New Year, New You?
Some thoughts on how you can transform your “resolution fever” into real and lasting change for the better.
1. Do something TODAY. Act first. Purchase and plan later. Strike while the spirit of change and renewal is strongest. Don’t put off working toward your goals because you “need to find the right running shoes” or you “need to talk to the people at the gym first” or you “want to see what my schedule will be like and plan accordingly” or you “have to read a little bit more online about how to begin an exercise program.” Don’t get me wrong: a proper fitness program may require an investment in proper gear, a trainer, a fitness boot camp, or in a gym membership. It certainly will require you to create a plan and integrate it into your schedule. However, don’t let “analysis paralysis” (as we say in the corporate world) delay taking action. Go out for a walk or a relaxed run or a local yoga class today. Get on the floor right now and do as many push-ups as you can in 60 seconds. Turn off the TV and the computer. Go do something.
2. Make a real plan with real actions and dates. Don’t just say to yourself “I’m going to workout more starting today” or “I’m going to lose 15 pounds.” Break those aspirations in to small attainable goals. Make the time in your calendar and actually stick to it. It takes about three weeks to create a new habit. If your new plan has you getting up to workout every other day at 6 AM, then adjust your schedule accordingly and follow though. Even if you simply wake up and go out for a 20 minute walk before breakfast, get yourself into the pattern.
3. Get off your ass more often and simply move around more. Find ways to find regular movement a part of your everyday life. Park your car farther away. Get off one stop earlier if you take a train or bus to work. Take your conference calls standing up. Walk outside once an hour and take fresh air breaks when others might be taking smoke breaks. You’d be surprise at how sedentary we are – even those of us who exercise regularly. Physical fitness is about having the muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health to function properly and efficiently, respond to stress, resist fatigue and disease, and to enjoy life AT ANY AGE. If you can bench press your own weight but you get winded walking up a flight of stairs then you’re not exactly fit in my mind. For more on this, check this great article (with thanks to our Los Angeles research team).
4. Get closer to now. How do you feel at this very moment? How does your body feel? Your mind? What kind of mood are you in? What could be better? What could be worse? What could you change in the next moment? What is completely beyond your control? Are there actions you could take and changes you can make to strengthen your appreciation of “now” a day from now or a week from now? The only thing we truly control is our action now. We can’t change the past and we cannot predict or control the future. But, a decision to exercise now or chose a healthier snack or meal now is yours and yours alone. Did you make a less-than-ideal decision? Give yourself a break, let it go and try again…right now.
5. Be accountable. While you’re getting “closer to now,” find someone to hold you accountable for your decisions. Tell a friend, a family member, or co-worker what your goals are. Ask him or her to check on your progress. Or, maybe join an inexpensive group fitness class or work with a personal trainer. It really depends on what you think will work best for you and your personality. Do you need positive re-enforcement? Tough love? A pain in your ass? Be honest with yourself and be open and honest with the person or group you chose to hold you accountable. I’ve trained for three marathons. The ONLY WAY I was able to stick to my training plan was through accountability. As soon as I registered for each marathon, I asked everyone I knew to help me raise money for various charities. Each training run then became a fulfillment of my commitment to my generous sponsors and to the charities we were supporting.