What About That Resolution?
By Bryan Fass
It’s been more than two months since the New Year began; how are we doing on that age-old New Year’s resolution to get in better shape?
If you are like the vast majority of people, life has continued to be as hectic and busy as last year. Available time to get to the gym is limited and you have found it just too hard to prepare your food each day prior to leaving for work.
It seems like we fail at reaching and attaining our goals almost every year, but why? Did you ever think that perhaps we are destined to fail? Maybe how we set our goals is wrong; maybe the psychology behind setting goals is flawed.
Now, I am not a psychologist; I am just a realist who has helped a lot of folks reach their goals over the years. From helping chronic pain to weight loss and improved sports performance, I have witnessed the power of the mind firsthand.
Think back to the last time you had a very important event coming up and, by happenstance, you began to feel like you were getting sick. You simply told yourself that you had no time to get sick and you willed yourself through it. And we have all witnessed this while responding to calls — seeing the difference between patients who wanted to die and patients who just would not give up. We can harness this power for our benefit.
Instead of setting goals, try to concretely determine a point at which you would like to be. See yourself with a fitter build, or with a pain-free back, or finishing that 10K run. The problem I have with setting tangible, sensible goals is that if you do not reach them, you feel as if you have failed at a seemingly reasonable task. But did you? Just the act of embarking on reaching a goal should be considered as a positive act. Let’s learn to harness that positive energy to help us move forward in a steady and consistent direction.
One method that has worked well for many of my clients is to visualize. Picture what you want to look like and imagine how you want to feel. Burn these images into your mind, so that if you do stray, that picture is always there to remind you of the “bigger picture.” It is much easier to steer back on course if you feel like you were never that far off in the first place.
A large part of becoming physically fit is eating the right foods. One trick that has also worked well for my clients is to visualize what a particular food will do to you. What will that burger and fries do to your arteries? How much cardio would you have to do to burn off that cookie? Sometimes if the negative is reinterpreted as a lesser negative, or even as a positive, our ability to cope with it changes for the better. Instead of classifying food and drink as either good or bad, incorporate them into the picture in your mind. Visualize how the picture is impacted by the foods you eat.
As a society, we are too focused on good versus bad and that focus makes setting and attaining goals very difficult. Wellness and health are lifestyle and mindset choices. If it comes too easily and quickly, you will not appreciate the time and effort it took to get there. Every day is an exercise in patience and consistency, whether at work or at home, and the more consistent we are, the easier it is to actualize that picture.
Take the time to stop and think before preparing or ordering food. Embrace new foods and try new things to give your diet a healthy variety. Before skipping a workout or giving in to a nap, stop and think about what you could be using that time to help reach your goal. Make time for yourself every day, whether it is “quiet time” to listen to your inner voice or a quick workout to relieve stress.
One of my favorite things to do is to simply stand in front of the mirror and see what’s there. Have you ever cut past all the daily noise and stress in order to really explore this person? Are you listening to what your body and health needs? Are there demons that need to be confronted? These are all questions that need time and considerable effort to answer. The deeper you look, the more consistent the path you will create for yourself and it is that path which will allow you to fully address the person in that picture.
So I want you to follow a few simple steps each day. These steps are meant to help reinforce the picture that you want for yourself.
- 1. Make time each and every day to be proactive and healthy. This can be as simple as stretching and cardio, or full workout sessions at the gym.
- 2. Do not allow the negatives in the world to take hold of you. This is very difficult to do, but try to focus on the positives.
- 3. Make good choices in the foods you eat. And do not over-eat; healthy snacking is much better for you than binge eating.
- 4. Find a quiet place each day to reflect and listen to yourself.
- 5. Continue to educate yourself on diet and exercise. Understanding health is the key to being consistent. Be aware of gimmicks and fads; this is why the ”Fit Responder” program was created.