I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I think it’s important to set a goal when it makes sense to do so, not based on a random date on the calendar. Not everyone is ready to change her life on January 1. Yet, even I get caught up in the frenzy of renewal and excitement that comes with the change of the calendar.
According to Time.com, losing weight is one of the top resolutions made – and broken. Why? Because we pin our hopes on an outcome we can’t directly control. We become frustrated when the scale doesn’t budge and we give up. We forget about the other benefits healthy weight loss strategies can bring.
The scale is actually the worst judge of our progress in our fitness journey. I have clients who have dropped 1-2 sizes while the scale only changed a pound or two in the process. Not only did their shape change, they also started feeling all the other benefits of focusing on fitness (and not how much they weigh).
This year, instead of the big “New Year, New Me” proclamation, I want you to take it one step at a time. I want you to pick ONE resolution that is SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relative, Time-Based) and focus on improving your health, not pounds lost. If you focus on doing the right things for your body it will often show up in your shape. You’ll also feel better by focusing on the things you can control. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Give up soda: According to the Harvard School of Public Health, people who consume 1-2 cans of soda per day are 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. You don’t have to go cold turkey, but start by setting a goal of just one a week (or one a day if you’re a heavy user).
Register for a 5K: We often forget the time-based part of the SMART goal. If your goal is to start running, find a 5K at least 8 weeks out (or later if you’re not a fan of the cold) and sign up.
Eat breakfast every day: Studies show that eating breakfast every day is not only the key to weight loss AND weight maintenance but it also improves concentration and gives you more strength and endurance for exercise.
Journal your food every day: Putting your food choices in black and white (or in an app) will help you gain awareness of your eating patterns. Are you going to long between meals or drinking your calories? Maybe you’re not eating enough? Reflect on your choices and make adjustments if they don’t fit your goal of a healthy and fit life.
Strength train 2 days a week: Cardio is the “go to” for fat loss, but it’s really weight training that will help you build the curves you desire. Hire a personal trainer to show you good form and develop a routine that works for your body and goals. Measure your progress in the length of time you can hold a plank or finally be able to do push ups!
These may seem basic. In fact, they are. A solid foundation is necessary for anything to be built to last. It’s not that I think you are not capable of more. I believe you can do anything you set your mind to. But I don’t want you to go all out, as many do, then burn out. Small steps lead to big and lasting changes over time. A new you does not come overnight, it comes with consistency.
What’s your first step to a New You in the New Year going to be? Tweet your reply @DietsInReview.