So, are you fully recovered from the holidaze yet? I have to say I am just about recovered. Last year, I spent the last few days of 2011 at my parent’s beach house in New Jersey. The weather was unseasonably warm for the end of December, in the high 50’s. January 1, 2012, I participated in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in Brigatine NJ. It was the first time I did anything remotely as crazy as jumping in to 48 degree water. It was cold, but I am glad I did it, you only live once, right? This year, I passed on the polar bear plunge, but hosted a Rockin’ New Years Bash instead. It was so fun and I can’t wait to do it again next year!
This time of year is a great time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to 2013. Looking back, what goals did you achieve in 2012? What things did you do right, or not so right? If you did achieve some of your goals, how did you find the motivation? Knowing what has worked in the past can help you achieve your future goals. This year, one of my goals is to finally get back to my pre-baby weight, my motivation is to be an inspiration to myself and my clients. It’s easy to say, “I want to be thinner” but, saying, “I want to be thinner”, is probably too vague. If I say I want to lose 50 pounds, that is probably unrealistic (at least for me). By changing the goal from vague to specific, and from unrealistic to realistic, I can more easily map the steps to get there. My current goal is to lose 1 pound a week until I reach my goal weight. This goal is specific and realistic. I want to increase my activity level by 1 extra hour each week and cut out some of the added sugar in my diet. These will be my first steps towards my goal.
Let’s say your goal is to be able to stop taking cholesterol medication by 2014. That is a specific and realistic goal. To do that, you’ll likely need to change your diet and increase your activity. What kind of diet will you need to consume to be able to stop taking the meds? A diet high in fruits, vegetables and plant based fats. If your diet doesn’t contain enough of these foods now, you’ll have to start incorporating them in. Fiber is also an important component to cholesterol levels. If you make your goal to eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day, that is a good start. Of course, you may need to go to the market to make sure you have enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains available to meet your daily goal.
As for activity, you’ll have to slowly increase until you are getting at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Cardiac or aerobic exercise is important, but don’t underestimate the importance of anaerobic exercise (strength training) either. You may need to join a gym or hire a trainer to help you meet this piece of the goal. Always check with your physician before starting an exercise program.
Put another way, state your goal and then decide what the person who achieves that goal looks like. A person who doesn’t need cholesterol meds, is likely a person who is active most days of the week and also eats a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables. Then map the steps from here to there and get started!
Good luck! Don’t forget that working with a registered dietitian and or personal trainer can really increase your chance of success when it comes to diet and exercise. Along with their expertise, they bring accountability, which can be the difference between succeeding and having the same goal next year (again, for the 8th year in a row).
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What are your health goals for 2013?