Following a holiday season of parties and overeating, tens of thousands of people tend to make a resolution to live a healthier life in the New Year. Driven by an oversaturation of resolution advice, many feel empowered with new diets and exercise plans yet most have unrealistic expectations and approaches which quickly lead to a sense of failure and reverting back to unhealthy behaviors. As part of Commitment Day, a broad social movement of 5K fun walk/run events on January 1, symbolizing a commitment to healthy eating, exercise, family, respect, giving and a healthy planet, Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life CompanySM (NYSE: LTM) instead encourages everyone to make a commitment, which is more focused, unique to the individual and drives personal responsibility. This year, forget making a resolution and instead, make a commitment that will demonstrate progress and keep you motivated, and follow these tips to make your New Year commitments real and attainable.
- Create a vision statement. Make your resolution a commitment and create a vision statement that projects clear personal investment and connects directly to your happiness and health. Take a few minutes to write out your core values and what you need to help live out those values the best way possible. It will feel more meaningful if it’s rooted in the priority of your personal values and driven by emotional connections. Once you’ve created your personal vision, you can identify what goals will get you there.
- Don’t assume you know how to exercise. Many people who exercise think they know what to do when they walk into a health club, but the reality is poor form, training at an inappropriate intensity or choosing the wrong exercises for their needs lead to failed results. While any workout provides some benefits, a well-planned program using proper exercise technique will prove much more successful. Sit down with a well-qualified and certified personal trainer to talk about your exercise program to start on the right track.
- Test your readiness. Take some time to ask yourself how ready you are to make an actual change. If your vision is health-based and you’ve made the goal of working out every morning of the week, ask yourself (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being absolutely positive) how likely you’ll be able to commit and achieve that task and identify barriers that might get in the way. If your readiness is 7 or above, you’re ready to embark on your vision, but if it’s below 7, change or revise your goal until you’re confident enough to know you’ll succeed. Small steps to success are better than big steps to fail.
- Don’t workout six days your first week if you haven’t exercised six days in the past few months. All of us want to see results as soon as possible but the more you try to rush progress, the more likely it is you’re going to get hurt, sick or burned out. Remember, your body changes, adapts and progresses while it recovers. An appropriate exercise program is one designed to build on your current level of conditioning each week while allowing you to rest, recuperate and reap the benefits of downtime.
- Junk the junk. Don’t think you can stick to your diet while keeping junk food in the house. Make a commitment to get rid of all the foods that don’t promote health and instead fill your kitchen with good choices. Get rid of the candy, processed snack foods, sodas and juices and load up on a variety of vegetables, grass-fed meats, pasture-raised poultry, fish, fruit, nuts, seeds, and other real, unprocessed foods.
- Put it on the fridge. Laminate it, frame it o r post it on your mirror – the goal is to have your resolution statement somewhere where you will see it often as a reminder of what you are working toward this year. Find a place for your framed commitment to remind and motivate yourself throughout the entire year. If you’re a social person, share it. Some people find inspiration in sharing goals through their social media outlets to stay on track, while others find more connection with a close friend or coach throughout their journey.
Whether you’re just getting back to exercising and reevaluating your nutrition or you’ve been on a solid program for a while, you likely have some goals you’d like to achieve in the New Year. As you approach 2014, don’t assume you have all the answers or that you have to find them on your own. Set reasonable expectations and work with a professional to develop an appropriate approach designed specifically for you.