It's been over 6 weeks since most of us have decided to change our old habits, adapt new ones, and transition the year of 2009 into a new beginning. The gyms were packed, the effort was through the roof, the plan was in action. Our ambition was inspiring, unfortunately it was also unrealistic. That brings us to today. The local Y has slowed down, the cardio machines in gyms aren’t as packed, and the winter hibernation is in effect until warmer weather.
Why did we stop?!? Maybe it’s because living a healthy lifestyle is not a sprint… It’s a long distance race that requires gradual increases in intensity and duration. Every step forward should be manageable and realistic. Most New Year resolutions consist of such harsh lifestyle changes, that they turn into “resolution sprints”. Typically, the end result is burning ourselves out as we drop everything dissatisfied.
It’s not too late to hop back in the saddle! Give yourself a quick flashback of how you felt Jan 1. What were your goals? Was it working out 5 days a week? Eating 5-6 small meals a day? Most importantly, think about the result of your goal. Maybe intensifying your workout sessions will help you get that 6-pack you always wanted. Perhaps increasing your meal frequency will help you lose the 10 lbs that has been haunting you for the past 3 years. Think about the big picture and make that your new “resolution”. Want to gain some muscle? If you’re working out only 2 times a week, set a date to add a 3rd time. Once that is manageable, set a new date for a 4th time. Maybe you’ll make it to your original New Year resolution of training 5 days a week. Even if you don’t, you’ll still be taking steps forward (rather than an original leap that was unreachable!). Instead of waiting for the summer or spring to exercise or eat right, you will be more active and can continue the consistent lifestyle changes that are already in progress.
So try this new technique out. Make a backwards calendar. Start with your desired goal and write down (on paper!) a realistic date of when you want to accomplish it. Now you can start working backwards by setting more dates of smaller goals that will help reach your initial one. Does it make sense? Is it realistic? Be honest with yourself and double check to see if the progression is at the right rate for you. It doesn’t matter if your final goal takes weeks or months. As long as you are doing something and are taking strives toward where you want to be…. it’s worth it. There’s an old quote that somebody once told me. “It means nothing unless we act upon it”. Think about it. Make this year’s goal worth something….