Each January and February, the word “resolutions” appears in tons of conversations, advertisements and across social media. We are all attracted to the idea of a “clean slate” or a “fresh start,” and a brand new year is the perfect time to reflect on what we did over the past year - and make plans for the months ahead.
Resolutions are very easy to make. But they are also very easy to break. In fact, it is estimated that most people abandon them way before Spring rolls around. In this article, we hope to provide you with some advice to help you stay on track with your fitness and wellness resolutions this year and beyond.
It is tempting to make resolutions that are similar to the ones that people we admire are making. However, the key is to ensure that you are setting goals that are important to you. Following someone else’s resolutions can leave you feeling frustrated and resentful. Ask yourself a few questions to try to determine your motivation behind it - and to find out if the resolution is worth your time and energy.
- Who do I want to be?
- Will this wellness goal help me to become that person?
- Does this goal align with my values and aspirations?
- How will achieving it improve my health or fitness?
- Is this something I am passionate about doing?
Add the word ‘why’
Having a concrete reason can help to cement your goals even further. For example, if my resolution is to participate in 2 half marathons this year, my why’s could be:
- It will motivate me to work out because I need to train regularly to be ready.
- It will be a great way to spend time with my friends and family.
- It will help me improve my cardiovascular fitness and circulation.
- A charity marathon will allow me to give back and support a good cause.
- It will help to improve my self-esteem and mood.
Put a positive spin on it
We often approach resolutions with an air of negativity. They are often things that we have to do to fix something that is we think is “wrong” with us. Let’s try to turn that around to be positive. For example: “I must lose 20 pounds this year because I look terrible” could be changed to “I am going to lose 20 pounds this year to improve my health and feel better about myself”.
Figure out ‘how’ to achieve your goal
One of the definitions of the word resolution is "the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones”. Once you know what you want to achieve and why it’s important to you (i.e. the complex notion), you need to break it down into much simpler chunks to make sure you actually get it done.
So, with our marathon example above, your simpler chunks could include:
Finding upcoming marathons to sign up for. You could use a running calendar to easily sort by distance, location or to search for charity runs so you can help raise awareness about important issues or support a loved one who is affected by a disease. Once you have found an event that will work for you, go the extra mile (pun intended!) and sign up for it. Having that set in stone will give, you a goal to work towards.
- Coming up with a training plan that suits your needs and level of experience. For example, if you are new to running, you could use an app like Couch to 5K that will help to train you in just 30 minutes per day, 3 days per week over 9 weeks.
Pencil in wellness appointments
While you have your calendar up to sign up for marathons, consider making appointments for physicals, eye exams and dental checks. Many practitioners allow you to schedule online and if you book early, you are more likely to get dates and times that work well for your busy schedule. Having regular check ups is to your overall health and wellness.
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The Four Tendencies
We have mentioned Gretchen Rubin’s theory in a previous post. It is based on the premise that most people fit into one of four tendencies (Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels). These tendencies affect our behavior and motivations. Knowing your tendency can help you to figure out more precise steps you can take to achieve your goals. Take the free quiz here to figure out what yours is. Once you have done that, read this corresponding article to find out how to use your tendency to help you tackle your New Year’s resolutions.
Slow and Steady
Did you read the story of The Tortoise and the Hare as a child? The moral of that story still holds true for us as adults today. Sometimes we need to slow down in order to accomplish more. This can help us to build good habits over the long term. The Japanese word kaizen means continuous but slow change over time that propels you towards meeting your goals. Author, Tsh Oxenreider does a great job of explaining this in her article about the kaizen approach. Rushing and over-doing things at the start can lead to burnout, stress us out and cause us to throw in the towel on our goals.
Set constant reminders
Seeing your goals make you more likely to achieve them. You can do this by:
- Printing out inspirational posters from Pinterest
- Mapping your progress
- Using motivational Page-A-Day calendars
- Joining online and IRL groups of people doing the same thing
- Changing the wallpaper on your phone and laptop
As you start to hit milestones in the coming months, be sure to treat yourself every now and again for your hard work. It can be something very simple (like a midday nap or a mug of your favorite coffee) or more exciting like treating your feet to the comfort of our compression socks. Apart from helping with muscle recovery, compression socks provide your legs with much-needed support especially if you are on your feet all day during the workweek.
What goals do you have for 2018? We would love to hear from you!