Somewhere between our two favorite eating holidays – the cakes, pies, cookies, chocolates, eggnog, and all the things that make us thankful, merry and full of holiday cheer – comes the guilt of it all. That's when I receive phone calls, emails, and text messages about the new New Years resolution of working out, losing weight, or pledges of improving overall health and wellness.
So after many years of listening to my family, friends, and students tell me how this year they are going to take better care of themselves, I’ve decided to compile a list of surefire tips that will help you stick to your healthy resolutions beyond January 2009.
1. Start your fitness resolution by doing what you like to do. If you enjoy walking then walk, running then run, dancing then dance, swimming then swim, and if it’s yoga, come see me, LOL. Don't start building your fitness routine around a bunch of things you don't like because you won't stick with it. I know some of you are saying, “I don't like working out at all.” Guess what? You are going to have to motivate yourself by stepping outside your box! Just make sure you don't do something drastic because it will only further your disdain for fitness. There is nothing wrong with starting slow.
2. Avoid routine boredom by researching different types of fitness options. Find a yoga studio, gym, wellness center or even a local church or recreation center in your area. Visit them first and sample a few classes before making a commitment. If yoga is your flavor, then keep in mind that there is several types of yoga so find a studio that offers some variety so you can identify which type is right for you. I teach several types of yoga that assist with weight loss, muscle tone, detoxification, and overall well being.
3. Get adequate rest. (This tip is also for me too! LOL). I took a nap the other day for the first time in months. I forgot how good it feels to take a siesta in the middle of the day. It reminded me how important rest really is. I was much clearer for my classes, my family, and my work. Now, I have people who come to my classes all the time with weight loss as their primary focus. However, when I ask them about their sleeping habits they all complain about fatigue. Adequate rest makes all the difference in your ability to do anything, including show up for yoga or workout classes. You are not going to be able to get what you want out of your body if you are constantly pushing its limits. It’s like going to the bank for a withdrawal without making any deposits. So, make a commitment to adding more rest to your schedule.
4. Start eating healthy. Eating better really is not a mystery. However, improving your eating habits requires complete honesty with yourself. I talk with people all the time who are either embarrassed by their food choices or uncomfortable with their lack of control over their eating habits. Weight loss seems to stay at the top of the resolution list but bad eating habits are just like any other bad habit – they have to be broken first. Find a program that will help you improve your eating habits or consult with a local nutritionist to help you understand the right way to build a healthy food plan, which will help you to increase your energy level. Your success with your workout is not going to come if you are stuffing your body with vending machine snacks, fast foods, sweets, and preservatives because these are not successful building blocks.
5. Nurture yourself. When I went to yoga training, our instructor told us to find someone to take care of us and do body work for us while we were in training. Now, I know your goal is not to do 4 to 5 hours of yoga daily yet, but having someone to help you take care of your body will certainly make all the difference in your experience. Find a good massage therapist, acupuncturist, colon hydrotherapist, chiropractor, etc. These people will give you more relief during your transition towards your goal and help you improve your connection to your body.
6. Make a realistic workout schedule. I know you want to start the New Year with a dynamite workout routine. Making a workout appointment will give you time to prepare yourself mentally and physically for what is required. It will also help you to prioritize your health into your day. However, when making your workout schedule again be realistic. If you can only dedicate 2 hours per week to working out then that is where you should start. Revisit your schedule in a few weeks and see if you can add additional hours.
Following the steps above will offer you success towards the new you for the New Year!
Wishing you health and happiness in 2009!