Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope everyone is enjoying this joyous and hopeful time of year with friends, family and all those dear.
For me Christmas Eve has always been a great time of reflection. When I am fortunate enough to spend Christmas Eve at home, I often like to sit with my husband and listen to carols by the light of the tree. I use it as a time of reflection and renewal. I start to look back on what I have accomplished and what I hope to accomplish in the new year. However, I do not use it as a time to formulate New Year’s resolutions.
I actually gave up making New Year’s resolutions years ago. I gave them up for two reasons. First, I do not think you should let an arbitrary day be your guide to making a change in your life. If you are going to make a change that will be lasting you need to do it when you are ready mentally and physically, not based on a day on the calendar. Second, I do not like the term New Year’s resolution. To me it implies a change for the year, something temporary. I find this to be especially true with resolutions that revolve around health and fitness.
What I prefer is a New Life resolution anytime of the year. When you find something in your life you want to change, it should be lasting and it should be based on a sustainable lifelong changes. This change should start to occur whenever you feel the right motivation and can make a solid commitment.
This year I do not want you to make the customary New Year’s resolution. I want you to start thinking about the reasons you want to live a healthy and fit life. What things are you doing right already? For those things, you need to pat yourself on the back. What things in your life do you want to change? These are the things that your plan for the future will be based on.
Your plan should be based on specific objectives to keep you living healthy and fit. New Year’s resolutions are often vague, “I want to look better”, “I want to lose weight”, etc. You are not making a New Year’s resolution; you are making a New Life resolution. If your plan is not in place by Jan. 2 that is okay. The important thing is you starting developing your list of objectives and how you wish to achieve them.
Let’s say you have reached a plateau and need to change things up to get your weight loss started again. You haven’t slipped back to old habits, but you know you need to make more changes to get to that next level. Your plan should include a specific weight loss goal by a specific date that is realistic and achievable. Next your plan needs to include the changes you want to make. This may take some research or new resources, but your list might include:
- Hire a personal trainer
- Start keeping food journal
- Change one long cardio session per week to a shorter HIIT session
- Limit restaurant meals to once per month.
These are all specific and actionable changes you can make to reach your goal. They are not dependent on the date on the calendar, but your willingness to make them happen and see them through.