It’s that downer time of year again. We challenge ourselves to list ways we can do away with all the negative aspects of our body and behaviors or lack thereof in the coming year. We sit around making lists that include challenging feats like a) lose a bunch of weight, b) exercise every day of the new year, c) cook whole foods instead of take-out, d) liposuction that belly fat that won’t budge, e) pray more (go to church more), and e) finally getting around to back-waxing. Scratch that last one.
Hmpf! What about starting off with a positive approach? Like, “I love my body. I want to honor it by eating healthy foods and getting more movement in 2012.” Health will knock on your door day and day again when you greet each day with optimism, your weight will go down, the battle of the belly fat bulge will be won. And, you’ll feel better about yourself even on days where a tad of take-out is the only option.
Researchers have known forever that strategic planning is crucial. Yoga practitioners have known forever that opening to possibility and hugging toward the heart keep us connected and soften our attitude toward ourselves and others. The process of getting healthy or more spiritual becomes a joyous, not a tedious one.
Strategies that work in behavioral change include:
- Setting goals. Get out your journal, a piece of notebook paper or an old receipt. Write down what you it is you want to see – make this goal realistic (if you last weighed 160 pounds in high school and you’ve never been below 180 pounds and you’re 50 years old, hmmmmm, how about 5% weight loss instead?). If you’re new to yoga, doing a 90-minute hot yoga class 5 times a week just might not happen.
- Manage your time. Get out your Daytimer or Google calendar and fill in the blocks of time you can realistically devote to these goals. Block out all your exercise and yoga classes or hours you can devote to walking the dog, or learning to run a 5k in a progressive and safe way. Commit half-hour segments to creating a meal plan for the week complete with grocery list. Mark the day and time you’ll get to the market. Even calendar kitchen time.
- Keep track. Check off the accomplishments daily. What a buzz in your head! Woot! Done! Over! Wow, I feel amazing! What happens if you didn’t get A-Round-Tuit? No judgment. Reestablish your reasons for moving in the directions you chose and get firmly entrenched in them. Deep breath. Begin anew.
- Seek support. Now, I did read about the chick who didn’t tell a soul she was losing weight and successfully lost more than 100 lbs. She, and others reviewing her case, felt she would certainly fail if she sought accountability from others. Most researchers disagree. You know who those folks are who are ready to tear you down the moment you become transparent about your goals – those who might be a tidge jealous. Or worried you won’t like them anymore if you get thin, healthy, beautiful, have whiter teeth. Avoid them. At all costs. Pick a family member, friend, co-worker who shares your principles and get them on board with you.
You have about a month before this ominous day (New Year’s Resolutions). Get cracking now with the smallest change you know you can NAIL before then. Maybe it takes a week to feel solid. Pick another. One foot in front of the other. Smile.