tough. There are many choices here and they are somewhat individual. However, there is some common ground. Anyone looking to make dietary changes needs to increase their awareness of nutritional information. If you eat out, then you have to know calories and nutritional content of the foods at your favorite places. The web is great for this. If you cook at home, then you have to analyze what you like to cook and see if it can be tweaked to be healthier that it is currently. Many home cooked meals can be helped with less starch (potatoes and rice) and more veggies (especially dark greens).
Once exercise and diet are tackled, you can venture into other areas of life that may need improving or attention. The main areas I think you should focus on are spiritual and social health. Everyone needs some sort of social circle; we as humans are designed to engage with others. We thrive on interpersonal interaction. Well-developed social circles can enhance the success of your overall program, as they will bring positive and supportive people into your life and get rid of negative and unsupportive people.
Spiritual health is an interesting subject. This has nothing to do with any particular religion, but just the belief and faith that you are not alone in this world. Sharing your life burden with someone, anyone real or imaginary, is a good way to help you dissipate the stress of life. Study after study show that those who believe in some kind of “grand being” have lower levels of stress and increased happiness.
OK, you have some suggestions, but they mean nothing without implementation. What I have said here might be nothing new, but maybe it resonates today, where it never did before. I hope so.