Like many others, you may be starting the New Year with a Resolution that is centered on health and fitness. And, like many, you may that it is hard to focus on exactly what needs to be done in order to accomplish your Resolutionary Goals. It’s January 1 and you are simply trying to recover from the celebration the night before. By Sunday, you’ll be a little discombobulated because it’s the second long weekend in a row and now all your internal clocks are way off. Monday: gather ’round the water cooler with all the NYE war stories and comments about “amateur night”, noting that it must be the “professionals” who are in bed by 10:30. Within two weeks, your body is going to be sore from twisting, prodding, pulling, pushing and lifting in the local gym. In four weeks, any reference to the New Year will have gone the way of twerking jokes. And within six weeks, 80-95% of you will have given up on your New Year’s Resolution.
By Valentine’s Day, the National Hallmark Day of Chocolate and Cards, only a few Resolutionaries will be left standing. The reasons are simple: we create goals for ourselves without creating an effective strategy for attaining those goals. Sure, it seems like everyone has a strategy to help you, but, for the most part, that strategy is “Happy New Year…now let’s change”. The desire to change, though noble, isn’t a strategy. It has to be met with a thorough play-by-play so that you understand the ups and the downs of the process.
So here are the five things to keep in mind to help start the process of succeeding with your Resolution:
- Take smaller bites. Yes, your grandmother was right. You take too big a bite and you’re going to choke. You have 40 pounds to lose? Start with the first 10. What the heck– start with 5. If you focus solely on the 40, and the weight doesn’t come off fast enough, that will lead to frustration, disillusionment, and closing the door on yet another year’s resolution. That leads us to……
- Patience. My god, if I had a dime for every person who walked through my door and thought that they were going to get it done in two weeks, I would be retired to an island in the Pacific by now. You have to understand that the train you’ve been riding has been traveling with a great deal of momentum in one direction. In order to slow down and change direction, you have to be patient. And the more momentum you have in a particular direction, the more focus and time you will need to redirect yourself.
- Do not change direction too quickly. Ok, follow me on this one: you’re driving a Ferrari at 110 miles per hour down the highway. You want to make a hard, 90-degree left turn. My suggestion: slow down or you’re going to crash. You haven’t exercised in 10 years? Why on Earth are you going to go to the gym for two hours at a stretch, 6 days a week starting the day after the heaviest eating/drinking period of the entire year. Start slow and methodically. Go to the gym for half an hour, stretch, do a little cardio, maybe try a class. See how your body feels, how it reacts to the stimuli. If you feel good, up the ante. If you are sore and tired, keep it easy for the first week or two as you ease into it. You have time (see suggestion #2).
- Don’t spend a fortune. Health clubs love this time of year. They see the panic in your eyes and they thrive on it. They will get you to sign up for 18 months of direct withdrawal from your checking account, knowing full well that by Valentine’s Day you will have “forgotten” your membership. Buy a one month membership. They’ll sell it to you (they just want your money, after all). Then you can make sure the gym is for you, that it is effective and you enjoy it. If it works, make the big purchase in February. Same goes for meal plans, exercise equipment, shoes, clothes, gizmos, late night infomercial products– everything that you are positive will solve the problem. The industry loves January because everyone throws their money at problems. Don’t be one of those people. But…
- If you do spend money, spend it wisely. Spending money on your health and well-being is the wisest investment you can make. But, like financial investing, you want to be sure you are putting your money into an investment that will reap dividends. Best bet? An educated trainer can help to set you on the right path and keep you motivated. Go about finding a New Year’s trainer the same way you would shop the rest of the year: get referrals from friends, interview the trainers, ask questions, find out specifically what they would do to help you, not simply someone who walks through the door to be “trained”. And keep in mind that most quality trainers have full schedules. You will need a little flexibility to find time in their schedules. If a health club is quick to offer you their “top trainer” who happens to be free five days a week during peak hours, take a good, long look at that person, their education, their work experience and their success rate. For more ideas on finding a trainer, read my article on the subject.
Remember: this is just the beginning– the first five ideas with which to work. So start with these five. And check with the Guru daily on Twitter and Facebook now through January 31st for daily tips, ideas and motivation.
Buckle up and stay tuned. Let’s make this the best year ever! Whoooo-Hooooo!! Happy New Year!