Setting Goals in the New Year
It is that time of year again. Time to dust off the old running shoes, jump on the scale, and sigh to begin another soon-to-be failed attempt at “getting healthy.” I do not mean to be a cynic; in fact, I believe that we can all change our human behaviour. We can shift what drives us to grab a soda instead of a drink of water or choose to sit and watch television instead of ride our bikes. Health is a choice; a choice that we are able to make every moment. We choose by what we put in our bodies, how we manage our schedules, and how we choose to treat ourselves. It is a commitment that we all share with ourselves to focus on what is working instead of what is falling apart. I would like to share with you in a few simple steps how you can once and for all commit to yourself to shift your lifestyle (regardless of what time of year it is).
Step One: Pick a Goal. This can be a small goal or a large goal. This can be losing 30 pounds or running a 10 K. Whatever the goal is you will need to define it with a due date on it, providing yourself generous preparation without too much of a luxurious gap. If you need to lose pounds instead set a realistic expectation of 1 pound a week. Healthy weight loss is about 2 pounds a week, but since you are human and are willing to be human settle on a realistic goal like 1 pound and that way if you lose more it is a bonus.
Step Two: BackTrack that goal. We often become so focused on the destination that we get lost in the journey and often give up in the middle. In order for you to be anywhere, you must start somewhere. So with that in mind, create small tangible baby steps that serve as mile markers on your pathway to success. Every day touch on the mile marker and pace yourself because remember it is about progress and not perfection.
Step Three: Celebrate yourself. We often stay motivated by the positive self-talk instead of the negative self-talk. If we skipped the gym and lay on the couch instead because we were tired, tell ourselves I am glad you are resting and listening to your body. Tomorrow you can pick back up where you left off. It is not how many times you fumble but rather how many times that you pick yourself that determines your success.
Step Four: Be patient! I wish I had a megaphone for this one because boy; we are all impatient. People come into my office every day with the same question; how long will this take. I love to smile and say if I knew that answer as much as I love you, I wouldn’t be here I would be on a beach in Aruba—Smile. Enjoy the journey, not the destination. I use to only focus on the destination. When I get here I will be happy. When I get there I will feel successful. Until one day I discovered that here and there never existed because it was an illusion. The past has already happened and the future is an illusion; all we truly have is this moment, right here and right now. Even if at this moment the only thing we can do is breathe deeply, that at the very least is a step in the right direction for our health.
So, these few steps provide you with just enough insight to consider when selecting a goal to continue pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Any more ponderings tend to leave a person overwhelmed which is indeed another reason why New Year’s resolutions rarely work. You get all excited, buy the new gym clothes, and gym membership, hire the trainer and by Feb you are back to the remote and couch action forgotten all about your pact with yourself. Therefore, this hopefully will serve as a guide to soften the anxiety around resolutions and to help you continue to pursue a healthy lifestyle because a healthy lifestyle is truly what will help in the long run in developing a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
Dr Steele is a holistic family doctor in Virginia Beach. She has been in natural healthcare practice for 15 years. She is passionate about her own healthy lifestyle habits and looks to teach families how to live healthy through necessary lifestyle changes. Her practice is Holistic Family Practice located on Laskin Rd near Hilltop. She is a proud sponsor of BFBL, and actively promotes eating local produce to the families she works with in her practice.