A new year gives us all the opportunity to make changes in our lives. However, so often January 1 comes, and we are no better off than we were last year (with little to no resolve to make things better).
Every year I make New Year’s resolutions, and I am dedicated to making them come true in the 12 months allotted. Sometimes I make it; sometimes I don’t. However, I believe that it’s always worth trying.
You can make New Year’s resolutions that not only stick, but are attainable. Here are seven steps to turn this year into your best year yet.
1. Think About Last Year
Reflecting on the mistakes and mishaps of last year is a good place to start when making New Year’s resolutions. Where could you have done better? What do you want to see change? No need to be down on yourself. Just take a look at your weak points and see what you can do about them this year.
2. Write It Down
There’s something to the act of putting pen to paper (or finger to keypad). It takes it from being just an idea to being real. It’s not out in the universe until it’s down on paper.
There are a lot of ways to do this. You can use a planner or a calendar. You can type it out on your laptop or write it down on a piece of paper. Just make sure it’s written and in a place where you can see it and refer to it often.
3. Don’t Try to Do It All in January
Poor, poor January. We pin all our hopes on those first 31 days. We cram a laundry list of goals into one month and try to make them all happen at breakneck speed. Inevitably, by February we are burnt out, and by the summer, our resolutions are long forgotten.
Let’s give January a break, shall we? If your goals are worth attaining, they will take time – much more than a mere month can offer. Plus the effort and energy it will take to accomplish those resolutions is too much to do all at once. Space them out.
4. From Big Goals to Baby Steps
It’s easy to look at the mountain, decide it’s too big to climb, and crawl back into bed.
Break big goals down into smaller increments. For example, if you’re writing a novel, author Karen Kingsbury once told me that if you wrote six pages every day, you’d have your book finished in a year. That is a feasible daily task that will accomplish a larger goal in time.
5. Get a Little Help from Your Friends
Chances are, if your dreams are big like losing weight or running a marathon, you’ll need a little help from your friends. Reach out and ask for the support you need. It can be a bonding experience you’ll never forget.
6. Identify Time-Wasters
A lot of great tasks in life don’t get finished, because we waste a lot of time doing things that are unimportant or unrelated to our goals. Think about all the time you spend on social networking Web sites or those two hours in front of the television every night. Wouldn’t that time be better spent working towards your resolutions?
We so readily say, “Oh, I just don’t have time.” The truth is that you can make time. Identify the time-wasters in your day and replace them with projects and tasks that will bring you closer to your goal.
7. Sometimes a Year is Not Enough
As the year draws to a close, take some time to reflect on the resolutions you made in January. How did you do? Did you work hard? Did you make the deadlines or do you need another year?
Give yourself some grace. You’ve laid the ground work to achieving your dreams, and you can take the next year to perfect them. Learn from the previous year’s mistakes and grow. Every year is another chance to get it right.
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Today’s article is from Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian and wellness manager for The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, and provides some motivation for food journals.
Here are few perspectives on why food diaries are important (and effective):
Accountability: Writing everything down and seeing your daily intake increases your perception of how much you actually eat.
Makes you stop before you chomp: The extra helping of ranch dressing in your salad, the candy bar you picked up when you got gas for your car, even the second drink you had at dinner. They could all add up to another 150–650 extra calories throughout the day, yet we tend to forget about these little food extras and instead focus on our main meals. When it comes to food, even a little adds up.
Helps to truly portion out your foods: When individuals are asked to keep a food diary, they often must measure all their food for the most accurate assessment. I find that many people measure food based on the bowl or plate the food is eaten on. For example, someone may say they have a “medium bowl of cereal” in the morning when in fact, after measurement, it is determined they actually have a very large serving. Once individuals use more accurate methods of measurement, they have a better understanding of their overall portion distortion.
Ties in the connections to stress, emotion, timing and location: I often ask my clients to jot down not only their food choices and amounts but also the time of day, location and emotional level during their meal or snack. This can help people assess how stress may be controlling their food choices. For example, a client of mine realized that she consumed large amounts of chocolate and fried foods after interactions with one of her family members. The family member was clearly a trigger to unhealthy eating but only after seeing the connection on paper did my client realize this. Another client realized he was going six or seven hours in between meals and would gorge because he was so hungry. Many clients are shocked that during the entire day, not one meal was consumed at a table but rather on the couch in front of the TV or in the car. One of my clients realized after she completed her food diary that she ate all her meals standing up and because she was not focusing on her food but rather everything else around her, she ate much more than intended.
Wanna know more? Read the full article →
Mantra #1: No Pain, No Gain
This motto isn’t doing your body any favors and could actually be setting you up for injury say both of our experts. “Pain is your body indicating that something is not right,” says Dr. Lombardo. “Pushing through pain results in injury. In contrast, ‘no train, no gain’ is more accurate — you need to train your body in order to make changes, and sometimes that includes working your body so you fatigue the muscles, but that is VERY different from pain,” she explains.
McCall agrees: “There is a big difference between pain and discomfort; when we exercise we need to push ourselves to discomfort in order to create an overload and create adaptation. Discomfort = progression and growth, pain = stop and rest.”
Mantra #2: You Can Feel Sore Tomorrow, Or Your Can Feel Sorry Tomorrow
We get what this mantra is aiming at (i.e. get that workout in!), but we can’t say it sounds too inspiring to us. “This focuses on two negatives, and it is hard to be motivated by a negative,” Dr. Lombardo points out. “It leaves us with a sense of fear. Instead, focus on the positive, such as, I will feel so much better (physically and psychologically) when I exercise.”
Mantra #3: Want Faster Results? Simple. Work Harder.
This one should say, ‘Want faster results? Train smarter,’ says McCall. “Working harder is not necessarily going to produce change. Exercise is physical stress applied to the body; how (and how much) the stress is applied will determine the results,” explains McCall. And, believe it or not, your body actually gets stronger in the rest/recovery period after training, so it’s important to allow your body to recovery adequately from tough workouts, McCall explains. Not to mention, pushing too hard, too often can lead to overtraining, which could cause an injury or lingering sickness, he says. Instead of subscribing to the ‘go hard or go home’ motto for every workout, McCall recommends using a periodized training schedule, and alternate your high intensity days with lower intensity sessions to allow your body to recover, but continue to keep your body moving. “Many top athletes follow this sort of schedule and it provides great results,” he says.
Mantra #4: Pain Is Weakness Leaving The Body
This may be an effective slogan for the Marine Corps, but it is not a good mantra for the average person, says McCall. “Pain is a signal that something is going wrong in the body and that whatever is happening at that moment to cause pain should STOP.” Even if you feel a little pain during a workout and think that you could work through it, you could actually be doing a lot of harm by creating an injury that could derail training for months, cautions McCall. Again, the key with this one is making sure you know the important difference between pain and discomfort. “If you feel a little uncomfortable or discomfort, work through it, that’s how you get stronger. But if you feel pain – STOP, it’s better to rest, heal and come back to fight (train) another day,” he says.
Mantra #5: Earn Your Body
This mantra seems to suggest you don’t deserve the body you have right now, in this moment, which is enough to deflate anyone’s self-esteem. While you may be striving to achieve goals you’ve set for yourself at the gym, don’t forget that your body is pretty amazing just as it is today, even if it may be five or ten pounds heavier than you’d like.
“It is important to appreciate your body in the here and now, and for all that it does for you,” says Dr. Lombardo. “Part of that appreciation includes wanting it to be healthier. When we talk about exercise, the goal is to be grateful for all that your body does and want to improve it because you love it.” Amen!