A New Way to Look at New Year’s Resolutions
As a personal trainer and aerobic instructor I can speak from experience. Every health club and gym, every yoga studio and Cross Fit location will be packed to the brim the week after New Year’s. Commercials will feature weight loss plans, diet drinks and new exercise equipment promising to carve off inches and burn off fat. Magazines will run thousands of advertisements for protein shakes and diet bars claiming to add energy and years to your life while peeling off the pounds that Americans gain between Thanksgiving and New Years. It is a predictable cycle of marketing because it is a predictable state that people find themselves in each and every January.
I believe that we are all a complex blend of the physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. Each component affects the others, be it positively or negatively. So in 2012, consider a new approach to setting goals. Create resolutions that are more holistic in nature and encompass more than just a weight loss goal.
Now, I am not suggesting you throw exercise and nutritious eating out the window. But, consider adding other healthy goals to your list like taking your vitamins each day, flossing your teeth, scheduling an annual physical exam and sleeping at least 7 hours a night. Is there a test or procedure you have been putting off? Have you wanted to have orthotics made for your shoes? Is it time for a new mattress? We can be neglectful and abusive to our bodies. This year, listen to your body and care for it in a loving way.
Every day in my counseling practice I see examples of how our emotional health impacts our physical bodies. People who are depressed tend to be lethargic and suffer from low energy. Their emotional state may cause them to crave comfort foods, overindulge and eventually gain weight. People who have anxiety and a tendency to worry too much can get stress headaches, stomachaches and hives. They may also have trouble sleeping, which can affect their overall physical health. It’s not too late to think about how you will take care of your emotional self this year. Taking time to spend with supportive friends, journaling, finding creative outlets, volunteering, locating a good therapist and learning to meditate or pray all foster good emotional health, which generally leads to better physical health as well.
Furthermore, we can be proactive about our financial health. In today’s economy every penny counts. Is there debt you would like to pay off? Is it time to downsize? Is there a much needed vacation you would like to save for? Write it down and break it into small quarterly goals. Having healthy finances relieves stress and creates peace of mind.
The mistake many Americans have made is focusing too much on weight loss goals each January, and forgetting all the other aspects of being healthy and happy. Educational pursuits, family bonding time, spiritual growth or a new career path can all be included in a well-rounded goal plan. It is important to have a vision for the future, but still remain flexible and resilient. Instead of having a narrow scope, create a wider spectrum of dreams and goals in all areas of living. You might not achieve all of your New Year’s Resolutions. But, with a long list, there is a great chance you will meet many of them and celebrate success on December 31st, 2012!