What Do You Want For 2022?
I'm not a big believer in New Year's Resolutions - it's a rather arbitrary starting point - but I do get it. The holiday season is ending, the calendar flips, and many of us reevaluate certain habits that we either want to start or stop. We've eaten and drank (maybe to excess?) for the past month or so, and hope to drop some extra pounds before spring hits and we start taking off all our layers again.
I've also seen how the gyms fill up for the month of January, and maybe the first part of February, only to go back to normal activity levels relatively quickly. Many do the "dry January" thing, swearing off alcohol for the month, which is absolutely a healthy thing. But what happens in February? Has that month away from drinking weaned you off the habit for good? Do you revert to pre-January consumption levels? Do you go for it and try to make up for lost time? LOL.
The thing about these resolutions is that they are usually quite drastic and most often, short-lived. If they worked well, we'd have a lot fewer smokers around, and obesity rates would not be rising. So is there a better way? I would suggest that small, sustainable changes, starting today, regardless of the date on the calendar, will serve you better in the long run.
And if you miss your mark on a particular day, just start again. Don't abandon your goals because you slipped up. It WILL happen, that you can count on, but that is actually part of the process. When a baby is learning to walk, they don't just stand up and walk, and then burst into a sprint right away. They hold onto something to even be able to stand. Then they eventually let go, wobble, and fall down. When they fall, do they just decide to stay down forever? No, they pull themselves up again. And again. And again. Until they are walking, and very soon running.
Instead of hitting the gym every day for the month of January, and then falling off to once a week, or less often, why not just start going twice per week until that becomes "normal" life? Or rather than starting some diet program that is vastly different from how you currently eat, why not just introduce some regular healthy habits? Like a plant-based dinner twice per week if you typically eat a lot of red meat? Or introduce a new vegetable into the rotation each week?
Don't think of it as removing something from your life, think about adding something healthy - if you usually light up a cigarette after a meal, go for a walk instead. Even if you end up smoking during the walk, at least you're moving rather than sitting. If you usually have a bowl of processed cereal and a glass of juice for breakfast, try adding an egg. Sure, you're still eating the cereal, but now you're also getting the protein and nutrients of the egg. These may seem a bit silly at first, but over time, you will feel the benefits of these new habits, and will be encouraged to do more. It is very difficult to just stop a habit - it is much easier to REPLACE the old habit with a new one.
You also don't want to make too many changes all at once. It is hard enough to change one aspect of our daily habits, let alone 2 or 3. Imagine trying to change how you eat, hit the gym 5 days a week AND quick smoking all at the same time. Lofty goals, indeed, but you'd be setting yourself up for disappointment. Pick one, create a supportive environment for yourself, get some help/guidance, and take those first steps. Once you've had some success, celebrate yourself, recognize and enjoy the benefits of that new habit, and then tackle the next one.
So as you head into this new calendar year, take some time to think about what you want for your health at this time next year (or even 3 or 6 months from now): do you want to be sleeping better? moving with less effort/pain? breathing more deeply? feeling stronger and more resilient? eating without heartburn, gas or bloating? Once you know what you want, we can help you chart a course for success. Reach out to Maxine at M'agine Nutrition and/or Martin at M'agine Fitness and we will help you get what you want without gadgets, gimmicks or crazy promises. Just common sense advice and support for sustainable results.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!