Wednesday, December 29, 2010
New Years Resolutions are interesting. They are usually a combination of
all the stuff we wish we had done differently mixed with all the things we want for
ourselves, squeezed nicely into one massive more than likely difficult goal.
Interestingly they are usually health related. Some examples are:
To quit smoking
Run a marathon
Stop eating white flour
Meditate every night
Even money resolutions are health related.
Money is a huge cause of stress in peoples
lives. If you resolve to save money, you are resolving to lower your stress in preparation for your future or to make sure that you can afford to take care of your health in the future.
All of those resolutions are valid and great. I mean who doesn’t want a loved one to quit smoking, lose excess weight or become more empowered? It’s not the end goal I have a problem with, it’s the lack of pre-goal goals.
In order for a person to achieve a grand resolution such as Drink 8 glasses of water every day they would need to first try drinking just one. Even if you feel as though you already drink a glass of water every day, you are probably not making it conscious. Consciously commit to drinking one glass of water every day. The ultimate achievement and success of that goal is going to propel you to the next step, drinking two. I think you get the idea. When you finally get to your 8 glasses of water a day you will have gotten there by persistence and hard work. You will truly be an 8 glass of water a day person instead of a person who forces themselves to drink water all day long in order to keep up a goal they no longer remember why they made. Does that make sense?
Think about it in terms of your job or career. Did you wake up on the 31st of Decemberand shout, “I want to be a (insert name of current profession here)!” Then woke up again on the 1st to discover you had in fact been given said job.
Unless you have a truly amazing story, which I would love to hear all about, you are
going to say, “No Sarah, I have been working, studying, interviewing and constantly
striving to get to where I am. If you are anything like me you are still doing quite a bit of the striving and studying part. Now, when it comes to my job, this doesn’t depress me. This is fairly normal. It’s a part of the way society functions that we work hard for what we want and hopefully we will keep moving forward with our goals. Our little goals are what combine to help us achieve our bigger ones.
It makes sense with ones’ career so why are so many people distressed (including myself by the way) when their health goals don’t miraculously appear within the week, month or year. I can’t even count the number of times I have declared some decadent resolution on the 31st like, “I will never eat sugar again!” or “I will run for 5 miles every day!” Heck, even something as innocuous as, “I will work out three times a week” can be doomed.
I think the best way to achieve a goal is to break it down. Break it down to the smallest possible version of that goal and then slowly work your way up.
Let’s say you want to lose weight. (I only use weight loss in this example because it is a common goal for many people I meet.) Well how are you going to lose weight? Eating less and moving more? Ok, so I say start small. Let’s just take the eating thing to begin with. If you eat desert every night then maybe your first resolution could be to skip desert on one night of the week. Just the one, that’s certainly do-able. It’s small my friends. Or maybe you never eat breakfast. Well how about one day a week you eat a banana first thing. That seems reasonable, it could even be on Saturday.
Now onto the exercise portion of your goal: If you never exercise at all then you could
start with a 5-10 minute walk twice a week. I know that sounds simple and it should. The point is to achieve the goals. Try those little goals for a week or two. If it feels good and you are achieving your goal, then up the ante, but do it small. Pack your lunch 1 or 2 days a week with healthy food. Up your 5 min walks to every day. If you were already exercising maybe this means you want to add 1 day of week of weights. Or perhaps you want to make your walks longer. Each little goal will be different for each person.
My tiny goal this week is to make coffee at home one morning a week instead of buying it. The whole idea is to pick goals that are small enough to achieve and goals that are pushing you in a direction of a bigger goal. Eventually I would like to make coffee every day and put 15 dollars a week in my savings account.
Recently I met a woman who was talking about her considerable weight loss. I asked her how she did it. “Small goals”, she said. She walked for 5 minutes every day. After a week she upped it by 1 minute. She then walked for 6 minutes every day. She did the same with push-ups and crunches. She could do 4 push-ups on her knees when she began. She did 4 push-ups every other day and 8 crunches. When that became easier she did 5 push-ups and 10 crunches. She just kept moving forward in small baby steps. She is one of those women who I truly believe will keep her weight off because she lost it slowly. It’s the same with all your health goals. I propose that everyone take a good look at your health resolutions for 2011 and see how you can make them smaller in order to make the bigger ones stick.
Be Good To Your Body, It’s Where You Live.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Reading the lovely Facebook yesterday, I noticed a comment from a friend of mine, “Why do magazines always tell you to stock up on healthy foods before going to that holiday party? It doesn’t matter how much broccoli I eat before a party, if there are cookies there, I will want one of those too!”
How many of you can relate?
I know that many times in my life I have eaten a meal before going out in the hopes that it will keep me from munching and somehow ended up eating two meals: the healthy meal and the “oh I’m not really that hungry, ok just a bite or maybe 17 meal.
The main problem here is that it’s pretty easy when faced with the delectables of a holiday party to eat when we’re already full. Actually, if I’m perfectly honest, it’s easy to eat when I’m full if there’s food around and I’m near it. This phenomena doubles if I’ve had alcohol.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the sentiment of eat healthy food first but I know that instead of helping me it’s going to make me eat two meals. A better idea for me and maybe for you is just to be honest with yourself.
I am going to Jane’s party. Jane will serve cookies and crab cakes and champagne. I will savor a bite of everything I want. I will enjoy it and truly taste the magnificent flavors. I will go home feeling full but not guilty because I was supposed to eat at the party. Tomorrow I will have oatmeal for breakfast and I will reminisce about how awesome it feels to just enjoy something during the holidays.
Bon Appétit to everyone!