Each December, as the new year looms ahead, many of us are frantically making resolutions, many of which we will forget about after a few weeks. This is often due to making unrealistic resolutions, or resolutions that are not important to us, but that we feel should be important to us. This year I have put together my resolutions, and explained why I think they are important and attainable. If any of your goals this year involve being healthier, physically and mentally, then read on and mold these goals to fit your lifestyle and values.
1.) Evaluate and reduce excuses – There are times when our body really is telling us to take a break. Overtraining is no joke, nor is working your body into exhaustion when you are sick. Some days you can feel a debilitating cold coming on, and you just have to rest. Other days, we just feel tired and do not feel like working out. These are the days it is important to evaluate your excuse (am I going to put myself at risk, or am I simply tired?) and reduce the excuse (I am just tired, and once I start my warm-up I will have a boost of energy). Common excuses I hear are: “I am tired” “I am running late” “My friend bailed on me” or “I don’t have time”. Let’s be clear, these are all excuses. No one is saying a person needs to workout for hours per day to maintain health. Just ten minutes will give you a boost in energy and health. When you feel yourself making these excuses, evaluate whether your body truly needs a break, or if you are simply putting off your health. By keeping this resolution in mind, I will ensure that I am doing what is best for my health.
2.) Workout for fitness, not looks – As kids, we went outside to play because it was fun. We tried different activities that piqued our interest (hello tree climbing!) and played sports with other kids. Being better than the other kids was always a goal of mine, and sometimes I would play parts of the game by myself to learn how to be a better player. Somewhere along the lines, activity became more about the calories burned than the enjoyment earned. I think this happens to many people and it is time to get back to the roots of fitness. Once I changed my mentality back to reaching fitness goals (instead of weight/body goals) not only did I become a much stronger person physically and mentally, but my body changed drastically! Once I let go of my vanity and made my health a priority, I was able to make great strides in what my body is capable of doing. This will be particularly important this year as I continue to grow a baby, then mentally cope with having a totally different body than pre-pregnancy. By keeping fitness a priority, instead of looks, I will be able to do what is best for my body and for baby.
3.) Eat based on nutrients – With so much media focusing on the “move more, eat less” mentality, it can be hard to not get caught up in counting every calorie you consume and burn. Though this has some validity, we all know that 100 calories from broccoli is going to do a lot more for your body than 100 calories from Oreos. Instead of focusing on calories (which can be overwhelming, and who has time for all of that counting?) I want to continue to focus on what each food is doing for my body. Each time I prepare a meal or snack, I ask myself what each ingredient is doing for me. For example, one of my favorite snacks is homemade crepes with nut butter and banana. When I eat these I know that I am getting protein and some fiber from the crepe wrap (it is homemade with mostly egg whites and coconut flour), vitamins including potassium from the banana, and fats plus more vitamins from the nut butter. Now that I have counted the nutrients, I am not too concerned with the calories, because I know each part of the meal will add significant value to the functioning of my body. This resolution has reduced a lot of over-thinking for me, and has led to a much healthier and more functional body at the same time. I aim to continue this mentality in 2015.
4.) Be a conscious Mom & Wife – With a new little guy about to turn our whole world upside down, I know that it will be important for me to not only make healthy decisions and set good examples for our baby, but to also be a good wife. It is important to me to not forget why we have a child in the first place, and to make sure I make a conscious effort to be a loving and good wife, as well as a loving and good mom. It will certainly take effort to remember this sometimes, but it is an important resolution that I plan to keep.
5.) Stop making comparisons to others – This is a double edge sword. I find people either compare themselves to others to justify their own actions, or as a way to set an unattainable bar. In the first instance, I often hear others saying “I don’t eat great, but I eat a lot better than other people I know” or “I only go for a walk twice a week, but it is more than Susie is doing”. In both statements, the person is essentially stating that, though their habits are unhealthy, they know someone else more unhealthy, therefore they feel justified in their actions. This is an unhealthy cycle to get into. Unhealthy is unhealthy, even if you are one degree less unhealthy than your friend. You are still setting yourself up for risk and trying to rationalize poor decisions. It would be like saying “I still smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, but Susie smokes two packs so at least I am not that bad.” Both scenarios are not good! On the flip side, when you compare yourself to others as a way of not giving yourself enough credit, that can also set you up for failure. “I ran my first 5k today, but Freddy ran his three minutes faster!” By making such a comparison, you are not giving yourself the credit you deserve for your accomplishment. It is important to have goals, and to find people who inspire you, but do not let those inspirations become a source of undermining efforts. Everybody is at a different point in their fitness journey. Keeping this resolution in mind will help me celebrate achievements along the journey!