The New Year is here! At this time of year most people become more reflective. We tend to evaluate different areas of our life we would like to improve. And for many folks a big area of evaluation concerns one’s health. I am sure many of you reading this article had sincere plans to make 2015 the year you finally took control of your health. Although many people sincerely felt this way, the odds are probably that only a few actually did and began a new lifestyle committed to being healthy. Why is that??? Is it because you really don’t want to change your exercise and eating habits? Is it because you are undisciplined? Is it because you don’t care?
I would say the answer to all three questions is NO! I have been training people for 23 years. I am convinced that all of you really do want to change your exercise habits. However, there are real life reasons why it does not happen, and our busy lives are the number one reason. Most folks are working so hard as a successful professional, busy mother, or both, that by the time you have taken care of everyone else there is no time left to take care of yourself. Discipline is not the reason, because I bet if you look at your life you see many areas in both your professional and personal life where you are disciplined. Finally, I know you care or you wouldn't be reading this article.
So … how can you make 2016 different??? Here are three suggestions that I know work because I have personally seen 100s of people apply these three tips and many have lost 20 - 100 pounds, blood pressure has improved, cholesterol levels have dropped, bodies are more functional, and people are eating more healthfully.
- Set Exercise Appointments with yourself. Whether you are a busy professional, busy mother or both, your day is filled with appointments with other people. You certainly would not be disrespectful and miss a scheduled appointment. Set exercise appointments with yourself and give yourself the respect you give others. Don’t miss your appointment! There are 168 hours in a week. For 2016 you must make a commitment to set three one hour appointments with yourself per week… and keep them! When life happens and you miss a scheduled appointment, you must reschedule to maintain your training volume. The training volume goal for the month is 12 training sessions. Many people feel guilty for taking this personal time, but you must remember lots of people are depending on you. Your health is the vehicle which allows you to continue caring for others, work hard, and enjoy life. Make your exercise appointments priorities!
- Set Specific, Realistic Measurable Goals. For example … improving diet is fine as a general, long term goal, but this is not specific. Analyze what has to be improved in your eating habits. Maybe you are skipping breakfast causing a big dip in your metabolic rate. Set a goal for January to eat a healthy breakfast three to four days a week and name the specific three to four days, for example, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. A healthy breakfast includes one serving of a healthy complete protein, one serving whole grain, and at least one serving fruit or vegetable. A simple breakfast of one slice whole grain bread with an all-natural almond butter and an apple would be a healthy breakfast. At the end of January build on your success and create a new specific, realistic and measurable goal.
- ACCOUNTABILITY!!! Accountability is essential to keeping your exercise appointment with yourself. But for most accountability to self is not enough. It is too easy to rationalize something else is more important. Different people are successful with different forms of accountability. For some simply investing in a gym membership is enough, for others having a friend or a group you are committed to exercise with, and for others a higher degree of accountability is needed, for example, a personal trainer. We all spend a great deal of money on health insurance which is not health insurance at all. Taking care of one’s health through proper nutrition and exercise is true health insurance. If you know you need the highest level of accountability I suggest investing in 12 weeks of personal training and then re-evaluating. Look at it as if you are taking a class to invest in your health. We have all invested in education to better our lives. It just makes sense to do the same for our health. The secret is accountability to a coach, mentor, and guide … someone who is committed to your commitment and impervious to your excuses.
We are all well aware of the health crisis in America related to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and a host of other preventable diseases. Make a commitment to the three tips above and you are on your way to receiving the benefits of exercise and healthy eating habits. When you are physically fit you will feel better, sleep better, overcome stress, work better, communicate better, play better and live better! Make 2016 the year you really DO something about making a lifestyle change that will improve your quality of life for years to come!!!