Vacation is officially over for most of us, and it is back to life as we know it.
Or perhaps knew it? I hope that you have taken some time at the start of this new year to think about making 2014 better than 2013; in all dimensions of your wellness!
When it comes to setting resolutions at the new year, so many people (myself included) seek out losing weight, working out, eating healthier, staying active, lowering cholesterol…
Even if you are the most health conscious person you know, I am sure that you feel like you have room to grow and evolve in your efforts of a healthy mind, body, and soul. I know I do! Over the years I have come to value healthy eating, exercise, outdoor activities, and nurturing “self” more and more. The truth is, as much as I value these things, I am so far from perfect. I don’t even know what perfect looks like. I do however believe that cultivating optimal health is unique and individualized. The foundation can be the same, but the steps taken to get there could look very different.
Problem and solution: There is so much out there! I was recently reading some articles on the top fitness trends for 2014. It was very encouraging and interesting. It was also a little overwhelming. So much to choose from, so much to try, so much to learn…so little time! As I walked through the stores this past week, every his and hers magazine had something in the title such as, Drop 10 Pounds in Two Weeks, How the Stars Lose Weight fast, New Year’s Diets, and so much more. Another overloaded feeling! I am a sucker for reading and learning more about all things fitness and health. However, if I latch onto so many of these promises and ideas, I can begin to question, doubt, and minimize my own efforts. Is what I am choosing good enough?
Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. The fact is, we probably already know the answer to that question. We know if we need to workout more. We know if we need to eat healthier. We know that we probably shouldn’t take up running if we hate it or have bad knees. We know that we would probably love a Yoga class if we could just take the first step in getting there. We know we shouldn’t be a Vegan because we love the steak fajita too much. We know we need to get to bed earlier, and stop eating late at night. We know we need to invest in some relaxation time, or if we are relaxing too much. You know…we all know. How does it go…knowing is half the battle?
The key here is now that you have acknowledged that you know-pick something that you want to do. Choose plans that you will look forward to doing and fit who you are, and stick to it! If you started counting calories on My Fit Pal this week, don’t pick up a copy of The South Beach Diet. If you just purchased P90X, don’t do the workouts in Men’s Health. Losing focus or playing the comparison game with what those around us are doing can be challenging. Why do you think the gyms are flooded with members, new and old, in January but start to decline come February? I know there are many answers to that question, but one may be is that we lose focus. Don’t get me wrong here, many of us set unrealistic expectations upon ourselves that are just too difficult to maintain, while others are faced with work, kids, and life coming at them full speed ahead. I am suggesting that one of the many answers is that we simply lose focus. The reasons for this are many and personal. The point is that we play defensive by knowing it can and will happen.
I am going to eat 1200 calories a day, I am never drinking again, I am running every single day, I will workout 7 days a week, I am giving up meat, I am giving up fruit! (eek!) Yes, these are the extremes that we sometimes find ourselves mind chattering about and attempting to do, but even the most planned out reasonable goals can fall prey to distraction:
I am going to cut out refined sugar, and not have any alcohol until I reach my goal. After that I will engage in 1-2 drinks per week or on a special occasion. Nice goal, and specific! But what if something like this happens during your journey:
I have went 2 weeks without sugar and I am looking and feeling pretty good. I really don’t think this “fill in the blank with a tempting sugary snack” is going to hurt anything.
Next day: That wasn’t horrible, I am still doing ok, I will have one bite of: “again, use your imagination”.
Tuesday at 8:00 after work.: I have had a killer day. So what I skipped the gym? It happens. I am going to open this bottle of Pinot Noir… one more glass will help me sleep better.
Two weeks later we are back to our old habitudes. Eating too much sugar and drinking too many empty calories. When did we lose focus?
There are so many great techniques for staying focused and committed to your healthy habitude goals for 2014. We explored many in our Habitudes for the Holidays 2013 Challenge. Just because the challenge is complete doesn’t mean that you cannot revisit the ideas. I encourage you to review:
Why you should have your goals in writing.
Finding Your Inner Motivation. Ask the whys! We need to go there. The more specific you are the better!
Being accountable. When you start to fight against distraction from your goals, have a plan of action in place with someone who will hold you accountable!
Make a list of daily goals. This is key is staying steady in your efforts. It’s not a sprint…it’s a marathon.
Think Ahead. If you know you have some late nights head of you, special dinners, or family time, it’s time to plan for each day so that you can stay on track!
On a personal note, I must confess that 2013 was a rough year in regards to my health and how I was feeling. It was difficult for me to focus at all, and some days it was just about getting through the day. I continued to desire all that a healthy life could bring me, but I was constantly distracted. This year I have went back to what I know, and the future looks good! I have implemented the plan that we discussed in the holiday challenge and I am very excited to see my increased focus and energy around wellness as a result. As you step into 2014 know that it’s ok to focus on health, fitness, and looking and feeling good. Go there! Just be careful of the distractions heading your way. Let’s prepare to stomp them down together! I am here to help hold you accountable as I know you are for me!
Things I have begun to implement this January:
-In the past I have participated in The Daniel Fast. With many decisions ahead for 2014, this has been a great tools for me to resource a renewing of my body, soul, and mind.
-Running. I did very little in 2013 after Spring arrived. I am not a runner per say, but enjoy the energy I can release from it, and running truly is something that will shred you! Intervals on the treadmill for 2014!
-Journaling. I am carving out time everyday to have a quiet devotional/meditation. I am journaling my devotions, thoughts, and prayers. (The writing doesn’t have to be daily, but my goal is to use it on most days during this season.)
-Stretching. Even if it’s 5 minutes (because we all know 5 minutes usually turns into 10!)
-Rest. Carving out more time to sit and not feel guilty.
-On the flip side…move more! It’s so easy in the warmer months to go out for extra walks, but more difficult in the winter. I have scheduled The All day Challenge in my calendar for 3 days/week!
These are a few of my habitudes for 2014! What are some of yours?
Excited to stay focus and keep momentum!