New You for the New Year
Written By: Geri Wohl, CNC
The New Year is upon us. Have you come up with your list of New Year’s resolutions? How many times have you tried and failed to keep those resolutions in years past? You are not alone. Only 46% of people actually achieve their goals past six months! Let’s explore some strategies to make your 2014 resolutions succeed as part of your every day life.
Whether your resolution is to lose weight, exercise more, volunteer to help others or get a better job/education, the strategies can be applied across the board. Your resolution should be something that you really want, not a goal that you feel you should do. If you are not 100% committed, you will have less chance of success.
- In the days leading up to making your resolutions, think about realistic goals that you can achieve without making too long a list. Two to three resolutions should be the most that you can tackle at one time.
- While making your resolutions, outline a plan on how you will proceed to accomplish your goals. Work on taking small steps. If you want to lose 20 pounds, work on losing 5 pounds at a time. Meeting you’re your interim goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and further motivate you to continue on your path to success.
- Think about roadblocks to your goal and how you will overcome them. Avoid situations that create temptation. If you know that you are going to a party and there will be unhealthy foods, bring a dish that is healthy and enjoy it instead.
- Ready yourself to change some habits to achieve your desired goal. Remember if it were easy, everyone would be able to keep New Year’s resolutions. Delve deep inside and determine which behaviors you need to adjust to be successful.
- Share your goals with a friend, spouse or buddy who can provide support and motivation when you hit a stumbling block. These partners will help you stay more accountable. Choose positive people that will cheer on your accomplishments.
- Reward yourself with something that won’t sabotage your resolution. If your goal is to lose weight, try giving yourself new workout clothes when you pass your small milestones. For every 10 pounds lost, not only are you that much closer to fitting into those favorite clothes that have been collecting dust in the closet, but you will also help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke, lower cholesterol levels and possible decrease the risk of certain cancers.
- If you slip, don’t berate yourself and give up. Recommit to your goal and pick up from before your slip-up. It takes about 21 days for a new activity to become part of your routine and six months for it to be part of your overall being.
As many resolutions revolve around health, here are some tips to get you started.
- For weight loss, create strategies to employ when you are tempted to stray. Devise tricks to eat less. For instance, eating from a blue plate makes food look less appealing, so you may consume fewer calories. Also some foods have smells that induce sensory-specific satiety; in other words, they signal the brain that you are satisfied. These smells are individual so you may need to experiment to determine yours.
- Eat a SOUL food diet as much as possible. SOUL stands for seasonal, organic, unrefined and local. Consuming a whole food diet will provide you with more nutrients for more optimal health. For more about seasonal foods, see my article, “Eating with the Seasons.” Replacing processed foods with healthier nutrient-dense foods will result in more energy and probably some weight loss.
- Exercise causes the release of “feel-good” endorphins that can improve your mood. Fitness goals can be achieved even without expensive gym memberships. Try a power walk during lunch at work. Do sit-ups or planks during TV commercials. Choose a workout that you enjoy; otherwise you will not continue on your path to success. For more about exercise, see my article, “Fall Fitness Tips, Part II.”
- Reduce stress by deep breathing. Your breath has a direct connection to the mind. One of the easiest and fastest ways to calm down and relieve excessive stress is slow, deep breathing. This type of breathing shifts the body chemistry from fight or flight to a relaxed state. Best of all, this type of breathing can be done anywhere and is free.
- Try to stay positive as negative thoughts and depression can have adverse effects on your health and longevity. Stretching and exercise can stimulate endorphins resulting in lower stress levels. Omega 3s can also help in supporting the heart, depression and mood. Omega 3s are found in wild salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts. For more about omega 3s, see my article, “Fearful Fats.”
- Get more sleep as it heals, restores and protects the body and the mind. Since we typically spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, try to make sleep as important as your waking time. Set a sleep routine, attempting to obtain between seven and eight hours of shut eye. Avoid electronics before bedtime as they stimulate the mind. And keep your bedroom as dark as possible to help with hormone production.
Here’s to a successful and healthy 2014! May you enjoy it with family and friends.
© Geri Wohl, CNC